Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Bradley Thayer


theocracy, parallel military, Iran, Saudi Arabia, military structure

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


This study scrutinizes the relationship between regime type and military force structure. In particular, the paper will be examining the correlation between modern day theocracies and their parallel military systems. These systems are constructed of the regular armed forces and an autonomous national guard. This paper will focus on the case studies of Iran and Saudi Arabia as they are the best examples of theocratic governance due to their devotion to ingraining the teachings of Islam in all aspects of society. The study of the military force structure of Iran and Saudi Arabia provides ample evidence that though these states are governed by Islamic law, religion has little to do with the evolution of their parallel military organizations, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Rather it is the pressure of the international system and internal threats that have provided the impetus for the creation of these force structures. This is an important connection to explore in the context of renewed Islamic fundamentalism and the possibility that more and more nations will increase the role of religion in government. These organizations may be ideological in nature, but will remain rational and realist in the context of national security, internal stability, and regional influence.


© Camelia D. Nader

Campus Only