On January 8, 2020 at 00:50 Moscow time, 15 Fateh-313 and Qiam flew towards two American bases in Iraq. The first successful military response to US actions in modern stories can be considered completed.
On the one hand, it seems that large military bases of the most powerful army in the world should be perfect in the field of defense, capable of over-the-horizon interception of even a house fly. But in fact, American bases in the Middle East are protected by the very same Patriots and relatively outdated short-range air defense systems, which absolutely completely missed all the Hussite cruise missiles and drones, located a few kilometers from Saudi oil facilities. The most interesting thing is that on the basis of Ain al-Assad there were not even them. At least there is no mention of this. They are also absent in public satellite imagery. And this despite the fact that the United States was preparing the assassination of Suleimani before the New Year and had time to strengthen the defense.
The damage from an illustrative Iranian strike is unlikely to exceed the damage from an American strike on Syria in 2018. The only difference is that now no one was hurt at all (there were three wounded in Syria). The question was not whether Iran would answer. The only question was whether this revenge would turn into a series of chaotic actions scattered over a long period of time, or whether it would be something one-time and pathos. In the latter case, the probability of a strong American strike directly against Iran was significantly higher. In the first case, the entire effect directed at the internal consumer will come to naught. The level of the current glow suggested a pathos version of revenge for the death of Kassem Suleimani.
General Suleymani himself was the commander of the Al-Quds special forces. This unit is a kind of Russian MTR, only actively supporting numerous pro-Iranian formations abroad. Al-Quds actively participated in the Syrian war and contributed significantly to the destruction of ISIS (banned in the Russian Federation).
Yes, the actions of Hezbollah, for example, during the confrontation with Israel in 2006, were largely of a terrorist nature, since targeted bombardment of densely populated territory was carried out in order to inflict heavy casualties among the civilian population. However, these actions are no more terrorist than Israeli attacks on white phosphorus along Lebanon along with similar strikes by the coalition against Raqqa or targeted shelling of the cities of Donbass by the Armed Forces. Who in this case should be eliminated from drones? No one is taking responsibility from Suleymani and Iran as a whole. But you must always remember that the United States over the past 20 years has caused the death of thousands of times more civilians. Well, if the United States decided to really fight terrorism, then let them use international law and start primarily with themselves.
It turns out that in order to paralyze the work of any US military base, it is enough to launch one or two missiles every few hours. The habitual tactics of Americans to sit out in reinforcement, calling for help Aviationalso does not work. Especially when all the personnel of the air base, together with the flight crew, are sitting in the bunker and carefully listening to the muffled sounds of exploding rockets ... Well, what can I say? So far, so good! (c) @realDonaldTrump.
Reading Trump's tweets, one can easily recall how the same White House resident threatened Russia, Iran and Assad in Syria with “new smart” missiles for 22 targets. As a result, the familiar “Tomahawks”, AGM-158 and GBU-38 flew in for three purposes. Moreover, a decent portion of cruise missiles simply fell, not even reaching the affected area of the Syrian air defense, and most were simply shot down. And Trump threatened Kim Jong-un, sticking out of habit obscure arithmetic about some 20 goals ...
Even after the Hussites hit the Saudi Aramco plant, US Senator Lindsey Graham said it was necessary to hit Iranian refineries. Factories are factories, but one can hardly remember when one state openly threatened another with direct attacks on cultural heritage sites. The last time cultural monuments were openly destroyed only by ISIS terrorists in Mosul, Palmyra and others. Or is it the spirit of the late Al-Baghdadi that settled in Trump before the New Year holidays? ..
And who will explain to Trump that he did not kill al-Baghdadi or bin Laden, against whose background it was possible to leave as a winner, but an official government official who is respected by tens of millions of people? Trump still does not understand why he needs advisers and intelligence if he already has a TV, Twitter and Ivanka in his house.
It turned out that the fountain of threats and ridiculous utterances from Twitter of the American leader and the Pentagon can be silenced with a small blow to American bases. For the first time, the United States found itself in a situation where the absence of a strike in response puts an end to the image of the “most powerful army in the world,” and the presence of an answer could lead to a major regional conflict, a victory in which is impossible for the United States at all. The choice is not easy, but subject to the most difficult intra-American confrontation and the lack of support from the allies, the head of the White House decided to hush up the situation with declarations of love for the Iranian people and further sanctions calling for a new deal.
Not the best reason
In this situation, all parties understand that a large-scale land operation against Iran with subsequent occupation is an incredibly difficult and bloody option that requires most of the military power of NATO and the Middle East allies with virtually no positive results. And such an excuse would be the worst of all possible.
The United States rallied the population of Iran to impossibility, despite the already beginning political and protracted economic crisis. And the military power of Iran very much depends on this unity. Previously, the Basij troops were obliged to mobilize 3 million reservists within 1 month, but today, looking at how many Iranians came to say goodbye to one of their leaders, we can safely assume that 3 million reservists is not the limit, and the Iranian promised authorities figure of 20 million may become a reality. Moreover, they are mobilized in this situation in a matter of weeks. Iran is not Ukraine, in which most of the conscripts flee anywhere, including the "aggressor country." In Iran, since childhood, everyone knows who the enemy is and what to do when the enemy finally comes to their country. And the States are doing literally everything to never leave the image of the enemy for the Iranians and strengthen their faith in the "holy revenge" of the overseas aggressor.
The scale of a possible tragedy
The likely full-scale military conflict could be divided into two parts: the initial one, when Iran still has a missile arsenal, fleet, aviation and air defense; secondary, when the main actions will be conducted on land with full control of airspace to establish control of the aggressor over Iranian territory. Although most experts consider only the initial stage as a response to possible attacks by the United States and its allies on the missile arsenal, nuclear facilities (including nuclear power plants, research complexes and uranium enrichment plants), the fleet and Iranian aviation with the mandatory suppression of air defense.
What can Iran do at the initial stage of a large-scale conflict, which can last up to several weeks?
1. Block the Strait of Hormuz with anti-ship missile strikes from land, land and air, actively using subversive boats, submarines with torpedoes, and also scattering thousands of mines.
2. To cause serious damage to the largest American bases in all directions from the Iranian border and paralyze the work of some of them.
3. Destroy several large US warships (especially if they have the courage to go into the Persian or Omani Gulf).
4. To strike at oil fields, oil refineries, ports, oil pipelines, gas pipelines and other objects of the energy industry of all the Persian Gulf countries that dare to use force or allow their territory to be used as a springboard for an attack.
5. Attack Israel both from Iran with ballistic missiles and from Lebanon and Syria through Hezbollah and Quds.
6. Activate all pro-Iranian units in Yemen and Iraq (up to 100 people mobilize in Iraq, approximately the same number of Hussites fight in Yemen, who are credited with close ties with Iran).
Only Aegis on US Navy ships and the THAAD ground-based missile defense system can truly cope with Iranian strikes. The THAAD missile defense system did not pass the test in battle, its effectiveness in multiple targets is unknown. Ships with the Aegis are included in the list of priority goals by themselves and will rather be engaged in ensuring their own survivability, rather than covering the ground military facilities of the "world gendarme". It is unlikely that the United States will build a protective shield from them along the entire Persian Gulf. As for the Patriots, perhaps they can shoot down some of the ballistic missiles, but they are not at all capable of working out the latest UAVs and KR effectively. Although the "Patriots" are still the main complex for covering US territory from land. By the way, what kind of Iranian missile threat did Washington intend to protect Europe if they could not protect even the bases closest to Iran? The question is rhetorical.
It is hard to imagine that the United States will still be able to assemble a coalition of a million soldiers for the secondary phase of the operation. The theater of probable military operations in relief is significantly different from Iraq and more like an Afghan one. Only in the mountains of Afghanistan today 60 thousand Taliban are still hiding, despite the many years of efforts of the USSR and the West. And during the Afghan war with the participation of the USSR, there were approximately 150 thousand. It is not difficult to imagine how the land under the feet of the American occupiers will burn if they meet millions of enemy fighters in similar conditions. Every stone will shoot, and the States will never be able to gain a foothold in Iran ...
Such a large-scale war with the unfolding of the second phase can develop into a regional nuclear conflict in one gate. In the event of critical destruction, Israel and the United States are quite tempted to use low-power nuclear weapons in Iran’s military facilities. A collision with a multimillion-dollar army on land can also very well encourage the use of low-power nuclear charges. Moreover, even the most effective bunker-bomb GBU-57 will not be able to penetrate part of Iran’s nuclear facilities. After all, the same Fordu nuclear plant, located at a depth of 90 meters under rock formations, is quite comparable in strength to the submarine base in Balaklava (it can withstand a direct hit of a nuclear charge of up to 100 kt).
Not ready yet
The balance of power does not yet favor large-scale actions. At all US bases in the region, taken together, today, even the required 500+ combat aircraft are not even close. Near the Persian Gulf there is only one carrier group, and the transfer of 4000 paratroopers to Kuwait will also not scare anyone.
Not those attacked
In Iran, according to US intelligence, there are about 2000 short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The maximum range of some of them (Shahab-6) is probably about 6000 km, but in mass production such weapons not yet. Most have a range of 300-2000 km. But Iran still has a lot of cruise missiles, including anti-ship like Nur, Nasr-1, which are massively installed on both coastal complexes and small missile boats.
The Iranian fleet is armed with small frigates, corvettes and missile boats, each of which is armed with anti-ship missiles and can hit a target at a distance of 15-300 km. There are also many small submarines with torpedo-mine weapons and three Soviet projects 877 Halibut. A total of 67 surface combat ships and 21 submarines. For the Persian and Oman gulfs, this is more than enough to withstand several aircraft carrier groups at once.
Iranian aviation is very motley and consists of its own processing and hodgepodge of Soviet, Chinese, American and even French aircraft. Basically, these are relatively obsolete combat vehicles of 3-4 generations, but this is offset by the well-established production of parts for them and new weapons: missile launchers, air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, guided by air bombs.
Iran's air defense is represented by both the old Soviet systems, which intercepted the Tomahawks in Syria, and the new Russian S-300PMU-2. There are many of its own analogues, the most famous of which is named "Bavar-373". Iran also has modern Russian Tor-M1 short-range air defense systems.
KSIR ground forces are armed with fifteen hundred tanks, most of which were produced by the USSR (T-55, T-72). There are also "Chieftains", M60, M48 and others. Representatives of the middle of the last century. The production of their own Zulfikar tanks has been launched. The situation is similar with BMP and armored personnel carriers. Iran has about 1300 of them. They should be supported by 7000 artillery pieces of various calibers and MLRS with high-precision shells of their own design.
Iran’s separate passion is UAVs. Given the high vulnerability of modern air defense systems to such unobtrusive and maneuverable targets, Iran has created many variations from reconnaissance drones to shock drones of various sizes. The most striking example is a copy of the modern American drone-reconnaissance drone RQ-170 Sentinel intercepted by the Iranians.
Is it worth it?
Neither Iran nor the United States is interested in a big war. Iran does not want to receive total destruction of the country and millions of victims, and the United States does not want to get involved in a fierce war, which will take so many resources that Washington will be forced to give up positions on almost all fronts and lose a significant share of its global influence. It is no accident that the Afghan war is considered to be one of the reasons for the collapse of the USSR, and here this analogy is quite appropriate.
Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Iran, Russia, China ... There are not so many countries in the world that can openly repulse any plans of the "world gendarme". However, every year there are more of them. Iran's bold response, which left the last move behind itself, is the last warning to the state, which considered itself a monopoly on the use of force.
So far nothing has happened. The United States felt the decisiveness of the enemy, the readiness to do everything and will shake off what happened for a long time to come. The conflict is not settled, but not inevitable. Iran taught a real lesson to a state that previously considered itself untouchable. Now comes the era when even some regional players are too tough for the Western military machine. Still, the wonderful Iranian nature and wonderful historical and cultural monuments should please numerous tourists, and not be a complicated theater of war, and the Iranians should live happily in their country, with no cause for grief.