I had occasion to consult the Wikipedia entry for the Basij, a paramilitary volunteer militia in Iran. (Don’t ask why.) The following sentence jumped out at me:
(1) The Basij are subordinate to and receive their orders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Supreme Leader of Iran, to whom they are known for their loyalty. (emphasis added)
I think I know what they’re trying to say, but I think what I think they’re actually saying isn’t what I think they’re trying to say.
The second half of the sentence might mean three things:
(a) They are known to the IRGC and the Supreme Leader for their loyalty to the IRGC and the Supreme Leader.
(b) They are known to the IRGC and the Supreme Leader for their loyalty to everyone in general.
(c) They are known to everyone in general for their loyalty to the IRGC and the Supreme Leader.
I think they mean 3., but I think they actually say 1.
The two questions are: to whom are they known, and to whom/what are they loyal? In (1), it’s really not clear. To whom they are known seems to relate back to the IRGC and the Supreme Leader, leaving for their loyalty without a complement. But their loyalty to everyone in general (b) won’t help the IRGC and the Supreme Leader in particular, which leaves us with (a).
So can we transform (c) in any grammatical way? I think we could (just) say:
(d) They are subordinate to the IRGC and the Supreme Leader, who they are known (to everyone in general) for their loyalty to.
But some people say that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, and a few say that you mustn’t. Fronting the preposition gives to who(m) they are known for their loyalty, which is where we started, but which seems to mean something different.
(d) is undoubtedly awkward, even if you allow prepositions at the ends of sentences (which I do), but at least it’s clear who the Basij are loyal to.
I’m going to have to shrug my shoulders about this one. I emailed a leading grammarian, and he couldn’t immediately figure it out, either. In the end, it’s not important enough.