Iran's Growing Influence and Russia's Role in the Middle East: Implications for US

In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the United States gained advantages and bolstered its European influence. However, it also faces worries, particularly regarding Iran. Iran has proven its ability to counterattack and take the initiative, dissuading the United States from engaging in a direct military confrontation.

During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Iran’s suicide drones gained prominence for their precise attacks, large numbers, and rapid production. These drones became significant weapons in the conflict, drawing attention. This development is particularly concerning for the United States due to its scattered military bases around Iran.

Moreover, US allies like Saudi Arabia have sought to improve relations with Iran in light of its increased strike capabilities. These wealthy countries in the Persian Gulf realize that Iran’s current strike capability if it fuels regional conflicts, could harm their interests.

Iran’s recent advancements have compelled the United States to reassess its stance. The country’s growing influence and military capabilities necessitate close monitoring of its regional activities.

Iran's Growing Influence and Russia's Role in the Middle East: Implications for US

During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russia had limited external weapon acquisitions. However, Iranian suicide drones emerged as a prominent and renowned weapon, known for their precise attacks, large numbers, and fast production speeds. These drones gained significant attention in the conflict, capturing high levels of interest.

This situation poses considerable apprehension for the United States, primarily due to the strategic positioning of its military bases surrounding Iran. Additionally, US allies such as Saudi Arabia have sought to improve their relations with Iran, considering Iran’s growing strike capabilities. The underlying reason is straightforward: if Iran’s current strike capability were to incite regional conflicts, the interests of these wealthy countries in the Persian Gulf would be severely compromised.

In recent years, Iran has made three notable advancements that have compelled the United States to re-evaluate its perspective on Iran. These developments have prompted a reassessment of Iran’s role and actions by the United States.

The United States targeted killing of Iranian military officer Soleimani had significant repercussions, demonstrating Iran’s long-range and precision strike capabilities. In retaliation, Iran launched ballistic missiles at a US military base in Iraq. This event showcased Iran’s ability to strike with precision. It highlighted the potential targeting of US air force bases in the Middle East in any future conflict, serving as a deterrent to the United States.

Additionally, Iran’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict showcased the effectiveness of its suicide drones. Iran supplied drones to Russia, highlighting their long-range precision strike capabilities and their ability to be produced in significant numbers on stable production lines. If these suicide drones gain the ability to target moving objects, it poses a potential threat to US ships in or near the Persian Gulf, introducing significant risks.

Furthermore, Iran’s close relationship with Russia during the Russia-Ukraine conflict resulted in Russia agreeing to sell Iran advanced Su-35S fighter jets. With the ready availability of these fighter jets, Iran’s influence in the Middle East would increase, and its air force would significantly bolster with more than 20 Su-35S aircraft. This development could potentially reshape the balance of power in the region.

Iran's Growing Influence and Russia's Role in the Middle East: Implications for US

Iran has established a presence in Syria and Iraq while growing closer to Russia, which could lead to increased military and geostrategic cooperation. This alliance between Iran and Russia has the potential to affect US control in the Middle East, although they may not directly rival the United States in size or power. The consequences for regional countries with diverse interests are uncertain.

The future of the Middle East will inevitably be influenced by Russia, especially if the United States seeks to suppress Russia in Europe. In response, Russian President Putin may disrupt US efforts in the Middle East, adding to the complexities of the region.

Russia’s influence in the Middle East is anchored in Syria, where it has a naval base at the Port of Tartus, and through its support for Iran as a key weapons-exporting partner. Russia aims to avoid fighting alone in the Middle East by supporting Iran. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has made Russia realize that the United States will not show goodwill, leading Russia to deploy heavy weapons in the Middle East to counter US influence.

Iran’s alliance with Russia and its presence in Syria and Iraq could impact US control in the Middle East. However, the full extent of this impact remains uncertain, particularly for regional countries with differing interests. Russia’s influence in the Middle East depends on its relationships with Iran and its military presence in Syria. As Russia seeks to counter US influence, bringing heavy weapons to the region becomes an important strategy.

Iran's Growing Influence and Russia's Role in the Middle East: Implications for US

While Russia has supplied Iran with Su-35 fighter jets, the deployment of S-400 missiles in Iran is yet to occur. However, it appears to be only a matter of time before Iran acquires the S-400 system. Once equipped with both the Su-35 and the S-400, Iran will possess offensive and defensive capabilities, granting it increased confidence against the United States and Israel.

Furthermore, Iran has expressed interest in acquiring the foreign trade version of Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter, a model highly sought after by Iran. Russia may provide this advanced aircraft to Iran in the future, similar to how the United States sells its fifth-generation fighters to European Union countries to counter Russia. With Russia facing sanctions from Europe and the United States, supporting Iran becomes an important strategic choice for Russia.

Iran's Growing Influence and Russia's Role in the Middle East: Implications for US

¬†Russia’s Objectives in the Middle East and Impact on US Influence

Russia aims to improve relations between Iran and its neighboring Middle Eastern countries to counterbalance American dominance in the region. By resolving the Iranian issue, Russia seeks to diminish the influence of the United States in the Middle East and challenge the status of the US dollar. Historically, fear of Iran’s armed forces has allowed the United States to exert significant control in the Middle East. However, improved relations between Iran and its neighbors will reduce the demand for US involvement, weakening American influence and potentially shaking the dominance of the US dollar.

Additionally, Russia’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict serves the purpose of de-dollarization. While Russia’s direct impact on the dollar is limited, its actions can influence market attitudes towards the currency. The European Union, in particular, seeks to prevent the continuous strengthening of the dollar. Observing Russia’s actions, the EU recognizes that if the current trend continues, the dollar will maintain its dominance, possibly leading to the EU purchasing energy from the United States.

Furthermore, Russia can exploit the image of Europe and the United States to sanction “energy powers” and convey a sense of danger to OPEC countries. By demonstrating that Europe and the United States can impose sanctions on Russia today and potentially employ the same measures against Saudi Arabia tomorrow, Russia aims to win over Saudi Arabia as a balancing force. Given the strained relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and uncertainties surrounding future Saudi leadership, the current environment presents a suitable time for Russia to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia.

If Middle Eastern countries unite to reduce US dominance, it presents a significant opportunity for Iran. Improved relations and lasting peace in the region would make it difficult for the US to suppress Iran through sanctions alone. With Russia’s support, the US would face challenges in attempting to militarily crush Iran, as seen in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. The US may win, but it would be costly, resulting in unfavorable outcomes. A costly victory would discourage the US from engaging in further conflicts.