April 6, 2016

THE KEY POINT BEING...:

Iran's missile happy 'moderates' (J. Matthew McInnis, April 6, 2016, AEIdeas)

Rouhani points to a missing key element in the debate about what to do about Iranian intransigence: Tehran views its missile program as an essential component of its defense. Iran's lack of a strong conventional military -- one that could effectively project and sustain air, land, and sea power well beyond its borders - means that the Islamic Republic relies almost exclusively on the fear of retaliation to deter adversaries such as the United States, Israel, or Saudi Arabia. Tehran only has a few forms of effective retaliation available to it, though, namely its ballistic missiles; its ability to conduct terrorism and asymmetric wars through proxy groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah; and other unconventional means such as its developing cyberwarfare capacity. Without these retaliatory capabilities, Iran would feel strategically naked.

Preserving the core of its proxy and militia network, the so-called "axis of resistance" centered on Lebanese Hezbollah, has motivated Iran to take any action deemed necessary over the past five years to ensure its position in Syria and support of President Bashar al-Assad. Preserving the missile program is considered equally as existential. We should expect Tehran to use any means necessary to protect and strengthen it.

The United States must stop thinking that countering Iran's missile program is the same as trying to halt its nuclear program. Tehran's effort to have the capability to build a nuclear weapon was (and may still be in the future) primarily an attempt to possess a potential deterrent against the United States, Israel, and other adversaries. Iran's ballistic missile program, though, is not only a delivery mechanism for possible nuclear weapons, but also a primary existing method of deterring its enemies. 


...that Israel and the US have nuclear weapons pointed at them.

Posted by at April 6, 2016 6:46 PM

  

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