The Wall Street Journal reports:
Russia’s expanding use of Iranian drones in Ukraine poses an increasing threat for the U.S. and its European allies as Tehran attempts to project military power beyond the Middle East.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials say, Russia has launched more than 300 Iranian drones that have targeted military units, power plants and civilian buildings in the capital, Kyiv. The Ukrainian military said it has shot down more than 70% of the drones, but Ukrainian officials are asking the U.S. and NATO allies for more help to counter the threat. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has vowed to rush hundreds of drone jammers to Ukraine as part of a deepening effort to shore up Ukraine’s air defenses.
The wave of attacks has made Iran Moscow’s most important military ally in its faltering campaign in Ukraine and highlighted how Tehran has created one of the world’s most successful drone fleets despite years of Western sanctions.
“Drones have become the spearhead of Iranian power projection globally,” said Dr. James Rogers, an associate professor of war studies at the University of Southern Denmark. “Iran has one of the oldest and, arguably, one of the most efficient drone programs in the world.”
While the international community focused for years on trying to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran methodically built an army of drones that reached across the Middle East. Iran and its proxies have been accused of carrying out attacks on everything from U.S. forces in Syria and commercial ships in the Arabian Sea to Israeli cities and Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. [Continue reading…]