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Who is threatened by Iranian drones?

Written by The Frontier Post

Yuri Mavashev

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called Iran’s military potential “a threat to peace.” He made a special emphasis on the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program. Gazeta.ru understood how great the threat was and how justified the fears were.
“I want to emphasize that unmanned aerial vehicles are precision weapons capable of striking strategic targets around the world. Most of the drone attacks that we have observed so far have been inflicted from the south and southeast of Iran on targets at sea, ”the Israeli Times of Israel quoted Benny Gantz. According to him, two Iranian drone bases, which were used to attack Tehran’s opponents in the region at sea, are located in the region of Chabahar and Qeshm Island.
The publication notes that over the past year, Israel and Iran have participated in an “undeclared” war at sea to each other. At the same time, Tehran allegedly carried out several attacks in the Persian and Oman Gulfs on Israeli ships or ships affiliated with this country. Thus, as a result of one of the Iranian side strikes on an oil tanker belonging to an Israeli businessman, British and Rom-anian citizens were killed.
“Iranian terrorism is exported at the behest of [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei personally and the top leaders of the regime. Moreover, this potential endangers the Sunni countries, international forces in the Middle East and in the countries of Europe and Africa, ”said Benny Gantz
The family of Iranian UAVs Ababil, which includes kamikaze drones, began to be actively used in Yemen and in the Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Post will clarify that the drones were “exported or copied” by Iranian proxies and renamed. Hamas uses a Shehab drone launched from a catapult. The Houthis in Yemen used the Qasef and Samad kamikaze drones to carry out high-precision attacks.
Moreover, according to the Israeli authorities, an attempt by Iran was recorded to deliver explosives from Syria to the West Bank of the Jordan River.
Iran launched a UAV from the T4 airbase in the Syrian province of Homs. The drone carried explosives for “terrorist groups in the West Bank,” but the device was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces in the Beit She’an area of the Northern Military District. The T4 base in Syria, where the Iranian forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are stationed, quite often becomes the target of strikes by the Israeli army.
“The strategy for ensuring the security of Tehran in the region is based on two fundamental principles:“ asymmetric war ”and“ doctrine of advanced defense ”. As for the first, Iran is well aware that its rivals in the region are much stronger than it, so it does not set goals to compete in all areas and develops certain areas in which it is most successful. One of them is the development of UAVs and loitering ammunition. These successes are perceived in Israel as a “threat,” explained Nikita Smagin, an Iranian expert at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).
Loitering ammunition is an unmanned aerial vehicle that is capable of staying in the air in the target area for a long time and then hitting it. During this defeat, the ammunition self-destructs.
According to Smagin, the “doctrine of advanced defense” boils down to the fact that Iran is trying to get as close as possible to the US allies in the Middle East or directly to the US forces. This is done so that in the event of a surprise strike by Washington and its allies, they will be able to retaliate where possible.
“Iran and its regional non-state allies may well produce loitering ammunition. Even if not very perfect. In addition, I will emphasize that from a military point of view, the line between attack UAVs, patrolling ammunition and cruise missiles is gradually blurring. By the way, this was also shown by the attack of the Houthis in Yemen on the oil refining facilities of Saudi Arabia in 2019, when it was rather difficult to determine what exploded there, ”said Dmitry Stefanovich, a researcher at the Center for International Security of the IMEMO RAS.
At the same time, in his opinion, in the speech of the Israeli minister it rema-ined unclear whether Gantz means a “threat” directly from Iranian territory or from Tehran’s allies. The latter seems to the expert more likely theoretically.
“At the same time, I strongly doubt that it is in the interests of Iran to carry out such attacks. You can treat Tehran’s policy, its leaders and their statements in different ways. But they were not noticed in acts of terrorism,” – emphasized Stefanovich.
According to the expert, the use of these high-precision weapons by Iran can hardly qualitatively change the balance of forces in the region. After all, all countr-ies are engaged in the de-velopment of long-range high-precision weapons. Moreover, in real combat c-onditions with a well-de-veloped air defense system, there are also more complex tasks. For example, a much larger problem for Israel remains a sufficiently rich and high-quality arsenal of conventional ballistic missiles of various ranges.
“When speaking of ‘threats’, Israel is clearly deliberately exaggerating them. Iran does not have sufficient forces and means for this and does not set such a task within the framework of ensuring its security. Another thing is that Tel Aviv itself stands apart for Tehran. This is one of the rare areas of foreign policy and defense, which is the most ideologized. It is not so much pragmatic considerations as the prevailing perceptions of each other as a threat, ”Smagin summed up.

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