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Exporting the Revolution and Building Hegemony

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Iran, Revolution, and Proxy Wars

Part of the book series: Middle East Today ((MIET))

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The Islamic Republic of Iran stems from a novel interpretation of Shiism under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Blending post-occultation theology and socialist principles, Khomeini instituted the theocracy based on the principle of Velayat-e faqih and urged to export the Islamist revolution abroad. To compete with Saudi Arabia in dominating the Muslim world, the Ayatollah decreed Jerusalem to be on par with the holiness of Mecca and Medina and pledged to liberate it from the “Zionist enemy.” With few resources, the Revolutionary Guards, the designated revolutionary exporters, adopted the tactics of asymmetrical warfare including terror against civilians with the novel addition of suicide bombing, a method first suggested by Pakistani Islamists.

The Guards hoped to grow a network of proxies which could be used to destabilize Muslim countries as a way to build the Shiite Crescent, also known as the Axis of Resistance. Special camps in Iran offered Shiite volunteers classes in asymmetrical warfare, and a large media industry created indoctrination material and “soft-measure” literature to influence the political discourse in the targeted countries.

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Seliktar, O., Rezaei, F. (2020). Exporting the Revolution and Building Hegemony. In: Iran, Revolution, and Proxy Wars. Middle East Today. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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