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The Making of the Basij - Basij Mostazafan - attack dogs of the Iranian regime

A group of Iranian paramilitary Basij forces, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard, sit while attending training in a Guard base in northeastern Tehran, Iran (File Photo: AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The Basij - Basij Mostazafan – or “mobilisation of the oppressed”, is an Iranian militia group that is fanatically loyal to the Iranian clerical leadership, and is often seen rolling out onto the streets of Iranian towns and cities on motorbikes, beating innocent street protestors with clubs and wooden staves, and often using snipers to pick off the ringleaders of such demonstrations, shooting them dead.

The Basij comes under the umbrella of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and is often used by them to carry out vicious attacks against the populace, of the type that the Guards themselves would rather not dirty their hands with, as they have always looked upon themselves as the protectors of the people, and liked to be respected rather than reviled by their fellow Iranians.

Those who fall foul of the Guards themselves, are generally reported in the media as being so-called enemies of the state, but the truth of the matter is, they are often just ordinary people who have committed the ‘unspeakable crime’ of speaking out against the state, and often pay with their lives, hung from cranes in the streets by executioners selected from within the ranks of the IRGC.

But when it comes to understanding the fanatical devotion of the Iranian Basij, to their clerical masters leading the regime, you need to return to the Basij militia’s baptism of fire during the Iran/Iraq War.

In September 1980, at the start of the war, with Khomeini’s troops facing Saddam Hussein’s professional, well-armed military battalions, the situation looked dire for IRGC forces, and so to compensate for the weakness in the ranks of his military, the Supreme Leader needed to find a quick fix solution, and a suicidal band of zealots in the form of the Basij - seemed to be the perfect answer.

The Basij is made up of boys aged 12 to 17, as well as middle aged men not suitable for standard military service. The child volunteers in those early days, were much like Hitler Youth squads, of the type that had been created by the Nazis in the 1930s. Soon after the Iranian revolution, with their brains filled with the glories of Khomeini’s recently founded Islamic Republic, the minds of the young Basij volunteers were brimming over with revolutionary zeal, and they were taught from the outset what an honor it was to die defending the fledgling Shia republic.

As far as their absolute devotion to their religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini was concerned, it was proven beyond doubt during the Iran/Iraq War, when minefields along the front line were becoming a direct obstacle for advancing Iranian troops, and a swift method was needed to eradicate this threat.

But just to ensure that these brainwashed youngsters would take on any suicidal task allotted to them, it has been alleged that Khomeini imported 500,000 red plastic keys from Taiwan, which were said to have been hung round the necks of each member of the Basij, all of whom had been convinced by their commanders that these keys would unlock the gates of paradise should they die in battle.

Then heavily indoctrinated with Khomeini’s radical ideology, into carrying out acts of insane martyrdom, they were sent in their thousands to march across minefields laid by Iraqi troops, which were hampering the advance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and in droves these youngsters were blown to smithereens as soon as their feet came into contact with the mines, leaving a slimy mass of blood, bones and sinew coating the battlefield.

Sporting blood-red headbands, they moved forward in rigid formation, tramping towards enemy positions in flawlessly straight rows, marching to their deaths chanting religious mantras. The tactic was simple, as the first ranks were killed by the powerful Iraqi mines, those following had to continue marching forward, stomping on the remains of their comrades, until they themselves reached the next line of mines, which then blew them to smithereens, and so the sequence continued until the minefields were cleared. As far as the Iranian mullah administration was concerned, the massive body count meant nothing, this was simply a cost-effective way to clear mine fields, without the loss of their precious well-trained IRGC troopers.

So this was the birth of the Basij, a militia contingent that revels in its past glories, and thinks nothing about sacrificing life on earth for their Supreme Leader. Even though suicide was against the teachings of the Quran, in the minds of these fanatical zealots, such sacrifice would take them through an open door straight into paradise.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 30 November 2016 KSA 13:12 - GMT 10:12
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