Skip to comments.Russia may nix S-300 sale to Iran
Posted on 08/24/2009 8:59:47 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's reported promise to Israeli President Shimon Peres that Moscow will reconsider the sale of powerful S-300 air-defense missiles to Iran could determine whether Israel - and the United States for that matter - launches pre-emptive strikes against Tehran's nuclear facilities. "President Medvedev promised to review this issue once again after I explained that it would have an impact on the balance of forces in our region," Peres said Wednesday following his meeting with the Russian leader in Moscow on Tuesday.
Israel has been threatening to attack Iran's controversial nuclear program for many months because the Jewish state considers Tehran's acquisition of nuclear weapons to be an existential threat.
Any Israeli offensive would undoubtedly involve air and missile strikes. At present, the Israeli air force's prospects of penetrating Iran's air defenses, including Russian-supplied M-1 Tor close-range surface-to-air missiles, are reasonably good.
But the Israelis' capabilities would be immeasurably reduced if Tehran got its hands on an advanced air-defense weapon like the S-300.
Russia says it has not delivered any the missiles to Iran yet, but it may yet do so to up the ante in its growing confrontation with the United States.
Medvedev's pledge may be little more than a tactic to force the Israelis to stop providing arms and intelligence to Georgia, Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics that are defying Moscow.
U.S.-based security consultancy Strategic Forecasting noted in July: "The Americans realize that if they arm Russia's adversary, Moscow will respond by arming U.S. adversaries - particularly Iran.
"Russia has deals in place under which it would deliver strategic air-defense systems and other arms to Iran and complete Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr - all things it has notably declined to do for years now.
"Moscow has been holding onto this card to ensure that the United States does not fulfill its own commitments to Georgia."
So the Israelis believe that their window of opportunity to attack Iran under optimum conditions may be limited and that it should go after the Islamic republic's nuclear centers before any Russian S-300s are delivered despite pressure from Washington not to act unilaterally and risk triggering a regional war with possibly calamitous consequences.
At the very least, the Iranians would be expected to retaliate against an Israeli attack by firing salvoes of Shehab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missiles with conventional high-explosive warheads at the Jewish state.
Israel does not have the power to knock out enough of the heavily guarded and widely nuclear facilities, most of them buried deep underground, to permanently cripple Iran's nuclear program.
But with the Israelis claiming Iran has accelerated its missile production and that Tehran could fashion a nuclear warhead within a year, Israeli strategists appear to be inclined to strike while they can to set back Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Notice how Russia will grow as the US does nothing.
The reason why this happens because we allow it to happen. We need to put the brakes on this nonsense with Russia.
We need to start treating them as a hostile nation.
Yes, I have always thought of Israel as a hostile nation - Signed Obamanation
I like calling him Zero. I get a chuckle out of that.
Russia probably comprehends that if Israel’s survival depends on defeating this missile, too, that will come to pass. Why get embarassed when your queen of battle comes a cropper before you get to use it on your own behalf? The Russians make a lot of good weapons for low end conflicts, and a few for mid-level, but at the high end they are in a difficult situation. If they sell their top-of-the-line stuff, it might not work as well as they suppose; we might capture some of them or buy them from the same unreliable pricks that that bought it from the Russians in the first place; or the Israelis, or even we, might figure out how to defeat or marginalize it.
And high tech stuff in an air defense equation is enormously dependent on a well-integrated system into which it fits. I would doubt that the Iranians have or can ever develop an air defense system we could not defeat in less than two or three days, with or without Russian help to them (or to us, or both).
with the Israelis claiming Iran has accelerated its missile production and that Tehran could fashion a nuclear warhead within a year, Israeli strategists appear to be inclined to strike while they can to set back Iran's nuclear ambitions