Military experts believe that the Iranian army and Revolutionary Guard have no ability to contain any military attacks from aircraft, missiles or advanced weapons possessed by many countries in the region and the world because of their weak air defense, despite all the claims of the military leaders and Iranian media.
It is true that the Iranian forces possess thousands of missiles in various religious, sectarian and revolutionary names. It can even be said that it possesses the largest number of missile arsenals in the Middle East. However, the classification of these missiles comes at the bottom of the list for the missile capability in the world due to their short ranges, weak launchers, low speed and their lack of guidance in hitting targets, in addition to the ease of tracking and dropping them by using the simplest types of weapons and air defense.
In fact, these missiles do not give Iran any military power or special advantage in the event of fighting any regular war with any country in the region with its trained troops at the highest levels and sophisticated weapons, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and others. However, the danger of these missiles lies in Tehran’s efforts to access a nuclear weapon that would increase the threats of these missiles by providing them with nuclear warheads if Tehran can obtain nuclear weapons in any way. This is in addition to the concern of the international community that such missiles might find their way to terrorist groups that work under Iran’s orders which are used in a guerrilla war and indiscriminately against the peoples of the region as part of Iran’s terrorist plan to ignite wars in the region to weaken the Arab countries.
In addition, Iran’s air defense systems of all kinds, such as radar systems, missile systems, detection systems, control and guidance systems are outdated and technologically retarded, and by comparing them with the levels and capabilities of offensive weapons in the world that are owned by several countries in the region, these Iranian systems will be completely incapable of dealing with any military attack.
Iran has many missile defense systems, but all are unable to track targets at all different altitudes because of the world’s weapons industry developments, including advanced fighter aircraft and intercontinental missiles, which Iran was unable to keep up because of its isolation and international sanctions imposed on it for decades because of its nuclear program, its interventions in the region and its support for terrorism and violations of human rights and international treaties and conventions.
Morally, Iran has lost all strategic initiatives since the inception of the current regime and its war with Iraq, and the change in the Iranian military doctrine into resorting to proxy wars for the aim of implementing its expansion project, because the regime becomes certain of its collapse in the event of entering into any comprehensive war with a state that has developed military forces and regional and global alliances.
Apart from the Iranian statements and threats that come under its revolutionary propaganda, the regime knows very well that its armed forces, both the army and the Revolutionary Guard, and its internal front are shaky and weak and do not have sophisticated weapons that are capable to achieve any victory in the event of direct war and will not be able to bear the losses of any military adventure that might happen because of the madness of some regime’s symbols or the arrogance and recklessness of some Revolutionary Guard’s commanders.
Moreover, if Iran went into a war, it will be isolated and will have no support at all! Neither Moscow nor Beijing will be willing to engage in a war that might be on the other side the United States or the European countries as this would mean the start of a third world war. Hence, Russia and China will distance themselves and the only thing they can do is to issue desperate statements.
Many Iranian reports have revealed recently that young people are refusing to join the armed forces and the Revolutionary Guard. These reports indicate that there is a strong desire among young people to pay millions to avoid compulsory military service, despite their extreme poverty. There are also many reports of increased suicides inside the army and the Revolutionary Guard, in addition to the many cases of military disobedience as a result of the soldiers’ refusal to military orders who do not hide the presence of racism and corruption inside the military and security institutions.
Iran’s total military personnel is 523,000 and 350,000 reservists. They are divided into the army with 350,000, the Revolutionary Guard with 125,000, the Air Force with 18,000, and the 30,000 of the Air Force. Despite the differences in these numbers between the army and the Revolutionary Guard, the Revolutionary Guard budget is much more than the army’s budget and even the entire army has become under the control of the Revolutionary Guard which has created great anger among the leaders of the army led to huge differences that the regime is trying to hide. The Revolutionary Guard consists of about 100,000 ground troops and 20,000 naval personnel, including 5,000 Marines. It is responsible for the entire ballistic missile program as well as its command of the Iranian Basij and non-Iranian Shiite militias, as well as the so-called the Quds Force, which has an unknown personnel number because of the secrecy of its work and activities outside the Iranian border, but it is estimated to be around 15 to 20 thousand and led by Major General Qasem Soleimani.
Therefore, the manpower of the Iranian forces is weak, and what is weaker is the loyalty to the leadership and the regime. Although the Revolutionary Guard’s budget is very large and much larger than the government’s one, it is directed at Iranian foreign programs and projects. The Revolutionary Guard has failed in manufacturing and developing weapons because of Iran’s isolation and the sanctions imposed on it, which means that it succeeded only in reproducing and copying the dilapidated conventional weapons, which have now become worthless and ineffective. The Iranian army and Revolutionary Guard have about 1,500 major combat tanks, including about 500 T-72 tanks, 150 M-60A-1 tanks, about 500 T-54 tanks, 55 Chinese tanks and the rest are T-62 tanks and local developments such as Zulfiqar. These tanks are worthless compared to the sophisticated weapons possessed by regional and global countries. There are about 7,000 artillery pieces of all kinds, including about 300 self-propelled guns, about 1,500 rocket launchers of various caliber, about 3000 mortars and the rest are field artilleries of various caliber. From a military perspective, these tanks and artillery are very easy to eliminate in record time if Iran decided to go to war with a country that owns modern combat aircrafts and sophisticated weapons.
Moreover, Iran is one of the weakest countries in the region in terms of military airpower. It possesses about 334 combat aircraft, all of which have become old-fashioned and outdated because of the ease in destroying them, including: MiG-29, Sukhoi-22, Sukhoi-24, Sukhoi-25, F-5, F-7 and others that can be dropped and destroyed easily because of the global developments that Iran has missed in the last four decades.
The Iranian leaders know these facts very well and they are aware that going into any military confrontation with any organized army in the region would mean the end of the Iranian regime, so they resort to igniting wars away from Iran by supporting terrorist groups and directing them to target the countries of the region. These revolutionary statements and fiery threats of the Iranian regime’s leaders are nothing but a propaganda for domestic consumption and to reassure the Iranian fifth column in the region.
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
February 17, 2019