By Haider Abbas
The two nations which have been under the most severe US sanctions are Russia and Iran, which also arguably, has made them friends too. Iran has been openly supportive of Russia is the war against Ukraine, as a sign of reciprocation to Russian support to Iranian supported Basshar Al Asad regime in Syria. Asad could survive in the last one decade only due to Russian support. But, now the geo-strategy has changed, to the extent, that the whole Europe is getting ‘jitters’ as it is learnt that Russia is to send its fighter jets to Iran as a part of the new defense co-operation between the two. Iran had long been sending its kamikaze drones, which have been very cost-effective, to Russia against Ukraine. Thus, inviting more stringent US sanctions.
It has been reported by Reuters 1 on march 11, that ‘ Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine.”The Sukhoi-35 fighter planes are technically acceptable to Iran and Iran has finalised a contract for their purchase,” the broadcaster IRIB quoted Iran’s mission to the United Nations as saying in New York. The report did not carry any Russian confirmation of the deal. The mission said Iran had also inquired about buying military aircraft from several other, unnamed countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin had met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran last July, stressing closer ties in the face of Western pressure over the war in Ukraine.’ The move has started to ring alarm bells in Israel, which is the closest US ally in the Middle-East. It may however be mentioned that ‘Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but says they were sent before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Moscow denies that its forces use Iranian-built drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.’
This Sukhoi-35 stealth bomber from Russia is to further embolden Iran as the deal has now been sealed. It is now to significantly strengthen Iran’s air defense prowess, making it regain the status to be ‘at-par’ with its biggest rival-Israel. Iran’s resilience despite the five-decades of US sanctions, due to which it had only ageing Russian fighter jets and had struggled to even buy spare-parts, is now to be a thing of the past. Iran and Russia have forged ties in various sectors including military in the last year despite the Russia-Ukraine war. No wonder this has made Iran to be ‘Russia’s friend’ is what the graffiti tells across the Russian roads. An elaborate report published in The Guardian 2 in February last, reported as to how ‘Iran smuggled drones into Russia using boats and state airline. At least 18 long-range armed drones were delivered to Putin’s navy after Russians visit Tehran in November ( 2022).’ Iran denies it supplies drones to Russia.
Meanwhile, as the Russian-Ukraine war enters into its second-year, Russia has accused US and NATO, which has supplied billions and US dollars and heavy military equipments to Ukraine, to be waiting for a pretext to ‘get its claws into Russia’. Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov , according to TASS 3, the “[The West] was waiting for a pretext to get its claws into Russia. They were waiting for a chance to do this because they had begun to see Russia as too independent a player, which, if perhaps not building up as much economic power, was nevertheless among the leading world economies.’ This he said while Russia in ramming hell in the backdrop of non-stop provocations from the West. In the latest development Russian defence ministry has released a video in which its high-precision missile is shown to have destroyed British manufactured ‘Stormer HVM ’ air defense system provided to Ukraine. This British armed vehicle was detected by Russians in Donetsk’s battlefield which Russian had blown to the smithereens. Apart from this Russia also destroyed a SU-27 aircraft of Ukraine air-force in Donetsk too. Russian missile troops, also have in the last couples of days, neutralized 83 Ukrainian artillery units. While Ukraine military units have been smashed Luhansk too. There has been a fierce fighting in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Kherson, Bakhmut, Zaporizhia and Luhansk regions.
The geo-political analysts have no clear doubts that the un-proposed and secret visit of US President Joseph Biden to Ukraine, on February 20, on the eve of the first anniversary of the on-going war, where he stayed for five-hours with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky, has provoked Russia to the hilt. Biden’s presence into the war-zone under regular attack, was termed a ‘surprise’ by the world media, but definitely had a message that US was now to ‘more-openly’ stand by Ukraine, and thus, this war is now to continue.
There is now no doubt that Ukraine is being used as a proxy by US and NATO against Russia, and likewise, the world is now to stand on the verge of a Third-World-War as proxies are brimming for a war. China is using Pakistan as a proxy against India, while US is making Taiwan its proxy against China. US main proxy Israel is pitted against Iran and also towards claiming a super-power status in the whole of Middle-East. North Korea is being used as a proxy for China against South Korea. India also as a proxy for US against China etc. How the world scenario is to change depends on how the Russia-Ukraine war is to end?
The world therefore is sitting on a very dangerous situation and a small trigger might turn into a major blast. US has just released its Annual Threat Assessment Report, available for free on internet, which constituted 40 pages. US has referred in it to China and Russia for around a 100 times! Therefore, Russia and China are now to be on one-page for US. But, it is not clear, whether Taiwan would be the next battlefield or Iran-Israel, as Israel is now reportedly planning to use Azerbaijan airfield to target Iran’s nuclear facilities reported Iranintl 4! Although, denied by Azerbaijan ambassador to Israel Israel Mukhtar Mammadov, as per The Jerusalem Post 4. But, how the things would unfold is what only time would tell, but considering the fact, that Israel has been exporting weapons to Azerbaijan against Armenia, since almost a decade, the tide is likely to turn into Israel favour?
Meanwhile, there have also been reports that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Iran have started to melt-their-differences, and China has facilitated their-talks on November 11, , as China wants to enter Arab markets, but in case there is to be a war on Iran by US-Israel, where are the KSA leanings to belong to ? KSA has been ‘friends and partners’ with US for over seven decades and the same simile is for US and Israel too. There is no room for guesses. Iran will stand ‘by it all’ with Russia by its side for sure.
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international politics.