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IRGC Cyber-Warfare Capabilities

Introduction: The Cyber-Domain as a Level Playing Field

The cyber domain is composed of cellular technologies, space-based communications, and intranets, in addition to the internet of networked computers. Cyberspace often has a physical infrastructure layer which is dictated by the financial laws of rival capitals along with partisan laws of control and self-governing jurisdiction. It also sports a virtual, also referred to as an information layer, which is characterized by increasing commercial proceeds to scale as well as political exercises which often make jurisdictional governance difficult. Costs are usually law in the informational realm. As such, attacks can be flung from here against the corporeal domain in which capitals are quite expensive and scarce. The control of the corporeal layer can have both extraterritorial and territorial consequences on the information layer. In turn, cyber power can construct the intended results within and outside infobahn.

It is noted that the blockades to entry in the virtual domain are noticeably low. Consequently, non-state players and small nations get to play major roles at very low heights of cost. While comparing land, sea, and air, “cyber stakes three physiognomies with the land fare, factoring in three key aspects namely the number of players, an opportunity for concealment and ease of entry. Notably, on land, ascendency is not a ungrudgingly achievable benchmark.” (Nye, 2011).

The Future of Power describes the dispersion of power as one of the inordinate power shifts of the era. Cyberspace serves as an excellent exemplar of this larger trend where the biggest powers are highly unlikely to rule this domain as much as they have done with space, air or sea. They might have grander resources, but this is also accompanied by greater susceptibilities. At this specific stage in the elaboration of the machinery, offense tends to dominant protection in cyberspace. Some of the major countries on the globe namely the U.S, China, France, Russia and Britain have a sizable aptitude than other official and non-official actors.

However, it makes minute sense to have a conversation regarding dominance in cyberspace. Thus, since the cyber-encryption field is a level playing field, major powers do not enjoy a technological superiority compared to non-state actors or states sponsors of terrorism. Iranian programmers have the same knowledge, capabilities and means of their American, Israeli or europeans counterparts. The threat coming from Iranian cyber-operations is more real than ever (Nye, 2011).

Iran’s Cyber Doctrine Currently, the Islamic Republic of Iran is guided by three primary features including dominant leaders, a powerful military organization and a strong national cultural identity. These are considered as important aspects in the strategic development of the nation, while also playing a critical role as important receptors for strategic targeting. One other prominent factor that is playing a critical role in the development of Iran’s cyber activities is its hostility towards Israel. It is noted that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been central to modern-time politics in the Arab world and has shaped the region, not just politically but also economically and socially. Iran has grown to find this conflict beneficial for its role in the region as the nation at the forefront of bashing Israel.



 This article is part of the RED-Alert project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon                                 2020 research and innovation Programme under grant agreement No 740688.

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