Over the last decade, Iran has been increasingly exporting drones to its proxies throughout the Middle East. The drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are playing a gradually larger role in Iran’s policies and the attacks by its proxies.

Several years ago, the drone threat may not have been seen as a major issue. Today, it’s a different story and is taken much more seriously across the region. Even so, Iran continues to try to improve the precision and deadly effectiveness of its drones. The attack on US forces in Jordan, in which three servicemen were killed and dozens wounded, is merely one example.

The bigger picture is one in which Iran’s drones threaten Israel, the US, and many partner countries across thousands of miles of the front line. That means Iran’s proxies have become terrorist armies with drones, which gives them a larger area to threaten.

This is because drones, unlike rockets, can fly a more complex flight path and can be more precise. Hezbollah, for instance, has thousands of drones and has already used dozens against Israel in the wake of the Hamas attack on October 7.

Iranian-backed militias in Syria also have drones and have been using them since at least 2017. Iran has based its drones in Syria, primarily at the T-4 base near Palmyra. In 2018, for instance, an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace and was shot down. It was carrying munitions destined for the West Bank.

Iran has also sought to target Israel with drones flown from Iran and Iraq. These threats increased over the last several years. During Operation Guardian of the Walls in 2021, for example, Iranian-backed groups in Iraq tried to target Israel with a drone. Iran also sent a “killer drone” team to an area near the Golan Heights in 2019. In January 2021, Iran supplied the Houthis in Yemen with the Shahed 136 drone, Newsweek reported. A year later, that same drone was being used by Russia against Ukraine.
Increased use of drones against US forces by Iranian proxies

Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have increasingly used drones against US forces and to target Kurdish dissidents. The drones are more effective for them than using 107-mm. and 122-mm. rockets. The drone threat has now increased again, and they were used to target US forces in Tanf, Syria, near the Jordanian border and in Jordan. Iraqi-based groups linked to Iran have claimed credit for the attacks. Iran has denied involvement.

The drones used to attack US forces in Jordan and Syria were able to penetrate modern air-defense systems, according to Beirut-based Al Mayadeen news channel, which is pro-Iranian. It is difficult to confirm these claims. That pro-Iran media is making the claims, however, indicates they want them to be true.

That means Iran is seeking to improve its drones’ capabilities. It has now had almost 10 years to use them throughout the region.

Iranian-backed militias are increasingly turning to drones as their go-to weapon system. This can be seen from the Iranian-backed Houthis using them against ships, how Hezbollah uses drones, and their use in Iraq and Syria.

Source » jpost