Friday, December 28, 2007

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that Russia does not intend to sell their S-300 Missile system to Iran any time soon, or at least denies any such intent. The bad news is that this does not make a great deal of difference since Iran has just completed taking delivery of 29
Tor Missile units from Russia at a cost of $700 million or so.

Each unit carries 8 missiles and is reckoned to be equivalent in capabilities to the Raetheon Patriot missile. That gives Iran the capability to knock at least some of the aircraft that might be used in any airstrike by the US.

Talk of an Israeli attack appears to be just that, talk. Israel cannot attack Iran for the same reason Iran cannot attack Israel: they lack a common border and both have ample defensive forces to repel an attack by the other. The Israeli air force has 250 or so fighter aircraft. Any lost in raids over Tehran will not be available for defense so Israel cannot risk using enough aircraft to overwhelm the Iranian defenses. Which was surely a factor in the Iranian's decision to buy 29 Tor units in the first place.

Or perhaps given that the existence of defensive measures might discourage a foolhardy adventure perhaps it is good news that starting a new war in the region would be a disaster for all concerned.

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