Meet the New Mullahs

Same as the old Mullahs? Not quite:

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “has become a hostage” of an elite branch of Iran’s army that has quietly consolidated its economic and political power, a top analyst said Tuesday.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) appears to have supplanted Khamenei and other top clerics in a significant power shift that has left Iran a “military dictatorship,” according to Ali Alfoneh, who has spent years investigating the IRGC.

Khamenei “has become a hostage in the hands of his own praetorian guard,” Alfoneh said Tuesday during a discussion hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

First of all, it needs to be said that that’s what praetorian guards do. The Praetorians of old Rome were the Emperor’s personal legion, the troops who had to be completely loyal and completely trustworthy. But it wasn’t long before the Praetorians chose the Emperors. In this country, the Free Press was supposed to act as out last, best defense — but now they choose the Emperor president in this country, too. They at least feel like they have the right to do so, even if it doesn’t always work out.

But back specifically to Iran. There’s good news and bad here. The bad news is, the military is apt to be more efficient at pursuing a working nuke. The good news is, they’re possibly less apt to actually use one.