Every revolutionary faces threats to its regime survival from both the left and the right. The French Revolution was overthrown in turn by Napoleon Bonaparte (revolution from the right). The American Revolution faced a secessionist threat from the right (Confederate states) which it defeated in a terrible Civil War. The Soviet Revolution faced a threat from the left (Trotskyists) and the right (“Bonapartism”, the perennial Marxist fear of a military coup) which is survived through wildly exaggerated purges, mass executions and the GULAG. The Egyptian Revolution would age out and be replaced by an Islamic revolution by the Muslim Brotherhood (briefly); it was in turn replaced by Gen. El-Sisi (a Bonapartist reaction). The Iraqi (Baathist) Revolution f=defeated a counterrevolution by the Iraqi Communist Party. The Iranian Islamic Revolution was immediately confronted by a challenge on the left by Tudeh (Iranian Communist Party) which was suppressed with more than 20,000 executions, and in 2014 again by the left, the Green Revolution, a US backed color revolution.
The recent conflict between the United States and Iran, within the context of a long-term regional conflict in which both countries have been both de facto allies (fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq) and enemies (Iranian militias attacking US forces in Iraq), was what Herman Khan once called a war spasm. The United Dtates targeted IRGC-Al Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani and another Al-Qods commander in Yemen. Soleimani was killed soon after arriving at Baghdad International Airport. (Iranian forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen are controled by IRGC-Al-Qods Force._
As both countries braced for war, the IRGC fired ballistic missiles from rocket bases in Iran at American airbases in Iraq. The missile bombardment killed no one. However, the decision to fire these missiles from Iran, when a comparable bombardment could have been done by Iranian-back PMU militias in Iraq, was not a military decision, it was a political decision. It was a decision to transform an intra-Iraqi conflict, into a conflict that involved the territories of both Iran and Iraq. Ir was an needless military escalation: It was a purely political choice.
Meanwhile, others on the Iranian government reportedly informed the Iraqi government of the targets of the ballistic missiles, which in turn informed American forces, who moved American troops out of the areas targeted. Again, the missile bombardment killed no one. This leaked immediately and made the IRGC attack seem feeble, discreditable.
Then the Ukrainian Airlines jet was shot down by the IRGC which controls air defense, at least over Tehran. Initially blaming mechanical problems, or maybe even American action, IRGC spokesmen rejected any foreign investigation of the crash and the IRGC bulldozed the crash cite.
IRGC commanders called for further “hard attacks” on American forces, but the conflict was de-escalated by both Pres. Trump and the Iranian civil leadership.
Within days, the Iranian government admitted that the IRGC had shot down the airliner, and abruptly called for foreign investigators to participate in the investigation of the (accidental) airliner shoot down by the IRGC. Vigils for the airliner passengers quickly because protests at several universities when students were attacked by IRGC control Basij police forces, even as the IRGC-controlled Fars New Agency, unusually, reported on the protests. This was incorrectly described by several Iran experts as evidence of a new openness in Iran.
It was nothing of the kind.
Instead what we can see here is a factional dispute in Iran between the IRGC and its elite Al-Qod Force, and the civilian government. First, consider the presence of the IRGC in this sequence of ebents: IRGC forces in Iraq, IRGC forces in Syria, IRGC forces in Yemen, IRGC commanders targeted in Iraq and Yemen, ballistic missiles fired by IRGC, Tehran air defense controlled by IRGC, IRGC Basij forces suppress protests, which are reported on by the IRGC-Fars News Agency. IRGC has grown through the years to become what might be considered to be a parallel state. The leader of such a parallel state, Qasem Soleimani, was a Bonaparte in waiting. IN many ways, Soleimani was a greater threat to the civilian government of Iran than the United States.
The conflict with the United States can be viewed as a conflict with the IRGC, its subsidiaries and instrumentalities. But in that conflict there was a third side: someone in the Iranian government decided to warn the United States about the targets of the IRGC ballistic missile attack; someone in the Iranian government decided to admit that the IRGC did shoot down the Ukrainian Airlines jet (contradicting IRGC claims); someone in the Iranian government decided to invite foreign crash investigators into Iran (after IRGC has rejected such a presence); and someone in the Iranian government decided to decided to order the arrest of IRGC air defense personnel. And someone in the Iranian government decided to decided to stand down after the ballaitic missile attacks.
Considering how active someone(s) in the Iranian government were in countering the actions of the IRGC (which almost plunged Iran into (another?) war that Iran does not want) and in light of the use of an intelligence channel to warn US forces about the targets of the IRGC ballistic missile attack, the last question is whether or not someone(s) provided additional intelligence to the United States, intelligence to target Soleimani, who had emerged as a hardliner threat to both the United States and to the government of Iran.
Who really needed Soleimani dead?