On Saturday, August 4, Iran successfully test fired a new and improved version of the Fateh-110, short range, single stage ballistic missile. The improved Fateh features an extended range, which could strike Israel and U.S. bases in the Mideast. The Iranian Minister of Defense calls this a new generation of the Fateh, with a range of 185 miles, and “pinpoint accuracy.” The new Fateh, dubbed The Conqueror, is designed to strike land and sea targets. He added that few nations on Earth are capable of such technology. Iran’s military has stated a belief that future wars will be air-and sea-based. The previous version of the missile had a range estimated at about 120 miles
The British Foreign Office is understandably concerned about the improvements to the Iranian defense system. Iran’s arsenal includes a variety of longer range missiles which can strike a target at 1200 miles.
Israel may well be among the most threatened by the Iranian military developments. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has made inflammatory and hostile statements in remarks pertaining to the ongoing disagreement regarding domination of the Israel/Palestine holy shrines. Both nations, Jewish on the one hand, Muslim on the other, see sites in that region as the most holy and substantial aspects of their disagreeing religions. Ahmadinejad may be the prevailing figure of the Muslim world, and in that role he does not hide his abhorrence of the Jewish state. Iran considers the Palestine issue as an ideological one and is committed to it, with few concessions.
On January 3, 2012, Ahmadinejad said, “Zionists, who have no faith in religion or even God, now claim piety and intend to take away the Islamic identity of the Holy Quds [Jerusalem]. This ridiculous move is in fact the continuation of the colonialist polices of oppressors, which will not save the Zionist regime, but also take the regime closer to the endpoint of its existence.” In May, 2012, Ahmadinejad addressed a gathering in Razavi province: “Israel is nothing more than a mosquito which cannot see the broad horizon of the Iranian nation.” The Iranian president describes Israel as a “fake regime” that must be “wiped off the map.” His words “fake regime” are somewhat unclear. As to “wiped off the map”, does he mean by devastating bombardment, or would a cartographic change satisfy him? Could the man be consoled by a reinterpretation of the perceived occupation of Palestine? Islam takes the position that persons of other beliefs can live in harmony with the Muslims, but they must take steps toward assimilation. There may be room here for dialogue. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be seeking an end to suppression.
We also remember that the people of Iran are growing increasingly unhappy with their president. They are and should be as fearful as the Jews in Israel. Yes, the people of Israel are fearful, but an attack based on fear alone could result in global warfare. This author is not alone in calling for restraint. We remember the fate of the distinguished media icon Helen Thomas who gave voice to the opinon that perhaps the Palestineans really are the indigenous people, and the Israelis would do well to travel to a new land. Helen Thomas took an unscheduled retirement. Her stated plan is absurd, and the Jewish people would never stand for it. But it would in that unlikely reality put an end to what may be the greatest and final war of world history.
Ahmadinejad calls Zionists “the most detested people in all humanity”; he calls the infamous Holocaust “a myth,” and a bid to extort sympathy for Israel from European governments. Iranian leaders have held anti-Zionist conferences with lectures and exhibits questioning the facts of the Holocaust.
The stated goal of that nation’s nuclear program is to generate electricity, thus retaining her plentiful oil for sale abroad. A secondary goal has to do with supplying fuel for medical reactors. The question remains, would Iran use modern weaponry to attack her enemies, or would that weaponry serve to deter attacks against the center of Islamic culture? We need to consider that Iran struggles to be on an equal basis with global leaders, and has been thwarted on all sides by the powerful West.
In November of 2011, the United States and Europe imposed sanctions against oil exports from Iran in response to perceived hostility. Iran made counter-threats to shut down the oil transporting Strait of Hormuz. Iran can hardly ignore daily threats from Israel, backed by the U.S. to unilaterally strike the Iranian nation. On August 1, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta stood side by side with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and implicitly threatened an American military attack if Iran decides to develop a nuclear weapon. Panetta was reaffirming the hard line stance of Mitt Romney, candidate for the American presidency. There is concern within the American administration that Israel may strike Iran as early as this coming fall.
Discipline and restraint are mandated; if we believe their booming rhetoric, the Republican policy makers may be short or lacking in both areas.
Photo: The Telegraph, UK