Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Missiles, Missiles everywhere...

Missiles are constantly on the news these days and for good reason. The United States and its allies are particularly worried about threats from what they call "rogue" states and the recent missile test (sorry satellite launch test) by North Korea has ruffled more than a few feathers. I don't think this was because the North Koreans would launch a nuclear attack, they are more interested in bargaining, but because North Korean technology has a way of filtering through to countries like Pakistan, Iran, Syria and other undesirable countries. Unlike the money printing and drug dealing, this is the one thing which annoys the United States the most about the Democratic Republic's attempt to gain hard currency.

Missiles in particular are the headache of advanced armies. They are cheaper than other conventional weapons, difficult to protect against and difficult to find and destroy. The biggest proof in its effectiveness is the continued use of the Katyusha as a strategic weapon by Hezbullah against the Israelis. First used by the Soviet Union against the German army, the Lebanese have found it to be as effective a weapon against the Zionist state as the Russians found it with the Nazi state.

The Islamic Republic is probably the biggest worry for the Israeli's and Americans and the Iranians have been particularly adept at developing and improving on missile technology. I firmly believe that it is only a matter of time before they develop the capacity of nuclear weapons, you don't build an expensive long range rocket just to load it with TNT, so I sympathise with the Israeli and American paranoia. What I don't believe is that the weapon will be offensive. I think that it will be a strategic tool for the defense of the republic and a balance against the Israeli nuclear arsenal, which is desparately needed as the West becomes increasingly bellicose and colonial in its dealings with the Middle East. The very presence of Iranian nuclear weapons would probably be a casus beli but unlike Pakistan, currently the only nuclear powered Muslim country, Iran will be much more difficult to dismantle.

The recent Israeli anti-missile tests are pretty useless, probably just a PR exercise for the Israelis themselves, but it tells us how important missile technology has been for countries and groups wishing to resist advanced Western armies and how seriously the new/old colonial powers are taking them.

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