Explaining with Maps: Why Does Russia Need Air Base in Iran?

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Yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that Moscow deployed Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 bombers to the Hamedan Air Base in Iran. This move marked a new step in the Russian-Iranian military cooperation over the Syrian war and conducted significant jitters among states of the US-led anti-Assad alliance.

Many experts already noted that deployment of Russian warplanes in Iran will allow Moscow to reduce the flying time to targets in Syria. Кussian bombers are now capable of carrying three times greater payload and airstrikes can be delivered faster and more cheaply. This also allows Moscow to increase the overal air support to the Syrian government forces on the ground.

However, the deplyoment has one more strategic implication on the situation in Syria barely covered by the MSM.

In 2015 and early 2016, the Russian Aerospace Forces deployed in Syria has a lack of capacity to support the Syrian government’s operations in eastern and southeastern Syria (an old SF map below). Location of the Russian Air Base in Latakia just does not allow the Russians to provide timely and intense air support in these areas.

Explaining with Maps: Why Does Russia Need Air Base in Iran?

Click to see the full-size map

This was especially clearly seen during the Syrian government’s failed advance on the ISIS-controlled Tabaqa Air Base in the provicne of Raqqa. Tactical and strategic mistakes on the ground along with a lack of timely air support led to the inability to develop the initial success against ISIS and pro-government forces were forced to retreat from the province.

Now, with Tu-22M3 and Su-34 bombers deployed in Hamadan, Moscow is able to achieve tactical and strategic goals in the provinces of Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and along the whole Syrian-Iraqi border (a new SF map below). On August 17, Russian Su-34 bombers already started to purge ISIS targets in Deir Ezzor.

This will allow the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance to keep the frontline against ISIS in the provinces of Homs, Deir Ezzor and Raqqa under a close control and repel any terrorist attempts to use the ongoing battle for Aleppo for counter-attacks against the Syrian army and its allies.

In the future, this could also allow the pro-government forces to normalize the situation in the city of Deir Ezzor and deblock Syrian army units that stuck in never ending clashes with ISIS militants in the area.

Explaining with Maps: Why Does Russia Need Air Base in Iran?

Click to see the full-size map

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  • chris chuba

    It’s an ISIS killer. Thanks for the graphic.

  • Pave Way IV

    I agree, but you need to look one step further. Russia really needs the Tu-22s operating out of the base in Deir Ez Zor. Hamadan is a great help, but hardly a long-term solution to ensuring the stability of eastern Syria.

    The U.S. has always know that and done anything they could to see the Syrian-held base at Deir Ez Zor fall to either the FSA or ISIS. Without Syrian/Russian air assets that far to the east, the U.S. can continue their attempts to carve out a FSA (or at least anti-Assad) territory to the east of the Euphrates to the Iraqi border – and steal the oil fields in that territory, of course.Ideally, the U.S. wants a slice of Syria from the al Tanf or al Bukamal/alQaim up along the east Syrian border to al Hasaka or the southern border of Rojava. That gives the U.S. control of the entire eastern side of Syria along the Syrian/Iraqi border. Just enough territory to build a pipeline or two for Qatar, the Kurds and Israel.

    Russia just further destroyed the U.S. land-theft scheme by ensuring it will have control over eastern Syria. The head-choppers will eventually lose Dier Ez Zor and Syria will re-establish the air base there for Russian bombers. The remaining U.S. proxy head-choppers will be bombed out of eastern Syria and the U.S. will have zero opportunity to negotiate some kind of autonomous U.S.-puppet FSA-run slice. Until Syria regains complete control of Dier Ez Zor, the Tu-22s will be pounding the head-choppers there to bits. I don’t think the U.S. was counting on that at all.

    • MeMadMax

      Don’t forget the Iraqi’s. I’m pretty sure that that the russians can lend a hand in mosul once that starts up.

      But above all, this gives Iran a hedge against a saudi attack, which, believe it or not is a more plausible situation. Iran and Saudis going at it is huge. Iran spouts crap about the israeli’s all day, but in the real world, that’s propaganda and the real foe is the saudis…

    • kgbgb

      It’s good to see you posting here, Paveway. The ROI of time spent at ZeroHedge has plummeted since you disappeared.

      • Pave Way IV

        I was banned within minutes at ZeroHedge for (mildly) criticizing one of the new thin-skinned Tylers about their repeated anti-Iran posts. I see they still leave the “My sister’s friend made $1500 on the internet last month…” posts up for days and days. I guess some posters are just more equal than others.

  • Shhh

    The long range cruise missiles are in range of Tel Aviv. Israeli allies must take out Iran at same time as attack on Russia. Attack on Iran/Russia brings launch of 1000 Iranian missiles overwhelming Israeli defenses,

  • ISIS always has their escape roots back into Turkey where Erdogan will give them safe harbor till he sends them to attack again.
    As long as Erdogan lives, ISIS lives in him.

    • Tomko Kubianca

      Erdogan had a meeting with Putin, which was highly unusual. I thought the coup was fake but if it was really orchestrated by the US maybe Erdogan is worried that Soros is trying to set him up with a war against Russia so they can implement Article 5 and start a World War III. Soros would love to see that before he dies (which will never be soon enough).

      But you’re right that Erdogan is still heavily behind ISIS because he would like to rebuild the Ottoman empire with himself as the sultan.

  • Jesus

    Russia simply needed more air assets throughout Syria, their air base in Latakia was not large enough to accomadate the aircraft inventory desired, therefore the airfield in Iran is a good solution. The Suk 34’s would have to fly a longer distance from Hamedan to attack targets in Deir Ezzor, than flying from Latakia, however the T22 have to fly a lot less than flying from Southern Russia. More air assets specifically designated for the Syrian eastern front, as well as an encroachment within the US coalition airspace over Iraq. It is quite probable the inventory of aircraft in Hamedan will gradually increase, making Russian presence in eastern Syria rather robust and preventing any partitioning attempt by US and Turkey of Syrian or Iraqi territory. I think the Iranians want a Russian presence on their territory for obvious reasons, considering Israel’s zeal to stir the pot. When the airfield in Latakia will be enlarged T22’s will be stationed there as well along with specific squadrons of various aircraft that will provide a strong air umbrella over the Middle East. Once the Latakia airfield is enlarged and modernized I can estimate the deployment of +100 aircraft comprising of medium range bombers, fighter bombers, fighters, transport aircraft…..etc.

  • meridius

    There could be another reason behind the Iranian invitation for the Russian air force to use their base; With an eye on pending Hillary Clinton presidency and her warmongering stance, the Iranians may soon find them self as the next target of convenience for the new neocon president who needs to have her own war; in this context having the Russian air force on the ground in Iran -especially the TU long range bomber whose true specially is sinking NATO ships with the Kh-22 anti ship missile- may give the Americans and Israelis some pause before attacking Iranian air force infrastructure. I would not be surprised to see in the next fee months an increased Russian air force any maybe even naval presence in Iran on the behest of the latter.

  • Hassadnah Abraham

    US have Military base and air port all-over the world…why they make so much noice when Russia landed in IRAN??? Funny

    • slavonac

      Why? Because they can kiss their uni-polar world good bye, that is why…

    • Tomko Kubianca

      The US doesn’t have any air power close to Raqqa, the focal point of ISIS. Now Russia does. The US, Turkey and the Gulf States paid big coin to build ISIS and they don’t want no nasty Russians takin’em out. Sorry Hillary…you lose.