As the Russian Envoy to the U.N. declares the military operation in Aleppo over, the leaders of Iran have made similar boastful remarks about their own military victory in the ravaged Syrian city.
“Aleppo was liberated thanks to a coalition between Iran, Syria, Russia and Lebanon’s Hizbollah,” said Seyed Yahya Rahim-Safavi, Ayatollah Khamenei’s chief military aide. “Iran is on one side of this coalition which is approaching victory and this has shown our strength.”
What the military aide stated next may have stumped Washington and may even be construed as a provoking a direct challenge.
“The new American president should take heed of the powers of Iran.”
Iran has been assisting Syria on the ground quite heavily and has even recruited Afghan refugees to fight in Syria in return for promises to grant their families haven in Iran. However, anyone following the conflict closely knows Russia’s contribution to the war has probably been more decisive than Iran’s. Any president looking to confront Iran is most likely more mindful of its alliance with Russia than of Iran’s military might on its own.
That being said, the efficacy of Iran’s ground forces should not be understated. According to Michel Chussodovsky’s book, Towards a World War III Scenario,taking into account all manner of personnel, including reserve armies, Iran has a fighting force of close to 800,000 troops. These Iranian troops waltzed across the Iraqi border to occupy an oil-rich part of the country in 2009 and were met with no resistance from the U.S. troops already deployed there.
During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Iranian volunteer militias were able to repel Saddam Hussein’s forces to the extent that Iran eventually went on the offensive.
Despite America’s unmatched air and naval power, any U.S. president should bear in mind that a war with Iran will be a long and painful battle against a ground force that will continue to bolster itself in numbers, much like the aptly named Persian “Immortals” that preceded Iran’s modern day military force.