Iran’s Missile-Cap Offer Is a Sham

Nov. 14 2017

Following talk in Congress of imposing sanctions on Tehran for its ballistic-missile program, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced a decision to restrict the program to weapons with a range of no more than 2,000 kilometers. The move seemed like a preemptive concession, but, Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu explain, it is merely a ruse:

According to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the regime can already “strike targets up to 2,000 kilometers from Iran’s borders,” a range sufficient to hit both U.S. military bases in the region as well as the entire state of Israel. In other words, the alleged cap on Iran’s ballistic missiles locks in the threat rather than rolling it back, while doing nothing to curtail the wide range of activities Iran is undertaking to improve its missile force. . . .

Neither the Trump administration nor Congress should take solace in Iran’s promise to cap its ballistic missiles at 2,000 kilometers. If anything, this declaration is an attempt by Tehran to overvalue something for which it has no immediate need—what are called intermediate-range ballistic missiles—in the hopes of forestalling coercive economic measures against its ballistic-missile program. During negotiations that culminated in the 2015 nuclear accord, Iran [likewise] strategically overvalued the few concessions it gave, including [giving up] its unreliable first-generation centrifuges. . . .

Now, by proposing an illusory cap on missile ranges, Iran is looking to dupe the West again. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic is expected to continue improving the quality of its missile force, which . . . constitutes the Middle East’s biggest arsenal.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at National Interest

More about: Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war