The season of returning to the sea. Iranian planning to build a naval base in Yemen (analysis)
the revolutionaries of the Islamic world
Last November, Iran has disclosed one of its strategic objectives, it declared its intention to build naval bases in Syria and Yemen, accompanied this announcing a government media campaign considering that better than nuclear power, which could have been owned by the Republic, which is run by a group of sectarians and authoritarians men of religion who call themselves the revolutionaries of the Islamic world.
The establishment of a naval base in Yemen has great importance to Iran, because of the location of Yemen's coast on the strategic shipping line which passes the Strait of Bab al -Mandeb ..its location will give it the advantage of unrestricted access to the Red Sea, And build a base in Yemen will enable it to provide support to their rebels agents (Houthis), under the blockade imposed on them from the Arab coalition countries led by Saudi Arabia, especially after forced Iranian warships carrying of arms shipments to retreat back after being intercepted by US warships, the Australian and French, making Tehran to change the course of the weapons smuggling.
"Mosnad news" team discusses the dimensions of this Iranian ambitions according to three axs .First, why Iran wants a base in Yemen ?, Second, Is it really that Iran could build a naval base and what are its naval capabilities? Third, If Iran continues its ambition to build naval base How can be expected international reaction?
Iranian naval base in Yemen
Tehran does not stand alone, there are regional and international transformations, and between now and then announces to send warships to international waters in the Gulf of Aden, Where joint forces are located from most countries of the world to combat piracy and protect maritime interests. Observers believe that the presence of Iranian ships, regardless of their goals, is guaranteed by international law, and does not constitute any danger to the Republic of Yemen, and their presence does not mean a naval base military sense.
The recent clashes in Bab al-Mandab straits highlighted the great importance of the marine dimension in the Yemeni War, In addition to its role in the promotion of regional conflict. In October Houthis targeted by guided missiles (Iranian manufacturer) Emirati cargo ship and US military battleship (targeted three times), which - according to the House white- present in the region for the "implementation of routine operations." The attack prompted United States to participate in the retaliatory strikes "is limited to self-defense" against installations participating in the attack and destroyed Houthis' radars to the coastline along of Red Sea.
In November Mohammad Bagheri Iranian chief of staff spoke after a month of targeting Houthis to the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb, to reopen the Iranian ambitions within the system "imagination" to control the world of the sea ports and initially will be "Hormuz" and "Bab al-Mandab".
If Iran is able to achieve the goal of establishing a base in Syria, it will expand the influence of the Iranian navy on the Mediterranean and reinforces the Iranian military presence near the European shores, and will help in supplying its allies in Lebanon and Syria with weapons without crossing by land,also the deterioration of relations with Eritrea ,Sudan (the last Iranian ship stood in Sudanese port was the beginning of 2014) and the African countries may give Qaeda in Syria Iranian vital area compensated for loss of facilities in Africa.
Iran seems to be confident of building its presence along the shores of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, Iran planning to establish two bases to help it to expand the scope of its work regionally and internationally by increasing its presence along the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman coast, this policy announced by Admiral Habibollah Sayari, commander of Iranian naval forces in November: "We are building two offshore and three naval bases on the coast of Makran, This is in line with our policy to return to the sea" declaring provide the Iranian naval forces by local ground-to-ground missiles, unmanned planes in the sea, and radars objection.
Sayari also noted that this is not the first time of the existence of Iran's goals outside its territorial waters:"ours navies will rotate around Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean in the near future",he added that,"Indian Ocean has a high importance to Iran", and said that "the security of the Indian Ocean is very important for us and the world, so we are able to ensure security in the north of the Indian Ocean to prevent any lack of security there.."
The former US Foreign Minister "Henry Kissinger" has provided a clear note that the greatest challenge for the Middle East is "the potential to dominate the region by jihadist and imperialism of Iran."and he said that " Washington must be clear that we are opposed to increase the regional expansion of Iran, and what we are calling for Iran to act as a State, not like Crusades.
The regional conflict between Iran on one hand and Saudi Arabia on the other hand, Allowed Arab countries to control the Red Sea through the establishment of two bases, first base to Saudi Arabia in Djibouti and the second base to the UAE in Eritrea.
Iran's ability to build a naval base
To talk about Iran's ambitions to control the water from the Gulf to the ocean, we must talk about Iran, which the nuclear agreement did not remove all of sanctions against, it is able to afford this kind of naval bases.?!
Hussein Warren Iranian military expert retired, wrote an article commenting on the promise made by Bagheri building Iranian bases in Yemen and Syria. He said that his statements about those bases refers to confusion in the Iran's marine strategic, proved that similar statements for men at the beginning of the Year (2016) that Iran would build military bases in the Arctic. Is this really the Iranian naval strategy? What are the Iranian strategy already?
Needs permanent foreign military bases in the waters of other countries , pointing out that it differs from the assistance in the protection of the global sea piracy. Only a few of the top countries in the world such as the United States ,the United Kingdom, China, India and Russia, but is not clear about China, India and Russia have permanent military bases.
Iranian military expert says that his country's troops should be repaired dilapidated vessels and develop marine industries instead of talking about permanent bases outside the country which are very expensive, Iran has a fleet of rickety vessels from the reign of the Shah,and it has only four destroyers as well as the three ships, all built by Britain 45 years ago, in addition to Russian submarine may be exist in Iran or in the outside.
Warren describes the Iranian strategy " illusion" and said the economically and militarily thinking in the control of the Golden Triangle, " Malacca Straits, Bab al-Mandeb Strait,and the Strait of Hormuz" , it does not only include thinking about the military bases but reflected mainly on the marine industries of Iran which does not have any military capability to defend itself, rather than being in a permanent military base.
The international position of the Iranian statements
Aaao Guzanski researcher at the Hoover Institute at US Stanford University, see that the latest Iranian statements, at least in the short term, are mostly political attitudes, and kind of gunboat diplomacy aimed at the general public.The timing of the statement announcing the expansion through November, we find that Tehran wants to suggest that the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America will put the Iranians on the edge of the abyss.
The international community knows humility of Iranian naval force, therefore there will not be targeted by a firm international response, but mere ongoing Iranian statements and tactics to threaten the international community gives the impression that the nuclear agreement opens the appetite with the religious elite to expand and impose regional hegemony that stop instability in international waters. In fact, the reports refer to a number of serious incidents between the US Navy and the navy forces of the Iranian revolutionary guard in the Gulf, Which increased by 50% last year, after the signing of the joint work plan agreement (the nuclear deal.)
The United States in the era of President Barak Obama has distanced itself away from confrontation with Iran in almost all cases, The US Navy has chosen not to respond to the increasing provocations in the Persian Gulf, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Marine. As of September 2016, there were 31 friction with Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf, which rose from 23 in 2015, according to the US Navy, and it cost the US its credibility as a force opposed to Tehran.
Currently Iran would not consider building a naval base amid Yemeni waters at least as indicating its marine statements, but in case something like this with the consent and approval of Houthis happens, World War III will begin in the Strait of Bab al Mandeb, that will not end in the Strait of Hormuz or Tehran, but will expand to include most marine areas.