SPECIAL REPORT – In the wake of a slew of recent apparent Iranian commando and drone attacks on civilian shipping in the Arabian Gulf, experts warn of a growing Iranian ‘kamikaze drone’ program designed to help the terror-sponsoring state influence, disrupt, and control the maritime domain around its shores.
Iran is trying to export as much oil as possible while tightening its grip on vital shipping routes, say these experts. And analysts from the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) are warning that the new exploding drone tactics are a “core element” of Tehran’s efforts to influence the region.
And Britain could be as much of a target as Israel or the United States.
MetroUK reported that:
CEP analyst Daniel Roth said: “The Iranian threat to shipping in the Gulf is substantial and borne out by numerous examples of Iranian attacks, hijackings, detentions and increasingly, drone strikes.
“Iran considers the Gulf its private lake, which it deigns to share with its littoral Arab neighbors but volubly resents foreign powers exercising their right to freedom of navigation in international waters.”
Roth added: “With its ancient Persian history and self-perception as a great power, the fact that its American enemy has a naval base in Bahrain and regularly deploys the Fifth Fleet around the Gulf is a slap in the face to Tehran. Since Iran lacks global deployment capabilities, it does what it can to project and assert its power in its own backyard.”
“Maintaining dominance over the Gulf’s waterways also serves Iran’s ongoing strategic interests in expanding and cementing its influence over the region,” said Roth.
Roth, the Washington-based CEP’s research director, also told Metro.co.uk that the recent maritime incursions are part of a wider program of a new drone army that the regime is developing, explaining that:
“Iran has an army of drones at its disposal, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) operated by remotely stationed personnel and designed to explode upon impact.
“Iran’s military drone program is a core element of Iran’s expanding footprint around the region, used by both Tehran and its terrorist proxies.”
“Over the past few years, Iran has used drones to harass US air carriers, threaten freedom of navigation in international waters, leverage military gains in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts, and violate Israeli and Saudi airspace.”
CEP researchers have identified Iran as the manufacturer of drones used by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia, where the terror group has attacked oil fields and civilian sites.
Iran’s drone warfare capabilities have evidently expanded considerably since 2014. “Iran’s drone program is an increasing[ly] destabilizing threat used for not merely deterrence but for active confrontation,” Roth said.
Roth also warned that the UK will continue to be targeted by Tehran due to its standing as “little Satan” among the regime’s elites, adding:
Britain is regarded in regime circles as the ‘little Satan’ to America’s ‘big Satan,’ an untrustworthy stooge of Western imperialism. Despite the UK’s ongoing support of the Iran Nuclear Deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran maintains a frosty contempt for Britain in all other areas.
“Tehran is currently engaged in several diplomatic rows with London, most notably over British citizens who are jailed over what the UK government claims are dubious and fake charges.” ADN