Iran, China and Russia, along with ten other countries, will soon hold a joint military drill in Latin America, the US historical backyard.
Nearly one month from now in mid-August, thirteen countries, including Iran, China and Russia, are about to run a series of major war drills in Latin America. The move is most probably a projection of power to the United States that how these militaries can reach so close to the US borders and exercise joint militarily maneuvers.
Venezuela, under the leadership of anti-U.S. president Nicolás Maduro, is hosting the military drill. According to a report by the Center for a Secure Free Society, the drill, known as ‘the Sniper Frontier Competition’, is a bold move to show how anti-US countries are prepared “to make a loud statement that the region is ready to embrace the multipolar force” against the American hegemony. This is the first time in history that units of the Iranian Navy are going to participate in a military exercise in a few dozen kilometers of the US waters in the Western Hemisphere.
Likewise, a major part of Russia’s military is also preparing to bring units to the Western Hemisphere for the first time, even as Moscow is deeply involved in a war with Ukraine. This military exercise is one of the clearest signs that a coalition against the US is being formed in Latin America. Over the past years, anti-American governments in this region have been trying to strengthen relations with Russia, China and Iran.
Maduro recently made a diplomatic trip to the Middle East during which he signed a 20-year strategic agreement with Iran. This agreement paved the way for an Iranian-made oil tanker to dock in Venezuela and unload Iran’s sanctioned crude oil in the country.
A network of relations against Washington
The strategic agreement between Iran and Venezuela is a continuation of similar strategic agreements that the Islamic Republic has signed with China and Russia in recent years. Latin American governments are signing strategic contracts with Russia too. It was this past Monday, for example, that Russia and Venezuela agreed to promote joint projects in the areas of energy, pharmaceuticals, industries, transportation, and technical-military collaboration.
Similarly, China has been active in the region, although these efforts have attracted little media attention. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed several economic agreements in Latin America last month and has made contacts with Uruguay, Nicaragua and Ecuador. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a plan to increase China’s global footprint, has also already made its way to Argentina.
It should also be noted that for the first time ever, the Venezuelan army displayed Iranian military drones assembled in Venezuela during its military parade this Tuesday. UAVs, which were initially known by the Iranian name “Mahajer-2”, are now flying in Venezuela under the name “Antonio Jose Sucre”. Observation, identification and attack with anti-tank and anti-personnel capabilities are among the technical features of these Iranian-made drones. Early in 2012, Venezuela had announced that Iran would help the country in the construction of drones. These two countries, which are both members of OPEC and also cooperate in the field of oil exports, have been at odds with Washington for a long time.
Joseph Homer, a national security analyst and the head of the Center for a Secure Free Society, has expressed concerns about the drill and said that “by normalizing the military movements of America’s enemies in the Caribbean, including Iran, China and Russia, we are at risk of weakening legitimacy among the American-dominated regimes in Latin America.”