The American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Critical Threats Project on Friday conveyed remarks from an Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander declaring that the Syrian conflict is an extension of Iran’s war with the America.
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Malayer Unit Commander Col. Mohammad Eskandari said “IRGC commanders have prepared and equipped 42 divisions and 138 battalions in [Syria], and are fully prepared to fight the enemy…Today’s war in Syria is really our war with America.”
Eskandari’s statement is the latest in what has become a series of open boasts by top Iranian military officials declaring that Tehran is using Syria and Lebanon as front lines for proxy battles with the West. Last week Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told The Guardian that “[w]e have won in Syria… [t]he regime will stay. The Americans have lost it.” Two weeks ago Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had described southern Lebanon as Iran’s “foremost line of defense,” declaring that “our strategic depth has now stretched to the Mediterranean coasts and just to the north of Israel.” Recent reports have had Iran bribing Afghan refugees to fight on behalf of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, supplying chemical weapons to Damascus, and allegedly even providing its Syrian proxies with drones.
The Iranians’ public military assessments have the potential to reverberate both militarily and politically. Militarily, it is unclear to what degree top Iranian figures have been emboldened by perceived and actual successes in Lebanon. Top IRGC figures have taken to regularly threatening to launch attacks against American naval assets, and a miscalculation that spirals into a conflict is not impossible. Earlier this month, IRGC Navy Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi described targeted Iranian preparations to sink US aircraft carriers.
“Today the Americans and the entire world know that one of our operational goals is destroying US Navy Forces.” “Aircraft carriers provide US airpower in combat; therefore it is natural that we want to sink them.” “Americans are unaware of many matters. Their research centers analyzed the mock aircraft carrier in a common way. We have been building and sinking mock US destroyers, frigates, and cruisers for years. We sank their models within 50 seconds even with various operational [counter] measures.” “We will execute this regarding the mock aircraft carrier as well because destroying, annihilating, and sinking US boats has and will be in our plans.” Fadavi claimed that IRGC speed boats can travel at a top speed of 40 knots, while US vessels are stuck at 31 knots. He added that Iran planned to increase its boats’ speed to 80 knots, which he said was three times the speed of US destroyers.
Politically, the Obama administration has leaned heavily on the notion that U.S. lawmakers must avoid signaling that new pressure may be imposed on Iran, lest it spoil a ‘spirit of Geneva,’ the phrase being a reference to where the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) – under which current negotiations are being conducted – was hammered out. Explicit Iranian threats of mass casualty attacks on U.S. armed forces may be taken as in tension with those claims.
[Photo: PressTV News Videos / YouTube]