The martial philosophy of the Guarded Domains of Iranshahr would take inspiration from its past armies and military strategists, the martial traditions of East Asia, and those of the West. It can be said that the West has a military tradition of direct attack. Western warfare has consisted of heavy lumbering technologically advanced armies that are expensive but deadly, that crash into the enemy and obliterate them. This has been a constant in Western warfare, to crush one’s enemy, even if one’s own army is badly bloodied. This strategy continues and for the past three hundred years it has worked well against the rest of the World but it has major faults. Large standing armies with the latest, most expensive equipment can win wars but also become a wasted investment without war. Western culture ties itself to advanced ways of destroying but in order to support such massive military budgets, there must be wars to fight and economies to conquer. It must encourage war by selling the surplus weaponry to other nations. And with all its precision, such weaponry still destroys more than what is desired to destroy, namely civilians rather than militants. In the last two decades, Western technology has failed to stop the earliest form of warfare: asymmetrical
Enter the military traditions of Asia, providing much of the military philosophy on stealth, fluidity, and defeating the enemy with as little casualties on both sides.8 While the Western martial tradition subscribes to the realism of Carl Von Clausewitz’s saying, “War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means,” (Clausewitz, 1976), I believe Iranshahr should incorporate the sayings of Sun Tzu that, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” and that “the commencement of battle signifies a political failure,” (Sun Tzu, 1999) into the Iranian martial tradition. Iranshahr should learn how to achieve political aims without the use of war, but if war does happen, then it should learn how to attain victory with as little cost, for Iranshahr and the enemy. The traditions of Asia have been neglected in modern warfare by most countries because they appear, at least superficially, as the warfare of the guerrilla. But for the nations that can utilize guerilla warfare and the strategies of Asian martial traditions, the 21st century will be a much safer place for them. Iranshahr must become one of those nations.
At its most basic the society of the Empire would have some semblance of a martial tradition. Every woman and man would learn the military basics during Citizen’s Service. Almost every day for a year the would-be citizens would receive firearm training, martial drills, physical conditioning, guerrilla tactics, and the principles of the military and their role in the defense of the Empire. The goal is to turn the entire population into a military reserve, as a deterrent against foreign aggression.
An aggressive nation would think twice about invading or occupying territory in Iranshahr when millions upon millions of potential guerrilla fighters could rise up. For those citizens who are against violent struggles, each citizen would learn about the principles and tactics of non-violent resistance. In this way every citizen could defend the Empire while staying true to her or his moral compass. This training of the population also serves to keep the governments of the Empire from becoming authoritarian.
For citizens who do not wish to become professional soldiers but still wish to increase their martial abilities they have two options. The first option would be to join the Grand Levy. The Grand Levy is a reserve of well trained citizens who in a time of war can be called upon to bolster the defense. The Grand Levy would be divided into violent and non-violent training. Citizens would decide which training to take. On top of Citizen’s Service the Grand Levy recruits would train for one year full time or two years part-time if the recruits have jobs. Following the completion of training, Grand Levies would function as civilians until called upon to fight. If called upon to fight within the first four years following the completion of training, Grand Levy members must serve. After the four years are up, services rendered would be voluntary.
The other option would be to form or join violent or non-violent militias. These groups are formed, funded, and trained through private means. Governments cannot create or fund militias but can call upon them in times of war against a foreign power. The use of militias for internal policing would be prohibited. Funding for these armed or non-violent resistance groups would have to be disclosed so that foreign funding could be stopped. Militia sizes would be capped at one thousand members so that such groups could never hold too much power.
At the core of this military system would be the Savaran. The term Savaran means cavalry but every military historian of this region knows that the cavalry has been the backbone of the Iranian armies from the ancient pre-Islamic empires, to the kingdoms and emirates of the 19th century. Because of its central role in Iranian martial traditions, I have decided to continue the use of this term for the core of the Defense Forces of Iranshahr. The Savaran would be a small but elite standing army of the Guarded Domains. These are professional soldiers who must dedicate a minimum of ten years of service. The Savaran would be open to both women and men who can meet its demanding criteria of physical and mental excellence. Depending on each soldier’s traits and skills, she or he would be placed into one of the branches of the Savaran.
The military structure would be based on tens in the original Mongol fashion. Two soldiers would be paired with one another so that each strengthens the other. Pairs must be compatible in personalities and have a strong sense of trust. A squad would have five pairs with a squad leader as one of the ten. Ten squads would make a battalion. The battalion leader would be embedded with the lead squad. Ten battalions would make a regiment. And ten regiments would represent an army of Iranshahr.
The Savaran would be divided into branches, each with its own mandate. Each mandate would consist of one or more of the following traits: offensive capabilities, defensive capabilities, versatility, occupation and counter insurgency, and guerrilla warfare. Basic Savaran training would foster competency in all of these traits but each branch would specialize, utilizing the unique characteristics of its soldiers to maximize the effectiveness of each mandate.
The first into combat would be the Peshmerga. Peshmerga specialize in offensive warfare. The toughest, strongest, and bravest of citizens would serve in this branch. They would be heavily armed and armored. The Peshmerga would be organized to overcome a wide range of military challenges when taking the fight to the enemy. They would be the hammer to crush enemy defenses.
Sparabara take their name from the ancient Mede warriors who carried large wicker shields. This branch of the Savaran would be the “shield” against enemy attacks. Sparabara would specialize in defensive capabilities like fortification construction, counter attacks, halting the enemy, and covering other Savaran units’ retreats. Like the Peshmerga, the Sparabara would be heavily armed and armored. One specialty of the Sparabara would be that it actually makes use of bullet proof shields. As with the other branches of the Savaran, the Sparabara would have squads of five pairs, each pair consisting of a shield bearer and heavily armed partner. The shield bearer would block bullets for the pair with one arm while using a single hand gun with the other. The partner would then use the cover of the shield to take shots at the enemy. The shape of the shield would typically be the large rectangle but research would have to be done to see what shapes work for what situations. Shield bearers must be trained to use either hand for the shield and the hand gun.
Tofangchilar would be versatile infantry. This soldier type switches between offensive and defensive capabilities and must move quickly. Lightly armed and armored, the Tofangchilar would use high speed vehicles to outmaneuver the enemy and attack or retreat interchangeably to cause confusion with the enemy. They would offer support for their slower partners in the Sparabara and Peshmerga branches.
If the Peshmerga are the elite of physical prowess, the Immortals are the elites of mental prowess. Immortals would not only tasked to fight but to bring order to chaotic situations. In the event of holding enemy territory, the Immortals must keep the peace and win the hearts of the occupied while the frontline hopefully pushes deeper into enemy land. Immortals would be trained vigorously in languages and cultures of the enemy. They would prevent and eliminate insurgencies while building partnerships with the locals. Immortals are meant to show the occupied the virtues of the Empire. Also in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies within the Empire, the Immortals could be called upon to bring aid or lend a helping hand.
While all warriors of the Savaran would have a good understanding of guerrilla tactics, the Fedayeen would embody them to perfection. This small branch of the Savaran must have the finest citizens regarding stealth and creativity. The Fedayeen, though arranged into squads of ten, would be encouraged to break down into groups of two. These partnerships must have complete trust and chemistry for the tasks to be carried out. The domain of these shadow warriors would be behind enemy lines. They must create chaos beyond the frontline. The Fedayeen are saboteurs, assassins, and guerrillas. They must put fear in the enemy command and awe among the enemy’s citizens. The main targets of this branch would be supply lines, communications, weapons sites, enemy encampments, political structures, political figures, and officers of the enemy military. The Fedayeen would not ever harm the enemy’s civilian population. Fear of the Fedayeen should be limited to the military and political leaders of the enemy nation.
Iranshahr has many highlands and mountain ranges with terrain that makes it difficult for modern, technology intensive warfare. Especially in the mountain regions of the Caucasus, Hindu Kush, the Pamirs, or the Zagros, the technological strengths of foreign invaders like the United States or Russia have not been able to defeat the low technology resistance there. The peoples of the Caucasus, the Pashtuns, and the Kurds have shown that mastering mountain warfare can even the odds against modern conventional armies. Having relative mobility in places where roads are poor or none existent requires going back to the martial art roots of Iranshahr. The Faris would be a military branch of actual mounted warriors, trained in horsemanship, shooting from horseback, and using the hit and run tactics that were the pillars of furusiyya. Furusiyya is the largely forgotten or ignored body of indigenous martial arts literature that guided the armies of the Sassanids, the Abbassids, the Mamluks, and obviously the Turko-Mongolian dynasties. Modern armies of Iranshahr have focused on mimicking Western armies, with expensive technology and slow grinding conventional military strategies. Using horses for mobility and mules for supply transportation, this would be a low cost branch of the Savaran that could protect Iranshahr by dominating the mountain regions in times of war. The Faris would be an experiment to blend modern warfare with furusiyya so that the Defense Forces of Iranshahr could have the commanding heights if ever foreign invasions tried to pass through Iranshahr’s mountains.
Ghulam would possibly be the most controversial branch of the Savaran. In the past, Ghulam were slave soldiers fighting for the monarch. The Ghulam of the Empire would be women and men convicted of crimes who seek reform through martial discipline. An individual convicted of crimes may volunteer to serve in the Ghulam branch instead of going to prison. Those convicted of capital crimes would not be able to join. An individual who commits pettier crimes could join for the duration of her or his sentence. It must be noted that those who have fines to pay could not join to prevent abuse by the government. Beyond military training, the Ghulam would receive the same reform programs that they would take within prison walls. The Ghulam’s mandate would be adaptability, to serve as auxiliary forces of the other Savaran branches. At the same time the Ghulam could serve as a military branch that is open to foreigners. In this capacity, the Ghulam would serve a similar function as the French Foreign Legion.
The Zoorbi (زوربی) would be the non-violent soldiers of the Savaran. If territory is occupied, this branch would infiltrate the region to train and raise nonviolent protests against the occupiers. Far from being weak, these troops must not resort to violence in the face of aggression. They must have unfaltering discipline for this difficult task. Like the Fedayeen, they must blend into their surroundings to create chaos for the enemy. They would have to be creative and mischievous and raise the morale of the occupied citizens. Such soldiers could be sent into neighboring nations to train opposition groups against oppressive regimes.
The Navy of the Empire should not follow the direction that other Great Powers have gone. Large cumbersome warships, fortresses on the seas, are becoming obsolete just like the fortresses of old. The billions of dollars spent on these floating targets could be spent better on technologies and methods for destroying large naval vessels. Iranshahr’s fleet should be smaller but more agile than other fleets. Small, fast, ships should be developed to travel longer distances. Submarines are another excellent option.
As in the Navy, the Air Force should exist but should not be a money sink. Rather than competing with other powers on how many fighter jets one has, better to find a way to make fighter jets obsolete. Drones will continue to develop and become more prevalent in the armaments of nations but over reliance on high-tech warfare can be deadly if communication is cut between technology and user.
The Empire should limit its expenditures on the major high-tech offensive technologies. Instead of building massive tanks, invest in how to defeat an army of tanks. With militaries all over the world moving toward high-tech weaponry, the impulse for a nation is to follow suit. This is a mistake. Warfare that relies on expensive technology drains a nation’s resources and inhibits a military’s creativity. Many times “primitive” armies defeat “advanced” armies because compensation for lack of military resources is creativity. Creative armies win wars.
The Defense Forces of Iranshahr should be a professional military with a guerrilla mindset. This process is institutionalized guerrilla warfare. Mobility, creativity, and unconventional are the principles to follow. In order to increase the collective understanding of asymmetrical warfare, qualified volunteers within the Savaran would be allowed to become “Warrior Scholars.” A warrior scholar is a soldier who joins a foreign war fighting on the side she or he believes has a just cause in the struggle. Warrior scholars would deploy in units of ten soldiers with limited resources and would work with local fighters. They would officially not be part of the Defense Forces in the duration of their expedition. Once they enter the foreign war, they would not be helped by the military or government of Iranshahr.
Their objectives would be to engage the enemy using the guerrilla principles taught by the Savaran, train and learn from local fighters, and record the expedition. If possible a warrior scholar unit should begin building its own guerrilla force, incorporating and training locals under the strict Savaran Code of Conduct. As scholars, their primary goal would be to record their operations, tactics, mistakes, the fighting methods of their allies, the methods of their enemy, the terrain, logistics, supplies, etc. If the ally fighting force commits war crimes, the warrior scholars would disassociate from them. Once the group decides unanimously to end the expedition, power is passed to the highest ranking local guerrilla officer (trained by the warrior scholars), and the group would return home create a comprehensive report. These reports in turn would be used to modify training of Savaran troops, and add to guerrilla warfare studies.
Moving Iranshahr’s military towards unconventional warfare training does not mean that Iranshahr should abandon high-tech weaponry. It just should not become dependent on such technology. For instance, there is great potential in cyber warfare. This is essentially guerrilla warfare on another front. This is where the vast majority of research funds should go when talking about advanced technologies. Here is where a less advanced nation could even the playing field with a technology dependent enemy military. Cyber warfare is inexpensive compared with fighter jets, ballistic missiles, and aircraft carriers, but this underutilized military tool will one day win wars for those who master it.
The point of this military structure is to create a defense force that can win when defending its home, but is not capable to go on the offensive too far from the borders of the Guarded Domains. This would curtail any ambitious or aggressive administrations in power in Iranshahr to go on imperialist expeditions. Armies fight best when defending their nations. Most wars have been started because governments convinced their armies that they were defending their homelands even when invading other nations on the other side of the world. Iranshahr needs to be a restrained superpower. It must be a nation that defends the interests of the People rather than elites with commercial interests. By structuring the military of the Guarded Domains in this way, the People can be defended and the manipulating elites will have a much harder time using the nation for their selfish goals.
Regiment Names of the Savaran