UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The most important historical milestone was not a serious recent attack on the Saudi oil sector, but a quiet Ashur ceremony. It was held in Tehran on September 11, 2019. It was led by Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, to the left of whom was Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Iraqi Shiites, and then lieutenant general and commander of the special forces al-Quds Kassir Suleimani and commander of the Corps Guards of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami.
It was Suleimani who invited Sadr and arranged his visit, convincing Khamenei to do him such an honor. At the meeting, Khamenei led lively discussions with these three leaders, giving them much more attention than all the dignitaries present. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was not present at the ceremony.
Kayhan, a submission to Khamenei, emphasized the importance of Sadr’s presence and called the event “the return of the prodigal son.” The true meaning of Sadr’s presence is to reflect the new relationship between Tehran and Karbala: “Both neighbors share the same views on peace, security, stability and independence of the entire region, which should be cleared of terrorism … And Sadr, whom the Western and Arab media presented as a prodigal son, ready to sacrifice Iraq’s independence for favors from the sheikhs of the Persian Gulf and its former enemy, the United States, confused all the cards, visiting Iran at the right time and taking the opportunity of the Ashura ceremony to announce of its unity with the resistance front.”
As a result of a visit to Tehran and an audience with Khamenei, “Resistance Forces” consider Sadr one of the pillars of the regional movement against American imperialism, Zionism and Arab reactionaries along with Hezbollah’s general secretary Sayed Hassan Nasrallah and leader of the Ansar Allah Yemeni movement Abdel Malek al- Husi. No wonder Trump, Netanyahu and the Saudis are beginning to realize that their dreams of dominance in the region are turning to dust.”
Coverage of the meeting at the Ashur ceremony in the Iranian media focused on the emphasis Khamenei placed on the “Axis of Resistance”, in particular on a surge of attention to the Mediterranean Sea, strengthening land access to the Mediterranean Sea and tight control over strategically important delivery points in the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al Mandeb. Khamenei emphasized the great importance and central role of the Resistance Axis in the regional strategy of Iran and its proxies.
The ceremony of September 11, 2019 was a formal turning point, but key principles were first introduced on September 9, 2019 by Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.
“Today we are in the middle of a big battle, and our camp is besieged by the United States and Israel. The head of this camp is Imam Ali Khamenei, and the center of the camp is the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is our camp, and this is our imam. There is no place for neutrality in this battle,” – noted Nasrallah.
Nasrallah repeated the Iranian doctrine of a single Iranian-oriented confrontation in the region: “Any war with Iran will set fire to the region and destroy entire countries and a huge number of people. It will be a war against the entire axis of resistance … This war will end Israel and American hegemony in the region.”
On September 12, 2019, the commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, told the commander that Iran was always ready for a “full-fledged” war with the US and its allies: “In addition to US bases in various regions, such like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, the Emirates and Qatar, we attacked all warships at a distance of up to 2 thousand kilometers, and we constantly monitor them.They think that they leave the range of our range if they go 400 km away. Wherever they are no matter what, we need nothing at all to hit their ships, their air base and troops. ” A new strategic position has already emerged, under which “America must leave this region. Iran today is not the same Iran that was 30 years ago. Iran is powerful. Today we are strong,
Hajizadeh added that Iran’s allies are an integral part of a single system:
“If they are attacked in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen by enemies supported by America and European countries, we should support them as much as possible. We will help Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen as much as possible ” According to him, US sanctions will not change Iran’s determination.
On September 14, 2019, a video from Suleymani was posted to the IRGC on Twitter, in which he emphasized the growth of the Resistance Front, led by Iran, the regional Shiite alliance.
The September 14, 2019 attack on two large oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia had a huge impact on the regional and global oil systems. As a result of this attack, production of Saudi Arabia will decline by 5.7 million barrels per day, more than 50% of Saudi Arabian exports in the coming months. Moreover, this attack created a new long-term market dependence on Iranian and Shiite-Iraqi oil: the only 2 sources of oil in the Greater Middle East that were not threatened by the Hussites and their allies. Also, this attack was a clear evidence of the vulnerability of US allies in the Persian Gulf to Iran’s attacks.
According to Iranian and Huti sources, 12 drones were launched from the Sana’a region in Yemen, 20 drones that were released “from nearby areas” – most likely the islands controlled by Iran – provided protection, reconnaissance, jamming and sabotage (including attacks on secondary targets ) According to Iranian and Huti sources, 10 of the drones launched hit their targets.
On September 19, 2019, General Huti Yahya Sari provided a detailed description of the “three-place” attacks. Qasef 3 drones were launched from one place, Sammad 3 drones from the second, and new jet drones from the third … In addition, numerous “other drones were used, confusing the enemy so that the main combat drones could operate in their shadow, and devices jamming signals effectively turned off enemy air defense systems.”
Consequently, strike drones “could hit targets” without being detected and unimpeded bypassing the air defense of Saudi Arabia.
According to Saudi sources, most or even all drones took off from Iranian bases in Khuzestan and flew over southern Iraq and Kuwait. However, according to satellite imagery, most of the key targets were hit from their western side. The Saudis claimed that the Iranians launched at least “18 drones and 7 cruise missiles,” as well as “several smaller drones.” In Abkaik and Khurais, they identified a total of at least 17 points of impact.
However, so far there is no concrete evidence that the main attack drones and cruise missiles were launched from Iran. It is likely that they were actually launched from Yemen, according to Iran and the Hussites.
The air defense system of Saudi Arabia, using the best American and Western systems, was completely unprepared for these attacks. And this is despite the fact that it was modernized after drone strikes on the East-West pipeline on May 4, 2019 near the central city of al-Duvadimi.
Although the Iranian media attributed these and earlier attacks on Saudi Arabia to the Ansar Allah forces, Tehran has never denied Iran’s complete control over Ansar Allah and other mediating forces.
On September 15, 2019, official Tehran reacted to the consequences of the attack on Abkaik and Khurais, in particular, on the US proposals for a possible retaliatory strike on Iran. Tehran reiterated its determination to take revenge if the United States hit Iran after the defeat of the US drone Northrop-Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk in June 2019. In response to the riots, Tehran threatened to strike at three major US bases in the region. Consequently, according to Iranian generals, Washington decided not to strike back, fearing an increase in the conflict.
Iranian generals also recalled that in early July 2019, Iran formally approved a deep attack strategy and expanded its arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles. On July 9, 2019, the IRGC commander, Major General Hossein Salami spoke at a meeting of the IRGC ground commanders and officers. He reiterated that Iran “is strong enough today to defeat enemies in any war on earth against the Islamic Republic.”
The commander of the ground forces of the IRGC, General Mohammad Pakpur, who developed the “new attack strategies on the enemy,” called them the “doctrine of deep attack.” According to Pakpur, the new doctrine focuses on missiles and shells: “The drone and missile power of the ground forces of the IRGC have significantly strengthened compared to the past, this will strengthen our power in battles.” This arms buildup has changed the regional position of both Iran and its enemies.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has become an authoritative regional power, for the United States it is unbearable,” Pakpur concluded.
Iranian generals and senior politicians of the country note that the United States will not dare to start a war with Iran. September 15, 2019 Mokhtabar Kannur, the influential chairman of the parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy, said that US President Donald Trump had reconsidered his decision to respond to the American spy drone shot down by Iran in June … The Americans calculated that a military response to the downed American drone would lead to 15 thousand victims, a war of attrition will begin, so Trump was forced to avoid any military action against Iran, Kannur explained.
Speaking at a meeting with senior commanders on September 15, 2019, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said: “The day that the drone was shot down, the US president was almost ready to attack Iran. And the biggest lie was that they didn’t do this to prevent the deaths of 100. In fact, this decision was the result of an evaluation of the intelligence of the US Army, and after they informed the US President about the results of the attack and about Iran’s missile response in the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait, as well as in the regional states, which placed the Iranian weapons. ” Bagheri said Trump’s advisers should know: if they use force after striking Saudi Arabia, Iran’s reaction will be even tougher.
Tehran also took official diplomatic steps to dissuade the United States from striking Iran, denying involvement in the attack on Saudi Arabia. Any “retaliatory strike” by the US against Iran will “meet an immediate answer.”
Beginning September 18, 2019, Iranian senior officials began to warn the United States even more harshly of retaliation. The secretary of the Supreme Council of National Security of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, rejected all allegations of Iran’s involvement in the attacks on Saudi oil installations and warned of a “crushing and powerful response” to any retaliatory aggression.
On September 19, 2019, Major General Salami raised his bid: “We are not afraid of our enemies – large and small, and the enemy understands this very well.” The Deputy Coordinator of the Armed Forces of Iran, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, noted that the United States could not directly confront Iran, so they resorted to secret actions and conspiracies that failed.
In practice, Iran focuses on a strategic regional priority: strengthening land access to the Mediterranean Sea through Iraq and Syria is the main goal of the Resistance Front. To this end, on September 16, 2019, Suleymani and a group of his assistants arrived in Baghdad. He first met with Iran’s closest ally, former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, discussing the strengthening of Iranian rule over Shiite Iraq in the event of a crisis. Then Suleymani met with key senior commanders Hashd al-Shaabi Hadi al-Amiri, Falah al-Fayyad and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. They discussed the readiness of Iraqi forces to fulfill the assigned tasks in Suleimani’s military plans: to attack and destroy American forces in Iraq and Syria (mainly in the Al-Tanf area).
Iraqi commanders assured Suleimani that Hashd al-Shaabi is capable of fulfilling his mission, despite repeated Israeli bombing of their key facilities in Western Iraq and Eastern Syria. Indeed, despite ongoing Israeli bombardments, ground access to the Mediterranean has been strengthened, and new facilities have been built. Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus have already committed themselves to build railways and pipelines from Iran to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the near future. The best thing Israel could do in these circumstances was to slow down and raise the price of growth. The US has stopped trying to prevent Iran from growing.
Therefore, Tehran pays more attention to attacks on Israel in the event of a major regional conflict. On September 7, 2019, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi clarified the central role of confronting Israel in the event of a war with the United States: “Everyone will witness the death of the Zionist regime. This day is just around the corner. The resistance front will overthrow America and the imperialist regime.”
Mousavi reiterated Iran’s intention to aggravate the conflict, regardless of the intentions of their opponents. Consequently, Iranian senior officials and commanders are warning Israel of Iran’s capabilities and resolve, even when the attention of the whole world is turned to Saudi Arabia.
It is noteworthy that Iranian and Arab senior officials perceive the proposed US-Israeli defense agreement as an indicator of US weakness. Instead of joining Israel in an attack on Iran, Trump promised Israel protection in the event of an Iranian attack. Tehran has become convinced that the United States is not interested in attacking Iran, so Tehran continues to focus on the further offensive growth of the Quds forces and their resistance axis proxies, rather than on a possible US retaliatory strike.
The Arab world is boiling, abandoning the United States and its guarantees. By September 2019, Arab leaders were desperate to enter into agreements with Iran, which would reduce the threat to their survival. In addition, Arab leaders sought strategic umbrellas from China and Russia, especially since Iran recently concluded long-term strategic agreements with the PRC.
Iran has returned to the threat of a major regional war with Israel and the United States if they try to hinder the growth of Iran and the “Axis of Resistance.” Given that the Iranians will only accept the Persian chauvinist government instead of controlling the mullahs, the ghost of a “regime change” serving the interests of the West is no longer there. Iran triumphs for power in the region.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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