A significant development this week with respect to Iran — Russia has agreed to enter into a bilateral strategic pact with Iran. Thanks to M.K. Bhadrakumar for pointing this out in his Consortium News article, Decoding Iran’s Missile & Drone Strikes.
Iran has been a target of U.S. and Israeli intelligence operations for several decades. These efforts appear to have accelerated over the last ten years because of shared Israeli and U.S. fears that Iran was edging towards becoming a nuclear power. As I noted in my recent piece — What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander, Iran Plays the Terrorist Card — the U.S. has been quite public about its support for the MEK, which has carried out terrorist attacks inside Iran. There also are reports that Baluchis, the tribes that inhabit regions along the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, have carried out terrorist strikes in Iran as well. I also noted in my piece that the CIA has had contacts with the Baluchis going back to at least 1979 and that it is not wild speculation to believe that the CIA may have provided training and/or assistance to the Baluchi operatives that hit Iran.
As a result of these developments, Bhadrakumar notes that:
Tehran is cognisant of the urgent necessity to carve out strategic depth before the wolves close in. It has been pressing Moscow to expedite a bilateral strategic pact but Russians, unsurprisingly, took time over it.
One key agenda item during President Ebrahim Raisi’s “working visit” to Moscow on Dec. 7 to meet with President Vladimir Putin was finalising the pact.
On Monday, finally, the Russian Defence Ministry disclosed in a rare statement that Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu had called his Iranian counterpart Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani to convey that Moscow has agreed to sign the pact. The MoD statement stated:
“Both sides stressed their commitment to the fundamental principles of the Russian-Iranian relations, including unconditional respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which will be confirmed in the major intergovernmental treaty between Russia and Iran as this document is being finalised already.”
This is huge. It means that Israel and the United States will face the risk of going to war with Moscow if either openly launch a military attack on Iran. This puts a new arrow in Iran’s quiver. Iran already has an array of ballistic missiles — non-nuclear — that can strike Israel and many U.S. military bases in the region. In addition, Iran has been conducting joint military exercises with Russia and China for the last four years. Taken together, these are consequential factors that Western military planners cannot ignore.
Iran ain’t Yemen. It has a modern military — army, air force and navy — and a robust air defense system, power ballistic missiles, advanced drones and a sophisticated cyber attack capability. If Israel or the United States launches a conventional military attack on Iran, the Mullahs will answer in kind. At that point we are talking a major regional war with the potential to escalate to a global affair.
I hope that Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and CJCS General Charlie Brown understand this. If they do, they will resist strongly any push from the Biden White House to strike Iran. If they do not, then the United States will make a fatal mistake that will jeopardize the safety and security of the American people.