Saturday, August 20, 2016

Russian Base In Iran: Fundamental Change In Balance Of Power In The Region

A Russian base in Iran: a fundamental change in the balance of power in the region

Russia has announced its military presence in Iran for the first time since the end of World War II. 16.08.2016 Tu-22M3 Russian strategic bombers made their first flight from the base Hamedan in western Iran. The aircrafts attacked targets of the terrorist group "Islamic state" in Syria. Previously, Russian strategic aviation had been performing combat missions from the base of Mozdok in North Ossetia. Now the distance to the targets in Syria has been reduced by 60%.

For the Syrian campaign, it means that Russian supersonic bombers will be able to bring  a larger payload and at the same time carry out an increasing number of sorties. Accordingly, the intensity and effectiveness of the Russian air operations will increase significantly. Hmeymim airbase in Latakia (former civil airport) is not suitable for such heavy bombers.

News agencies spread information that Russia and Iran have agreed on the deployment of Russian strategic bombers at the air base Hamedan on a long term basis. This information was confirmed by Iranian officials. Chairman of the Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani said that the Iranian side will provide its infrastructure for Russia to combat terrorism. Russian strategic bombers in Iran dramatically change the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.

The combat range of the Tu-22M3 aircraft at supersonic speed is 1850 km and the maximum range is about 3000 km. This allows them to cover the whole of the Middle East. The area is now controlled by Russian aircraft includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen, Iran, the waters of the Persian Gulf. Within range are US military bases, all strategic places of Wahhabi monarchies of the Persian Gulf and the terrorist infrastructure in the region. The flight time to Riyadh is less than half an hour.

The Tu-22M3 is designed to destroy large enemy military-industrial targets, centers of command and control, and communications, destroy buildings (including magazines) and units deep behind enemy lines. This aircraft can also effectively conduct aerial reconnaissance and engage in electronic warfare. The Tu22M3 is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons. The maximum carry load is 24,000 kg.
Moreover, if Russia finds it necessary in a wartime situation, in agreement with Iran, can place better weapons at the air base in Iran, for example, the strategic missile carriers Tu-160, which are armed with atomic bombs and missiles with nuclear warheads. The combat radius of this aircraft is 7500 km.

Iran’s willingness to provide to Russia a military base Hamedan is a unique event in recent history of the state and evidence of a close strategic alliance between the two countries. This step links Russian geopolitics with Iran's interests in the region. There is no doubt that the Russian Aerospace Forces will protect the interests and security of both Russia and Iran. Iran strengthens its immunity against major opponents - the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, due to the Russian strategic presence.
At the same time, Russia defends itself at a distance, moving the confrontation with the United States from Russia’s own border areas, closer to the marginal part of the Eurasian Rimland, and directly adjacent to the major US and British bases in the Persian Gulf (Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).

For Russia, this event is crucial. A "breakthrough to the warm seas" to the Mediterranean, Iran and India; this geopolitical expansion towards the south has been a major strategic imperative of Russian geopolitics since the XVIII century and the basic meaning of "the Great Game" from the Russian side. In contrast to her Atlanticist powers, Great Britain and the United States were trying to prevent full Russian access to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Russian strategic bombers in Hamedan mean a breaking of the Atlanticist blockade in this part of the Rimland. Russia now receives immediate access to the region and the possibility of a way to operate militarily in this area, to protect both its own interests and those of its allies.

Commenting on recent reports of the US transferring its nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, Russian political scientist Andrei Manoilo told Radio Sputnik that while Washington may be very eager to do it, in reality there is no chance of this happening, and here is why.

The US would be keen to evacuate its nuclear weapons from Turkish territory, but they simply have no opportunity, Professor of Political Science at Moscow State University and a member of the scientific advisory board to the Security Council of Russia Andrei Manoilo told Radio Sputnik.

“To be able to transfer nuclear weapons from one NATO base to another, there should be a corresponding NATO decision as it is part of the potential of the allied group of NATO,” the political scientist explained.
None of the US aircraft are allowed to take off from this base as the airspace is fully blocked by the Turkish Air Forces, Manoilo said. It is equally impossible to transport the nukes on the ground.
So while the US is desperate to get control back over its nuclear arsenal, it has no actual opportunity to do so.

According to the political scientist, the base has become a bargaining chip in relations between Washington and Ankara.

“The discrepancies between Washington and Ankara are profound and the Incirlik base has become a bargaining chip in the conflict between Presidents Erdogan and Obama,” he sai

The expert explained that by such a move Recep Tayyip Erdogan is both ensuring his life and threatening the US. And his possible message is: if the Americans do not drop their idea to topple him militarily or otherwise, he will seize the nuclear arsenal.

And with the nuclear arsenal he would become an extremely serious figure, said Manoilo.
“It is not a bluff,” he told Sputnik.
“Erdogan could easily capture the NATO air base. He understands perfectly well that Washington has already convicted him. And if he doesn’t take some action, and Washington is not afraid of him and is not in need of him, sooner or later the Americans will repeat their coup attempt,” said the political analyst.

He is not lifting the blockade and this could only mean that Erdogan is trying to apply a policy of containment towards the US, Andrei Manoilo concluded.

Earlier this week the Brussels-based online paper reported citing its own sources, that the United States had started transferring its nuclear munitions in Turkey to the Derveselu air base in Romania.
The Romanian foreign ministry firmly denied the information that the country has become home to US nukes.
However the author of the article at insists that the information obtained from his own sources can be trusted, and promised to follow up on this subject.

“I’m sure that my sources are trustworthy, that’s why I wrote this article. I realize that the Romanian authorities are denying this. I knew they would as I contacted them before I published it. This is a secret matter, but I thought that my sources are reliable enough to justify the publication of this information,” the author Georgi Gotev said in an interview with online newspaper Romania Libera.

“This is a tectonic movement that is bigger than a mere transfer of weapons, even nuclear. There is an extremely dynamic geopolitical context here. The Moscow-Ankara-Tehran axis now in the making will radically change the regional situation,” he emphasized.

Also see:

No comments: