America Expediting Deployment of Missile Defense System Against Iran


America is expediting the deployment of missile defense systems in the region along with maintaining a naval presence in response to fears that stepped-up sanctions against Iran may lead to an attack against Israel. The US Senate last week voted to approve stepped-up sanctions, this time targeting gasoline, which will place an even more formidable stranglehold on Iran as it continues to defy the international community’s demands to abandon it nuclear enrichment program.

According to “military sources” quoted by the New York Times, Patriot antimissile batteries are being expeditiously deployed in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait. In addition, Aegis cruisers will remain on patrol in the Persian Gulf, an added deterrence against an Iranian strike. The Patriots are effective to down short-range missiles, not Iran’s long-range Shihab-3 ballistic missiles, but experts feel it will be sometime until Tehran’s long-range missiles will be capable of transporting a nuclear warhead.

US General David H. Petraeus will be overseeing the operation, which he detailed somewhat in a January 22nd appearance the Institute for the Study of War.

By all accounts, concerns regarding an Iranian assault are growing, an assault which would undoubtedly enjoy the support of Hizbullah, with the terrorist organization maintaining at least 40,000 short, medium and long-range missiles pointed at Israel, capable of striking as far south as Dimona, with the majority focused on the Tel Aviv region. Hizbullah has threatened on numerous occasions that is attacked, it would release missiles on Tel Aviv.

As the United Nations next month is likely to impose stifling sanctions on Iran in response to Tehran’s continued defiance, an Iranian assault against Israel is increasingly likely as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to deflect his nation’s attention to the common enemy, Israel, well aware of the growing dissension and opposition at home, the ailing economy, and the dissatisfaction that is rapidly spreading on the domestic scene.

The White House is also trying to prevent an Israeli offensive against Iran as Israeli intelligence reports the window of opportunity to prevent Ahmadinejad from building an atom bomb is rapidly closing, projecting a more worrisome intelligence scenario that American experts have put before the White House. President Barak Obama hopes the deployment of Patriot missiles and Aegis patrol ships will be sufficient to prevent an Israel Air Force assault against Iran.

White House officials hope the stepped-up arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies towards improving oil terminal defense in the event of an Iranian attack. In addition, the Americans are increasing the size of its force in Saudi Arabia, with the Washington Post reporting the current 10,000 man force will be tripled.

Ironically, the move, while a welcome one, increases Israeli concerns regarding the buildup of arms by Persian Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia undertaking a multibillion dollar deal and Abu Dhabi leading the list of foreign purchasers of US military hardware, spending $17 billion, including Patriot antiballistic missile batteries, and the advance THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system. The UAE has purchased 80 F-16 fighter planes last year and last year, the UAE was invited for a first time to the American air forces maneuvers in Nevada. All of this represents a major shift in the balance of power in the region.

Concerns surrounding Iran are indeed growing increasingly complicated. Israeli officials are well-aware of the growing friendship between Iran, Hizbullah, Syria and Lebanon, while the Americans are also cognizant of the sizable Shiite populations in the Persian Gulf states, a population many fear Iran will try to arouse once it becomes a nuclear power, perhaps even to assist in toppling pro-Western governments in those nations. Just last week, Lebanese President Sa’ad Hariri warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of an imminent Israeli military offensive in Lebanon. Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to Sharm el-Sheikh to allay the fears of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, telling him it just isn’t so, and Israel is not planning any such attack.

While Arab Gulf nations generally prefer to keep their anti-Iranian agenda somewhat quiet, they are as opposed to a nuclear Iran as Israel, realizing such a reality could destabilize the entire region and threaten their strategic interests and pose a serious threat to the pro-Western rulers.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)