Middle East

If there is a war: This is how U.S. and allies stack up to Iran

Iran showcased its impressive military capabilities on Thursday by downing a sophisticated US drone.

It says it used its “3rd Khordad” system, which is supposed to replicate the S-300’s capabilities. Iran has also been highlighting other defense capabilities recently, including precision ballistic missiles, rockets, drones, submarines, limpet mines and cruise missiles.

Tehran’s defense technology is impressive. Most of its neighbors have not developed their own indigenous weapons systems, nor are they particularly innovative when it comes to using the technologies they do have, which are supplied by the US and Western powers.

This leads to the question, if war breaks out between the US and Iran, and their respective allies, how will Iran and its proxies stack up?

When we look at how Iran and its allies have waged war in the past, it is clear Iran doesn’t wage massive wars.

Iran has a regular army and navy, called Artesh. These armed forces are potentially quite large in a country of 80 million. It has 530,000 men under arms, but according to the Middle East Institute, they are poorly equipped.

Since Iran’s last land war was its 1980-1988 conflict with Iraq, it is “hard to provide an accurate assessment of their real fighting capabilities.” The war with Iraq saw Iran use human wave attacks on a battlefield that sometimes resembled more World War I than a war of maneuver and technology. Even though Saddam Hussein’s army fought the Iranians to a standstill, it was no match for the US military in the 1991 Gulf War and it was easily destroyed.

Iran doesn’t spend much on its army. Around $16 billion in 2017, compared to an Israeli defense budget of up to $19b. Saudi Arabia plows through $76b., and the Americans spend $600b.

This then tells us Iran’s conventional army is no match for the US in a real war. But Iran doesn’t fight large conventional wars. Its strategy is based on its alliance system involving the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its affiliates, allies and proxies, including Houthi rebels in Yemen, Iraqi paramilitaries, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post

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