Iranian Lessons in Frugality
New Wars has been watching closely the ongoing developments off Yemen, with US, Saudi Arabian, and Iranian warships deploying to support one side or the other in the ongoing Civil War there. Before we get to our subject, here are a few details via Strategypage:
Saudi Arabian warships are maintaining a blockade on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, to prevent Iranian arms smugglers from getting weapons to the Shia rebels fighting in northern Yemen. On October 26th, Yemeni patrol boats in the Red Sea, seized an Iranian ship, carrying weapons, apparently meant for the Yemeni rebels. The Saudi Air Force is heavily patrolling, and bombing the Yemen border region, hitting rebels (and non-hostile smugglers) caught crossing the semi-desert frontier region. Yemen has had its differences with Saudi Arabia in the past, particularly over the largely unmarked, and disputed, border area. But on the subject of the rebellious Shia tribes of northern Yemen, both nations have quietly agreed to fight as allies to defeat a common threat…
It’s believed that Iran is supporting the rebels, mainly with cash. Since the Shia tribes are inland, away from the coast, it’s difficult for Iran to deliver anything else.
Note also we learned yesterday of the deployment of Iranian Ghadir class mini-subs to the region, which we consider tactically insignificant but certainly a distraction that can’t be ignored. Obviously the Iranian naval contingent is woefully outmatched by the Saudi Fleet alone, not to mention the mighty Aegis cruiser USS Chosin recently dispatched to the scene. This can only be seen as an ongoing act of defiance, a poke in the eye against the international community which Tehran seems to hold in contempt.
Without building mighty fleets, or possessing modern high tech forces, the Iranians still manage to weave a web of influence throughout the Middle East. Using the politics of bluff, propaganda, and fanaticism we mentioned earlier this week, she continues to distract the economic and military superpowers of the region, from Israel, the US, and now we see with the Saudis.
Her lessons in frugality should be duly noted. The high tech and grossly powerful military forces which the West will insist they must maintain to ensure National Security, has availed them little against such low tech tactics of the Revolutionaries. Maintaining the last century Military Industrial Complex, rather than securing the peace may be aiding the chaos, by distracting us from what is really important, poorly equipped insurgents who can bypass our superiority by blending into the crowds, or giving us a false sense of security that we are invincible.
By concentrating our military power in a few very capable, but increasingly hard to build or afford platforms, whether they are planes, tanks, or ships, we forget what is really important in warfare, which is people power. Iran has managed to tap into the fanatical devotion of its followers, turning this amazing energy toward its own designs. This is how in Centuries past, the comparatively backward and fewer European populations managed to conquer and settle a good deal of the Earth’s surface. The Iranians have managed to tap into this unlimited resource as well.