Iran Fires Multiple Missiles; Group Sees Proof U.S. Needs BMD Capability

By | November 6, 2006 | Uncategorized

Iran fired off short-, medium- and long-range missiles tipped with cluster warheads, which a U.S.-based group said proves the need for American military forces to develop ballistic missile defenses (BMD) for the Middle East region.

“The firing of multiple short, medium and long range missiles today by Iran in response to the United States Central Command Combined Naval Forces Exercises in the Persian Gulf puts the Persian Gulf region and our men and women serving in the Armed Forces there at great risk,” according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA).

The Missile Defense Agency has pushed forward development of a multi-layered BMD shield for the United States, its forces and allies against Asian threats such as North Korea developing and testing long-range missiles, as well as developing and testing a nuclear weapon that was detonated underground.

U.S. BMD capabilities also might be used as a shield against Chinese missiles.

But there is no similar multilayered system to counter missile threats in the Middle East, including Iran, a nation that recently fired a missile from a submerged submarine.

As well, Iran has persisted in a nuclear development program that it claims is for peaceful electrical generation, but which Western powers suspect might be a nuclear weapons production program.

The latest Iranian move, firing missiles in a mass demonstration, heightened concerns.

“This action by Iran puts Middle East countries and their populations such as Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar that host United States coalition bases as vulnerable targets to Iran’s missile intimidation,” the MDAA stated.

U.S. forces are at risk because they lack a BMD shield there, the group added.

“Currently, in this region we do not have a missile defense capability and are vulnerable to missile strikes by Iran,” MDAA observed.

“This inflammatory display to the world shows that Iran perceives that it can deter the United States and its coalition partners,” the group stated.

This Iranian blast of belligerency may be an outcome of North Korea flouting world opinion by developing both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and getting away with it, the MDAA continued.

The Iranian mass missile launching “can be directly linked to Kim Jong-il’s similar action of displaying North Korea’s missile capability earlier this year,” the MDAA asserted.

“These ‘chest pounding displays’ by rogue nations must be confronted and dealt with, as they will continue to motivate other nations to proliferate missiles and nuclear weapons,” the group predicted.

To counter such incorrigible nations, the United States requires a stout BMD shield, the MDAA continued.

“Speaking quietly while possessing a significant missile defensive capability allows the crisis not to escalate and render those missile systems useless in terms of deterrence, allowing a diplomatic solution and international pressure to come to bear,” the group advised.

MDAA recommends a mix of sea- and land-based BMD assets be deployed to the Middle East region.

“The immediate solution to a lack of missile defensive capability in the Persian Gulf region is to deploy one or more [BMD-]equipped Aegis destroyers and cruisers from the 7th and/or 3rd Fleet to the 5th Fleet and move several Patriot 3 Batteries from El Paso, Texas, and/or Germany to the countries of Qatar and Kuwait where United States coalition bases are located,” the group advised.

That would be a short-term fix.

But longer-range, the Iranian actions show the United States needs to build an even larger BMD capability.

“The longer term solution is to grow our Navy missile defense capability from 18 Aegis ships to 28 Aegis ships, and move forward with placing a third ground-based missile site in Central Europe,” the group asserted.

There clearly is a “need for our leaders to fund and deliver missile defense assets to this region,” the group stated.

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