March 02, 2010

Twenty-two Basij Districts to be Established in Greater Tehran

Persia House Analysis:

The reorganization and expansion of the Greater Tehran Basij into 22 districts demonstrates the organization’s ascendancy in the hierarchy of the country’s security apparatus. In Tehran, the Basij appear to be taking more direct responsibility for security, as opposed simply to providing support to the city’s law enforcement forces.

By increasing the number of Basij districts and bases as planned, the Basijis will be better able to collect intelligence, police neighborhoods, and deploy to trouble spots more efficiently. The reorganization will make Basij districts more manageable and further decentralize command-and-control. According to Commander Hamedani, the Basij’s plans for expansion will focus on the northern and northwestern neighborhoods of Tehran, which constitute the more affluent areas of the capital. The residents in these areas tend to be better educated, more Westernized, and more sympathetic to the opposition. If the Basij—the most loyal of regime loyalists—are able to tighten their grip over Tehran, the opposition will find it all the more difficult to mount large-scale protests. As the events of February 11 demonstrated, the security forces have become adept at preempting demonstrations by controlling the protesters’ movements. In addition, expansion likely will entitle the organization to more funding, allowing it to provide its members with even more rewards and incentives.

Source Information:
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