The U.S. Claims Iran is Sending Drones to Russia
On Monday, July 11, 2022, The White House’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, stated that Iran is planning to send unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia.
Sullivan made this announcement during a press briefing regarding President Joe Biden’s then-upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“...our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline,” stated Sullivan.
The White House released satellite imagery before the start of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, revealing that Russian officials have twice visited Iran on June 8 and July 5 for a showcase of weapons-capable drones.
Instead of an onboard pilot, UAVs are equipped with supporting equipment to augment their functionality, such as cameras and sensing equipment. Electrical cables are used, making UAVs lighter and easier to operate, as extra weight can decrease speed and maneuverability. Stealth and aerodynamics are greater due to the removal of the canopy, resulting in increased speed and range.
Iran’s decision to supply Russia with this technology and training is not only a threat to Ukraine but a national security threat.
This allyship is a strategic military and economic tactic to help solidify a relationship with Russia. If the UAVs are successful in Putin’s plan to capture Kyiv, this could solidify Russia’s reliance on Iran’s technology in the long-term.
While the invasion has been undoubtedly devastating so far, Russia has failed to take Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
With advanced technology from Iran having the ability to strengthen Russian forces, President Vladimir Putin and Russian defense minister Sergei K. Shoigu could seize the capital.
Further implications with Russia obtaining these materials involve Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
Russia’s success in capturing Kyiv would result in infiltrating the Ukrainian government and destroying its semi-presidential representative democratic republic.
While the potential for greater technology makes Russia’s invasion even more detrimental, reaching out to Iran for help shows an area of weakness.
Russian casualties are estimated at around 15,000, said CIA director William Burns during the Aspen Security Forum
Putin’s soldiers are dying faster than he can afford. This is resulting in a decreased confidence in securing Kyiv.
With a high number of casualties and Kyiv still standing, a change in direction from Putin is to be anticipated. But according to Burns, Putin’s strategy is to wear them out until the West eventually gives up.
“Putin’s view of Americans is we always suffer from attention deficit disorder and get distracted by something else,” Burns said
As of July 11 and 15, missile attacks have continued on Kharkiv and Vinnytsia on account of Shiogu’s demand to step up attacks.
3 civilians were killed in Kharkiv and 25 in Vinnytsia. There were no military forces on the ground in Vinnytsia, leaving Ukrainians fearful of their homes continuing to be the next target.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Interior Minister, Denys Monastyrsky, classify this attack as a “war crime” and a tactic to break Ukraine’s hope.
“Can you think of any other terrorist organization that would allow itself such audacity? To kill just at the moment when its previous crimes are the subject of international discussion,” said Zelensky.
Since the February 24 invasion started, over 17,000 Russian attacks have taken place. Over 5,000 Ukrainian civilians have died.
A collective effort from the West is needed to keep Ukrainian civilians from further casualties.
In order to slow down weapon manufacturing, the US is denying Russia western-made components.
To increase allyship in the Middle East, Joe Biden has met with many government officials to discuss counterterrorism efforts.
After visiting officials in Israel, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, the United States has published an integrated Air Defense Cooperation plan similar to the one of NATO that aims to counter UAVs that pose a threat to the region.
“We’re also pursuing diplomacy to return constraints on Iran’s nuclear program…But no matter what, the United States is committed to ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon,” said Biden.
Continuing his trip through the Middle East, President Biden flew from Israel directly to Saudi Arabia for the GCC summit to speak with leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which border Iran.
The topic of discussion not only included counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East but also ensuring that Iran is unsuccessful in obtaining high-tech weapons. To achieve this, Biden is making great efforts to speak with Middle East government officials about supporting alliances.
Biden’s main goal was to heal past relationships with Saudi Arabia. To reinforce his agenda, he firmly pressed the idea that diplomacy is vital to stopping Iran’s nuclear threat during his meeting with government officials.
Biden is expressing a heavy commitment to the Middle East to repair damages done by former President Donald Trump.
Some of these damages include: reducing the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, avoiding confrontation with Iran in 2019, and a failed peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians. All of which decreased the Middle East’s trust in the U.S.
Now, under Biden, the United States is more committed than ever to promoting peace and allyship in the Middle East.
According to a statement released from the White House, “…the United States is committed to advancing a more integrated and regionally-networked air and missile defense architecture and countering the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and missiles to non-state actors that threaten the peace and security of the region.”