The public image created is that the military was dictatorial due to the missions undertaken by the armed forces, mainly the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. This meant that the military, despite being under the president, could manipulate the president in decision-making. An instance of this is in 1999 when there was a students’ protest. It was stopped by the military and other actions taken by Mohammad Khatami who was president by then (Cordesman 189). After the protests had stopped, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps addressed a letter to the president that was believed to imply that if the president could not take action against the students, then the armed forces would do it (Gold 3). This portrayed that they felt superior to the head of state. The overall impact of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) on the political role of the government is that it posed a threat to those in power since it participates largely in political issues. This threatened their role in government since it would be overshadowed by the military and they could eventually be replaced (Renn 39).
In June 2009, Iran held its presidential elections. There were four candidates. During the presidential elections, they voted in president Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who declared Mahmud as the president, made this transition possible. After this transition, there were riots in the streets of Tehran (Gold 2) with the people disputing the outcome of the elections. The possibility on Mahmud becoming president was unlikely. This is because the Iranians did not love him very much and very few people had voted for him (Connor 76). This unrest in Tehran was stopped by the military and none of the complaints brought forward were considered. The military did this because their loyalty lies with the government and they could not ignore their role. This shows the extent of power that the civil authorities have over the military. Despite being turned against by a big percentage of the civilians, the government was able to contain the situation. This shows the amount of power that the military has over the civilians besides the civil authority.
When the coup in Iran is compared to those in Latin America, it is observed that there is a significant difference in the criteria of the coups that are brought out. For instance, in Iran, one man, Khomeini, who is in control of the military, organized the coup. For instance, in Guatemala in 1954, the military coup was highly organized with decision making involving many parties. The military in Latin America countries played a significant role in political and social issues. The military was considered as the only source of security for the countries, especially, after receiving special training on torture techniques. However, the economy of Latin America was also affected since there was massive unemployment and the salaries reduced leading to low living standards (Davies 65). When compared to the Iranian military, there is a vast difference in all aspects of the military role. In Iran, the military contributed to political and economic development due to their involvement in decision-making. While the military in Iran believed in national change through peace and harmony, the military in Latin America concentrated on getting training on torture techniques. The militants tortured even the local population (Pion-Berlin 88) and hence portrayed a poor civil-military relation in their countries (Fitch 29).
The military in Iran played the developmentalist role. It became a guardian of national security. It insured that the government promoted development and did not increase internal threats. They also did not participate in mass murdering of individuals as witnessed in Latin America but instead had peaceful social relations with the general population.
In Iran, the military coup was successful because the one leading it was the head of the military. This meant that he had the final say in whatever decisions made. Ayatollah Khamenei who announced election results long before the votes were counted, was in charge of the army and so he could easily manipulate their actions. This may be the reason why the coup did not fail and Mahmud Ahmadijenad took over presidency.
In Latin America, the most probable reason of the successful coup was the force used by the militants and also how they hid their intentions behind the protection of Latin America from the communists. The people had to oblige to the military’s demands due to their need for security. Other than that, the coup could have also succeeded due to the local population fearing for their lives since the military used force and torture mechanisms that they had been trained. The absence of political leaders, since they were overthrown and some killed, could have also contributed to the success of the coup. This may be because people relied on the political leaders, to speak on their behalf on matters concerning the nation’s security (Byman 110).
The military in Latin America has had a major role in the economical and political development of the individual states. The military seized power since the mid sixties up to the late eighties. There was a Rio Treaty that allowed American militants to maintain peace in the Latin America states. It also allowed militants to get training in the United States as military officers and other technical personnel. This is where they got training on torture methods, which included interrogation. Their main mission was to enable the fight communism. Other than that, they were trained on their roles as the military in defence of their states. This made them take the responsibility of defending the country from communism.
While in Iran, the military assisted in developing democracy, the democratic progress of the Latin America states dropped thanks to the military. The local population lived in fear since they did not have a voice on how their countries were run. This fear was when the military took over the civil authorities and tortured the government leaders and other individuals who tried to oppose them. This is contrary to the role played by the Iranian military in government. The military in Iran contributed to democratic growth since they were involved in issues concerning democracy in the nation and also maintained a peaceful relationship with the civilians
When compared to the military in Iran, the military in Latin America failed in civil-military relations. Unlike in Iran, the military in Latin America states was in charge of running the nations. They did this by forceful means and an air of importance. They attributed the security of the countries to their own work. This made them feel superior to all the locals and other leaders. In their effort to defend the states, they managed to keep out communism and western civilization from infiltrating the Latin American states. This was their only success though it came along with its own disadvantages..
Economically, the military in Latin America led to economic decline in the states. They had tried to come up with structural adjustments, which took up most of the funds. This led to high social costs that resulted in lower living standards. There was also an increase in unemployment level and, for those who had jobs; there was a decrease in their salaries. This led to a downward trend in the economy of Latin America. In Iran, the military was not involved in the economic sector thus did not have a contribution towards it.
In conclusion, the transition of Iran from a monarchy to fundamental Islamic theocracy saw the independence from western influence. The military rule centralized the power under the leadership of the Supreme Leader, resulting in less civilian control today.