News Analysis |
The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has made a rather surprising assessment about the strength of the United States military currently deployed in the Gulf region. “The Americans have been present in the region since 1833 and they are now at their weakest in history in West Asia,” said Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, a deputy Guards commander, according to Fars semi-official news agency of Iran.
The foreign minister of Iran, Jawad Zarif, while speaking at the end of a conference in Baghdad, accompanied by Iraqi foreign minister Mohammed Ali-Al Hakim, reiterated that Iran will defend itself from any means of foreign aggression.
The invasion after 9/11 into a territory which harbored the enemies of the United States did see immediate success, but it did not last long as the Taliban resurged, looking stronger than before.
Past few weeks saw increased tensions between the United States of America and Iran as the former deployed its B-52 bombers at the Al-Udeid military base in Qatar, following the threat assessment that the U.S assets in the region may be subjected to an Iranian attack.
Two days back, the U.S President Donald Trump announced that he is authorizing 1500 additional troops to be deployed in the Persian Gulf, inviting verbal rebuttal from Iran once again that it will go to any lengths to defend its sovereignty.
U.S Military Presence in the Persian Gulf Since 1883
Reference to U.S military’s existence in the Middle East since 1833 from the Iranian deputy commander of Revolutionary Guard is somewhat misleading. The first interaction between a gulf state and the USA did happen in 1883 but it was an Amity and Conference Treaty between the Oman Sultanate and the United States of America.
The treaty was diplomatic in nature, intended to reach out to Arab countries in order to foster diplomatic ties as the United States at the time was nowhere near to its military and economic might as it is today. The U.S footprints in the Middle East were substantially enhanced in the year following Iraq’s invasion of Qatar. Since then, it has built bases at key Arab countries, such as Al-Udeid base in Qatar and the presence of the 5th naval fleet in Bahrain are salient examples.
Weakest in History?
The assessment is probably based on the dismal state of affairs which the U.S military had to face in neighboring Afghanistan. The invasion after 9/11 into a territory which harbored the enemies of the United States did see immediate success, but it did not last long as the Taliban resurged, looking stronger than before.
The statement of the Iranian commander is understandable if it was meant to boost the morale of its troops but realistically believing in it can be catastrophic for Iran in case of a conflict.
Eventually, after 18 years, the United States of America had no option but resort towards dialogue with Taliban insurgents. However, if the Iranian commander has based his statement on this fact, it is not pertinent to the plausible escalation in the Persian Gulf.
In Afghanistan, the U.S army had to face a non-conventional, guerilla warfare which the precedence from Vietnam tells that U.S military is not miserable at. On the other hand, if any confrontation between Iranian and the U.S military does happen, it will be naval and air warfare, where the U.S is multiple times stronger and advanced than Iran.
Also, evident by the Stuxnet cyber attack on the nuclear centrifuges at Natanz, United States has established itself as one of the frontrunners of electronic and cyber warfare which is essentially the make or break point in modern warfare.
The ability to render enemy defense and offense capabilities obsolete in a matter of minutes is a decisive phenomenon in contemporary war doctrines and the United States is known to have aced such abilities. Therefore, the statement of the Iranian commander is understandable if it was meant to boost the morale of its troops but realistically believing in it can be catastrophic for Iran in case of a conflict.