The US has concentrated naval power and B-52s in the Persian Gulf in recent days.
By Seth J. Frantzman May 12, 2019 15:08 – JERUSALEM POST -Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), attended a closed session of parliament on Sunday, according to Iranian media reports. The newly appointed head of the IRGC, which the US views as a terrorist organization, said the US is not strong enough to start a war with Iran because it has not deployed enough forces in the region.
Salami gave his best assessment to parliament in a closed and largely secretive session. Yet Iranian media received reports about the discussion, to reassure Iran that war is not coming. The US has concentrated naval power and B-52s in the Persian Gulf in recent days, and has warned that any attack by Iran or its proxies would be met with a response. Iran takes this seriously, with Tasnim News expressing concern about US President Donald Trump’s “crazy” behavior. Salami went to the parliament and briefed members about the status of the ground forces and air force. He said that since 2007, the IRGC has been responsible for securing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. That means that it would face the brunt of any attack by the US in that area and that it must tread carefully so as not to provoke the Americans. He examined possible confrontation scenarios and Iran’s capabilities.
Air force and ground force commanders allegedly took part in the closed door meeting as well. This included experts on Air Force capabilities and also the anti-ship ballistic missiles that Iran has developed. Salami looked at the psychological strategy of the US and US naval movements. Reports noted the US buildup of forces, but Salami was confident the US does not have the forces in the region yet to begin a real war. He estimates that Washington is playing a psychological game. Parliamentarians responded that the US forces in the Gulf were already scheduled to be there. The US has always had an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, the reports noted. The IRGC said that the US aircraft carrier strike group was vulnerable and the US would not risk it in a battle with Iran.
The comments by Salami were in contrast to those by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has termed US sanctions a form of “all out war.” However, Salami’s views appear to dovetail with wider caution among Iranian allies. The Iranina proxy group Asaib Ahl al-Haq stressed on Sunday that they would refrain from attacking US-led Coalition forces in Iraq, according to local reports. Iran is carefully monitoring the US posture and is concerned that this time, Washington may not be bluffing. Its attempts to try to figure out the “psychological” component of Trump’s plan appears to reveal that the regime does not firmly grasp what may come next.