Skip to comments.Iran's Successful Missile Test Puts Israel Within Range
Posted on 07/03/2003 6:12:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
Iran has successfully tested a Shihab-3 missile, which has a range that can reach Israel. The launch last week was the most successful so far of the seven or eight tests of the missile over the last five years, and has increased worries in Washington - which spotted the test with its tracking mechanisms - and in Israel.
If the assessment proves to be true that the missile, which was launched from east to west, had an effective range beyond the 1,300-kilometer red line, meaning the range from western Iran to Israel, the Iranians could position the launching pads for the rocket deeper inside their country.
The Iranian threat will be one of the subjects under discussion when Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon visits the Pentagon and U.S. armed forces bases next week. Ya'alon's itinerary is supposed to include the Florida headquarters of two key commands: Centcom and Special Operations at MacDill air force base.
More data is now being collected and collated in the West about the missile test and about the progress being made in the Iranian missile program, which is based on North Korean missiles. In previous tests, when the rocket was powered by a North Korean engine, the tests were successful, but when the engines were Iranian-made, even with North Korean know-how, they tended to fail - despite statements by Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shakhmani in 2002 that Iran can "develop everything" and does not need help from foreign sources like China or Russia.
The report of the Shihab-3 test is an incentive for Israel equipping itself with more Arrow missiles made by the Israel Aircrafts Industries and soon to go into a joint production process with Boeing.
Israel is also concerned about the growing ties between Iran and Libya. Indeed, the Libyan threat is now the reason for a third Arrow battery even though the Iraqi threat is gone. One response to the Libyan threat would be an Arrow battery mounted on a naval vessel.
Western experts said that the 16-meter single-stage Shihab-3, which can carry up to a ton of explosives in its payload, is not very accurate, with the probability of hitting within three kilometers of any target it is launched at. But it is possible that has been improved over the past year. In any case, the missile range already includes Israel, Turkey, the Indian subcontinent and the American forces in the Gulf. Iran has plans for two longer-range missiles: a Shihab-4, with a 2,000-kilometer range and a Shihab-5, with a 5,500-kilometer range.
The last Shihab missile test resulted in a Bush administration statement expressing "serious concerns" about the Iranian missile project, which is a "threat to the region and U.S. interests."
The next commander of Centcom, Gen. John Abizaid, who replaces Tommy Franks on Monday, testified last week to a Senate committee that "Iran has the largest ballistic missile inventory in the Central Command region to include long-range weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems capable of reaching deployed U.S. forces in the theater." And he warned, "Iran's long-term ability to develop nuclear weapons remains a source of serious concern."
He told the committee that "Iran casts a shadow on security and stability in the Gulf region. Iran's military is second only to the United States. U.S. allies in the Gulf acknowledge Iran's increasingly proactive efforts to soften its image and appear less hegemonic; however, Iran's military poses a potential threat to neighboring countries."
Am I the only one concerned about this John Abizaid?
You probably are because we've heard he's a really good guy. Extremely well qualified, and extremely loyal.
Everyone is within their range!!! If I was North Korea and I've been selling technology to Tehran I might find myself targetted by Israel.
Thank you. I fell somewhat better, but I can't help think of that airline flight with the Egyptian copilot that flew the airliner into the ocean killing all aboard. If this man is what you say he is he should, even more than us, despise these despicable low lives.
God, you dumb hillbilly, ignorant moron. Why would we be concerned? Please tell us.
Abizaid sure Iraq arms will be found
By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES, June 26, 2003
The incoming commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said yesterday that he expects stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and an illicit program to build nuclear arms to be uncovered in Iraq.
"I'm confident we will show that there was deception," Army Lt. Gen. John P. Abizaid said at a Senate hearing on his nomination to be chief of the U.S. Central Command. "And I am also confident that at some point it will lead us to actual weapons of mass destruction."
Gen. Abizaid, an American of Lebanese descent who speaks Arabic, also said the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in the face of intelligence about their existence is perplexing.
The search for Iraq's weapons includes looking at documents and talking to informants and detainees, he said.
"I believe that as we get on with the mission of continuing to look for weapons of mass destruction and piece together the evidence that is available within the country ... that we'll piece together the story that tells us what happened to the weapons of mass destruction somewhere between 1998 and 2003," he said.
The policy of containment of now-ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime for over a decade did not work, Gen. Abizaid said. "And I think that bringing this brutal regime down with as many of the hundreds of thousands of people that he killed was a good thing in its own right," he said.
Mass graves discovered in Iraq showed that Saddam's forces had murdered men, women and children by shooting them in the head and even burying them alive in pits, he said.
Gen. Abizaid said that U.S. troops prefer combat to the current mission of "constabulary duty" to stabilize postwar Iraq.
He described three types of opposition to the allied troops in Iraq: armed Ba'athist cells operating in Baghdad, Al Ramadi and Tikrit; radical anti-American Islamists from outside Iraq; and Iraqi criminals.
The foreign fighters were disrupted by a recent military strike on a camp in western Iraq.
Gen. Abizaid said coalition troops are taking the fight to the Ba'athists with the aim to "kill those who would try to kill us."
Gen. Abizaid said the coalition forces in Iraq are not sitting around waiting to be attacked. "In at least half of the actions that take place there, we are the folks that initiate the contact," he said.
The 145,000-strong U.S. troop presence in Iraq is not expected to increase, he said. "I think right now we have sufficient number of troops to deal with the tasks at hand that we are faced with militarily," Gen. Abizaid said.
Troop levels could decrease once the current phase of anti-guerrilla operations is finished at the end of the month, he said.
Gen. Abizaid praised the tactical intelligence data provided to U.S. forces during the conflict. But, he said, the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was "incomplete."
The general said he had expected Iraqi forces to use chemical or biological weapons against advancing coalition troops and had expected the latter to find illicit arms "early in the campaign."
"Fortunately, they did not use weapons of mass destruction against our troops," he said.
The intelligence supplied to the troops was "the most accurate that I've ever seen on the tactical level, probably the best I've ever seen on the operational level," Gen. Abizaid said.
U.S. intelligence provided an unprecedented "picture" of the Iraqi forces and their intentions, which helped speed the rapid drive of allied forces to Baghdad.
However, intelligence agencies provided information that was "perplexingly incomplete on the strategic level with regard to weapons of mass destruction."
Gen. Abizaid said he could not understand why no weapons of mass destruction were found "when the evidence was so pervasive" that they existed.
Coalition forces expected to intercept Iraq's chemical or biological arms before they were moved from storage depots to guns. "But we've looked at the depots, and they're not there," Gen. Abizaid said.
The weapons could have been moved, hidden or destroyed, he said.
Movement from weapons depots before the war was viewed by the United States as preparation by Iraqi forces to use weapons of mass destruction against coalition troops, he said.
However, in retrospect, the movement of arms may have been intended "to get rid of them," Gen. Abizaid said.
The discovery of Iraqi chemical warfare protective suits showed that the Iraqis had planned to use poison gas and would have attacked coalition troops with chemical weapons as they closed in on Baghdad, he said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Abizaid will replace the outgoing commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks.