US dominance in the Middle East is based on a complex system of alliances. Israel - one of the main points of support for the US in the region. Other are now tons. Mr. "Conservative monarchy" of the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia led. In terms of "conservative monarchies" system would look absolutely perfect if the circuit was still and the Shah of Iran. However, the Islamic revolution in this country, 1978-1979 years that overthrew the Shah in the face of the local version of "conservative monarchy", closed this perspective, however, at the same time creating new opportunities for the United States to increase their level of military presence in the Middle East. After all, the Islamic revolution in Iran made "conservative monarchies" of the Gulf to rally around the United States in political and military terms. Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988 years highlighted the issues of the Gulf security. The military policy of Saddam's Iraq, with its attempt to liquidation only Kuwait has confirmed the previously chosen course. In the 1981, six Gulf states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates - have formed an alliance Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), aimed at countering threats from Iran.
American domination system in the Middle East is built through stimulation of conflicts and overcoming them with the direct or indirect mediation Americans. In this case, it is not difficult to see how with each new level of conflict US military and political presence in the Middle East is increasing. This is the general pattern of the process. In this regard, Iran with its Islamic revolution played a key role since the end of 1970-ies. After a confrontation with Iran strengthens US hegemony in the Middle East.
The official strategy of national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran is aimed at the elimination of US force structure in the Middle East, which includes the US and its allies in the region - Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab conservative Sunni regimes. That is to say, the maximum program of Iran. Such a strategy, and generates opposition from the Americans. Additional US pressures on Iran - it is NATO, which takes Iran in the "security arc" from Turkey in the west, to the Afghanistan - in the east.
Iran's actions also aim to influence the policies and actions of the big powers, which are present in the region - either as partners or as antagonists of US interests in the Middle East.
In addition, it should be noted especially the traditional factor. At a new historical level, Iran has reproduced a cultural rift between the core of the Islamic world by the Persians and the Arabs with the informal dispute about the primacy. This is a fundamental cultural conflict in modern Iran is covered by the new Islamic revolutionary ideology. Iranian Islamists rightly argue that the politics and economics of the Middle East countries in the region have been distorted by the intervention of the West and its economic dominance. And that, and another, with Tehran's point of view, should be discontinued. The creation of Israel, the Iranians believe, is another manifestation of Western interference. Iranian leaders accuse US allies - their Arab antagonists in promoting American efforts on the structuring of the Middle East in the interests of the United States and Israel.
Iran's leaders, for example, directly accused the United States in the creation of radical Sunni Islamist terrorist groups like Islamic State (LIH), and earlier - "Al-Qaeda". "Al-Qaeda" and LIH are orthodox Sunni militant Muslim organizations, who identified Iran as a major threat to its security. From the point of view of Iran, Saudi Arabia provokes sectarian tensions and attempts to isolate Iran from regional affairs. Iran is characterized by its revolutionary support for Shiite and other Islamist movements in the region as a means of "the oppressed".
However, Iran's leaders are constantly correlated imperatives of revolutionary and religious ideology to the needs of Iran's national interests. At the end of 1990-ies Iran refused to export their version of an Islamic revolution in the region, as this led only to drag Iran to the growth and to its isolation. More moderate Iranian leaders, including the current presidentHassan RouhaniThey argue that Iran should not be "permanent enemies". They argue that the pragmatic foreign policy leads to a weakening of the international sanctions against Iran, which corresponds to the national interests of the country. "Irreconcilable" - Iran's supreme leader, AyatollahKhameneiand obey Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are opposed to any compromise in terms of the main goals of Iran, but supports the reintegration of Iran into the regional and international policies on the basis of an agreement dated July 2015 years the Iranian nuclear program (INP).
Iran's national security policy is the most concentrated in the Middle East region. It is quite self-sufficient, and this fact has caused resentment in the United States. Iran uses various instruments for its national security policy. Some Iranian political tricks are common to most countries: traditional diplomacy, the promotion of the values and interests of Iran by means of "soft power". Iran provides financial support for regional politicians and leaders. But within the framework of the policy of most concern in the United States and Israel is the fact that Iran is providing direct financial support to armed groups, some of which use violence to harassment or retaliation against Israel or other regional foes Iran. Iran supports groups such as the Lebanese "Hezbollah", the Palestinian Hamas, the rebels Huthis in Yemen and Shia militias in Iraq. Iran in January 1984 has been placed by the Americans in their list of sponsors of international terrorism. In the latest State Department report on international terrorism for the year 2015 Iran again defined "the most important sponsor of terrorism" in the Middle East.
In the power of Iran's foreign policy has a special feature. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) remains a key instrument of foreign policy and Iran's power projection, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen. IRGC - a military and internal security forces that were created after the Islamic Revolution, which began to operate in foreign policy. Iran's operations in support of allies, related to the supply of weapons, providing advisors, training and funding by a special unit of the Revolutionary Guards - "Al-Quds" (Jerusalem), which is headed by GeneralQasem SoleimaniWhich apparently directly subordinate supreme leader Khamenei.
It should be noted that the US policy is quite consistent in regard to Iran. Successive presidential administrations define Iran as a key US national security concerns in the Middle East. The danger for the US is the development of advanced military capabilities of Iran, in particular with regard to its nuclear and missile programs. Iran is a party to all core conventions on non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Iran insists that it fulfills all its obligations under these conventions. But the US and its allies after 2003, the claim that Iran has not fulfilled all its obligations under the NPT and it is necessary to prove the case that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. Negotiations between Iran and the "international community" on this issue began in the year 2003 and 2015 year ended July Joint Comprehensive Action Plan. In Washington, especially not hide the fact that Iran's nuclear program is one of the major problems in the United States, partly because Iran's possession of nuclear weapons would close the operational possibility of foreign military pressure on him.
US military experts say that Iran's largest missile arsenal in the region, and it poses a potential threat to US allies and deployed in the region for the US Navy. At the strategic level, Iran is developing various types of ballistic missiles. At the tactical level, Iran has or acquires, or he develops many types of ballistic and cruise missiles, short-range. Iran's missile cooperation with North Korea is extensive. The only currently existing Security Council resolution on Iran remains resolution 2231 from 20 2015 year in July, "urging" Iran does not develop or test ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Iran conducted four missile tests since the signing of the INP in 2015 year, which aroused the anger of Americans. US consistently strive to build with its allies, regional missile defense system to counter missile capabilities of Iran. The United States and Israel have a broad program of cooperation in the field of missile defense. The United States also has long tried to organize a coordinated missile defense GCC system, based on individual capabilities and purchase of each country's unification. The latest American system "Patriot» PAC-3 was sold to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. State of the art of walking on the export of US missile defense systems - THAAD already delivered and deployed in the UAE. In September 2012, the United States installed a radar early warning of missile attack in Qatar, which operates in a single system with radar in Israel and Turkey.
As for the prospects of large-scale war with the use of conventional weapons, the US military forces of Iran are evaluated as "unable to defeat the United States in a classic military confrontation." But Iran's armed forces have been estimated by the Pentagon as "potentially capable of inflicting considerable damage" to the US military in the case of a direct military conflict. Iran itself is already able to protect themselves against any aggression from their Arab neighbors. But he is not able to deploy its armed forces on the distant approaches or seas. Americans are fixed and the inability of modern Iranian armed forces to force the Persian Gulf for the invasion of the territory of Saudi Arabia and its allies in the GCC.
In the US, watching what is happening in Iraq and Syria, acknowledged that Iran is able to project power, including against the allied interests of the USA and the United States itself in the region, not directly, but in the "proxy-mode" by supporting friendly governments and forces through IRGC activities.
Currently in the Gulf region mainly to contain Iran placed about 35 thousand US troops. Most of these forces are stationed at military facilities in GCC countries: four in Saudi Arabia, four - in Kuwait, two - in Bahrain, two - in Qatar, two - in the OAU and four - in Oman.
Among US allies in the region, namely the GCC states play a key role in countering Iran. The United States has formal agreements on cooperation in the field of defense (DCA) with Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, the access agreement with Oman and memoranda of understanding with Saudi Arabia. All these agreements aimed at Iran. In February 2010, the then Secretary of StateHillary ClintonIt raised the issue of possible expansion of the American "security umbrella" for the GCC countries.
US strategic partnership and the Gulf countries, including the "Strategic US-GCC dialogue", was launched in March 2012 years. Along the way, the US arms sales to Gulf countries improved air and maritime potential of the GCC countries and their cooperation with the US forces, and security at the border and at sea. Except in the case with Bahrain after 2011, the US approved virtually all requests for the purchase of advanced US weapons states of the GCC, including the latest weapons as fighting fourth-generation aircraft, munitions with high-lesion, warships, radar systems, communications and command and control system tactically on the battlefield.
The US is trying to consider GCC countries as a single military-political bloc. Nevertheless, suspicions and disagreements between the countries of the Persian Gulf slow implementation of this concept. After 2012 years on each of the GCC summit participants supported the proposal of Saudi Arabia to the formation of a unified command structure of the armed forces of the GCC. However, for the execution of this decision, nothing is done. Apparently, in the GCC can not think of a direct military conflict with Iran without US participation in it.
When considering the military development of the GCC is not difficult to see that it proceeds on the basis that the GCC countries collectively, as a military unit must exceed Iran. In addition, separately and Saudi Arabia without its allies in the GCC should be militarily superior to Iran by major weapons.
Next, we present performance of the armed forces of the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, and in brackets next to give a figure for Saudi Arabia alone.
The total number of armed forces of the GCC countries: 366 thousand (including 225 thousand for Saudi Arabia);
The Army and National Guard: 270 thousand (Saudi Arabia 175 thousand);
Tanks: 1733 units (600);
Armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles: 6418 (3011);
Artillery: 2043 (771);
Air defense weapons: 2155 (1805);
Number: 25 thousand (13,5 thousand);
Frigate: 11 (7);
Patrol boats 409 (83);
Amphibious ships: 13 (8);
Number: 35 thousand (20 thousand);
Fighter-bomber: 498 (261);
Attack helicopters: 89
By the number of advanced weapons GCC clearly superior to Iran. However, the combat value of the armed forces of the GCC, and their ability to conduct offensive operations today remains an unknown quantity. US experts often cast doubt on the level of training and experience of the armed forces of the Gulf, as well as the extent to which they depend in personnel terms of Pakistanis and other Arabs serving in the armies of the GCC on the contract.
Similarly, should look at the Iranian armed forces. In the recent past they had combat experience of the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1987 years, which, however, there were few positive points in the operational art. Iran-Iraq war has turned into a long-term position bloody conflict without crushing the enemy.
The total number of armed forces and security forces of Iran is about 475 thousand. The peculiarity of the "revolutionary army building" Iran was the division of its armed forces on its own armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The latter are the guarantor of the "Islamic revolution" and its values in Iran. IRGC has evolved into a key organization in order to maintain internal security. But at the same time, such as Iran's missile program are exclusively run by the IRGC. In November 2009, the IRGC intelligence units have been authorized, surpassing the powers of intelligence services in Iran. special operations unit of the IRGC-Quds Force has approximately 10-15 thousand people who provide advice, support and organize the supply of arms pro-Iranian political factions or leaders in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the Gulf States, Gaza and the West Bank, Afghanistan and Central Asia. The IRGC is also increasingly involved in sanctions under the Iran's economy, operating through a network of contracting companies, which he created.
Regular ground forces of Iran are about 350 thousand people. IRGC ground - about 100 thousand people. IRGC naval fleet is about 20 thousand people. A regular Navy - about 18 thousand people. Regular Air Force has about 30 thousand soldiers. Security forces in the order of 40-60 thousand law enforcement officers. 600 thousand Iranians is a volunteer militia "Basij". "Basij" controlled IRGC permeates virtually all Iranian institutions.
Armed ground forces of Iran and the IRGC is about 1650 tanks, including T-480 72 Russian production.
Fleet comprises 4 corvettes, patrol boats 18 Chinese production controlled IRIS several hundred small boats. 3 has a Russian-built submarine boat class "Kilo", consisting in the Navy. In addition, Iran has several small submarines, possibly acquired from North Korea. These boats are in service with the Navy of the IRGC.
Iran's Air Force are armed units 330 aircraft and helicopters, including MiG-25 29 30 and 24-Su. Armed with the shah's era still consist American F-4, F-5 and F-14, the fighting capacity of which is in doubt.
Russia delivered to Iran in January 2007 30, the anti-aircraft missile complexes 9K331 "Tor M1" totaling over $ 1 billion.
Iranian Defense MinisterHossein dehgansI visited Moscow in February 2016 year and discussed the prospect of new acquisitions of conventional weapons in the amount of $ 8 billion, including tanks T-90, 30-Su aircraft, attack helicopters, anti-ship missiles, frigates and submarines. Sale to Iran of most conventional weapons was banned UN resolution 1929. Iran's defense budget is about 3% of GDP, or about $ 15 billion. The supply of arms to Iran to cooperate with Russia, China, Ukraine, Belarus, and North Korea. 2016 case in August, when Russian bombers allowed to use Iranian air base in Hamadan for strikes on Syria, was the first, when the Islamic Republic has allowed foreign military use of military facilities in Iran.
The military confrontation of Iran and the United States has strategically sensitive moment. Iran has 1800-kilometer coastline of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman Indian Ocean. Iran's navy, like the rest of its armed forces is divided into two parts. In connection with such a division of the naval forces of the Revolutionary Guards and regular Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) have different areas of responsibility. In Iran's navy - it is the Gulf of Oman, while the IRGC Navy - Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. This demonstrates the significant nuances of naval planning in Iran in the event of a major military conflict in the Persian Gulf. IRGC Navy with their mosquito fleet designed for mining and blockade the Strait of Hormuz. US officials and the GCC view Iran as the only real threat to the free flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf to foreign markets. The Iranian government has repeatedly warned that in case of aggression against Iran, the latter will block the Strait of Hormuz, through which now floats in tankers around 17 million barrels of oil. It is 35% of the total seaborne oil and 20% sold all around the world of oil.
At the end of the year 2016 the rebels in Yemen in the Strait of Bab el Mandeb struck warship UAE Iranian anti-ship missile. Deliveries Iranian anti-ship missiles to the rebels in Yemen Huthis were perceived as an attempt to Tehran to project military power to another key point - the Strait of Bab el Mandeb at the approaches to the Suez Canal. In January 2014, Iran for the first time in its history, sent several warships in the Atlantic Ocean, to show the flag.
Trump's new presidential administration has not yet been formulated, it will respond to demonstrated naval maneuvers of Iran in the Persian Gulf.
Another sensitive point counter Iran by the US and its allies, Syria remains. In late August, a special office 2016 UN special envoy in SyriaSteffan de MisturaHe said the Ambassador of Iran appreciated the assistance of Syria, including military and economic, totaling approximately $ 6 billion a year. Iran provides Syria additional credit lines for the purchase of Iranian goods. In Syria, Iran believes PresidentBashar al-Assadits key ally, despite the secular ideology of the Syrian regime. Hostile forces Iran indicate that this tendency is due to the dominance when Assad Alawite community, which allegedly practiced version of Islam, Shiism close. Iran, apparently afraid that the "Islamic State" and other Sunni Islamic extremists come to power if the current Federal authorities in Damascus falls. Assad's regime for many years was a close ally of Iran in the Arab world.
Another point. Iranian presence in Syria is connected with the fight against Israel and support for the Lebanese "Hezbollah". This factor is particularly fond indicate Tel Aviv. In the event of a peaceful settlement in Syria, Iran will almost certainly seek to continue to supply Syria use and protection of "Hizbullah", which is in the exhausting confrontation with Israel. Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei has repeatedly defined Israel as a "cancerous tumor" that should be removed from the region. In his speech in September 2015 years Khamenei said that, most likely, Israel will no longer exist after 25 years. Said Khamenei deadline for Israel coincides with the end of the joint comprehensive action plan.
Running placement of the regular armed forces of Iran in Syria is important, because in the modern period, they were never deployed outside the borders of Iran. In addition, since the end of 2015, Iran has significantly increased its direct military cooperation with Russia in Syria.
Apparently, it is the continuing presence of Iran in Syria and Israel, a negative position on this issue make a new presidential administration Trump look for opportunities to review the previous American policy towards Iran. During the presidential election campaign in the United States in 2016, the then candidate Trump was very critical of in relation to the "advanced Obama" a comprehensive Joint Action Plan of the INP. February 1 2017, the new administration in the form of statements by then-national security adviserMichael FlynnHe warned Iran in connection with the ongoing tests of ballistic missiles and "malicious" regional activities. However, representatives of the National Security Council explained at the time that any US retaliatory measures will be separated from the joint comprehensive action plan. However, on President Trump warned that "all options remain open" to respond to Iran's ballistic missile testing and "malicious acts" of Iran. Threats administration Trump against Iran in February 2017 years and the subsequent diplomatic contacts with the Saudis believe that the United States and Trampe tend to deepen defense ties with the countries of the GCC.
19 2017 April, the US Secretary of StateRex TillersonHe said that the review of relations with Iran, which he announced a day earlier in a letter to Congress, will cover not only the nuclear deal, but also Iran's actions in the Middle East. Tillerson accused Iran of undermining US interests in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. However, it is unclear what specific action against Iran could take the United States. After the unilateral US withdrawal from the agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan will not mean the automatic restoration of the regime of international sanctions against Iran.
All year 2016 American experts discussed the question of whether the joint comprehensive plan of action to change the policy of the national security of Iran can, and if so, in what way and in what direction. On the one hand, it was recognized that the exemption from sanctions to increase the financial capacity to support Iran's regional allies and proxies. On the other hand, Iran also received the incentive to avoid actions that could provoke new sanctions. Since the beginning of the year 2017 Iran apparently seeks to ease tensions in its relations with the GCC countries by using intermediary Kuwait and Oman. In this regard, it is unclear how the latest US threats can affect relationships in the Iranian leadership. Rowhani possible defeat in the presidential elections of May 19 2017 years may lead to the fact that the "reformists" in the Iranian leadership position shaken, and the new Iranian government will be less committed to the principle of joint comprehensive action plan. On the other hand, Washington hopes to the case, that is. e. for a quick and "sudden" departure from the political arena of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, which could dramatically change the foreign policy of Iran, depending on his successor.
And because all of these turns are problematic, then the United States, in addition to threats against Iran, is one way - the extension or the institutionalization of a coalition of Sunni Arab states that can succeed in proxy conflicts in the victory over the movements and governments, supported by Iran. Consequently, conflicts in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq must continue, and Iran is not afraid of this form of confrontation.