Friday, September 24, 2010

Early Warning

Russia to Deny Sale of S-300 Missile System to Iran

Russian army chief of staff Gen. N. Makarov broke the news on September 22 that Russia will not sell the S-300 air defense systems to Iran.

If this is true then Russia has given its de facto permission for NATO and Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. It had been widely speculated that the Russians would sell their advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran, obviously for the purpose of protecting "sensitive" installations against air strikes by foreign military. Some analysts believed that the equipment already was in Iran, along with Russian military trainers teaching the Iranian military how to operate and maintain the system. If that has turned out to be false, and this General Makarov's statement represents the official stance on the issue, a la Putin and Medvedev, then we may be closer to World War III than you would care to believe.

There are various iterations of the S-300 missile family, but the more advanced models which Iran was surely interested in can track and engage multiple targets simultaneously. More than that, they also have the capability of intercepting and eliminating not only the fastest fighter jets and bombers in U.S. or Israeli inventories, but can also destroy cruise missiles incoming at speeds up to 8.5 Mach. This would have meant that, in the event of an Israeli or joint NATO-Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations, the attacks would either not be successful or only partially successful, and at a great cost to incoming aircraft.

Russia had been supporting the Iranians, it seemed, since the second Iraq war began. If they have spontaneously changed their position, or have been compensated by NATO to do so, and if this report of the denial of the missile sale is correct, this is an early warning that attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities are in the final planning stages, if not imminent. I'm not enough of an expert on the Iranian alleged nuclear weapons program to comment on if or when they will develop a working, deployable warhead or bomb. I only know that if Israel and or the United States strike Iran, it will start at the very least another regional war in the Middle East, and very possibly World War III.

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