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27 July 2007

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Matthew

So how many countries can you attack in order to "preserve" peace? Pre-emptive strikes used to be called "sneak attacks." Like Pearl Harbour.

verc

Happy Writing!

While you're busy, you could host guest posters, such as the always enjoyable Mr. Sale.

Still remember his piece on Negroponte's move.

Cloned Poster

"British intelligence" is an oxymoron these days.

I'll leave the an expert's view here.

Got A Watch

Bet this report will get Dick Cheney foaming again:

"Iran buys 250 long-distance Sukhoi fighter-bombers, 20 fuel tankers, from Russia"
July 27, 2007
http://www.debkafile.net/

"Tehran and the Russian Rosoboronexport arms group are about to sign a mammoth arms deal running into tens of billions of dollars for the sale to Tehran of 250 Su-30MKM warplanes and 20 IL-78 MKI fuel tankers. DEBKAfile’s military sources report Iran has stipulated delivery of the first aircraft before the end of 2007...

The Sukhoi can sustain a four-and-a-half hour raid at its maximum range of 3,000 km against long-distance, marine and low-lying ground targets...
The fuel tankers extends the Su-30MKM’s assault sustainability to 10 hours and its range to 8,000 km at altitudes of 11-13 km. The closest comparable plane in the West is the American F-15E fighter bomber."

They might want to revisit those scheduling issues.

johnf

The propaganda war against Iran is still going full blast. This from today's "Telegraph" (UK), by Tom Coghlan, presumably an off-pod of notorious neo-con propagandist Con Coghlan, about a US C130 being targetted by an Iranian heat-seeking missile while flying over Helmand in Afghanistan (a province largely held by the Taliban):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IGAHG33FIYEL1QFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2007/07/28/wafg128.xml

Presumably they know it was an Iranian missile because they read the writing on it as it flew past their window.

Roguelement

As of this morning on C-span there seems to be some confusion between the 2006 Terrorism estimates and the 2007 estimates, when a Democratic member of the committee spoke up about why WE can't Seem to KILL Osama Bin~Laden As if that EVER HAD ANYTHING to do with 9/11 ! WE DEMAND THE REAL AUDIO TAPES OF 9/11 TO BE MADE PUBLIC So We the People can hear first hand the Truthful ACCOUNTS OF WHAT was actually heard when the NORAD ATC CENTER responded to the Call for Help from NY area ATC Centers. Where you can clearly hear the Amazed and confused NORAD systems tech ask over and over If this was still part of that Military War Game Exercise "Vigilant Guardian" and also Northern Vigilance which for those of us who are Older than a Pair of Running shoes Knew Better as Operation Northwoods of Circa 1962 which by the by was part of why certain politicians had to go along with the Assassination of Our Young President JFK President and later his younger brother which was to keep him {the pit~bull} from launching any investigations into the Goings on of the CIA and there Newest employee George H.W.Bush as he can Clearly be seen in a photo outside the Texas school book repository. SO MANY DISGRACEFUL QUESTIONS SO VERY LITTLE HONESTY.

dan

Got a Watch

Well, considering that you're citing Debka as the source, we can be 100% certain that the information is 95-100% wrong, and that the authors know this. Generally speaking, anything that Debka "reveals" about Iranian weapons deals is intended to play into the Iran as scary military threat narrative that it has so assiduously cultivated for, well, years now.

AFAICT, the Russian airforce only has some 20 or so of these, and the entire production history is, thus far, about 150 units - the bulk of which have gone to India and China ( about 40 each ).

Two pertinent questions:

1) What's the relation between this "announcement" and the recent flurry of US arms deals to Saudi/Gulf nations and the IAF's desire to be "given" F-22's & F-35's? Obviously if there's a horde of up-to-date Iranian fighter bombers just around the corner that could make mincemeat of Israeli targets then it would be a good idea to give them something to equalise the balance.

2) When did the generally well-understood Iranian national defence doctrine change to a doctrine of forward-leaning power projection? It's conceivable that Iran might want 25-50 of these to supplant some of the aging and superannuated US airframes that it still has on the books, but 250 is absurd.

Syndroma

Only Malaysia can sold Su-30MKM to Iran. If Russia ever reaches such deal with Iran, the aircraft would be named like Su-30MKIN or Su-30MKP.

Marcello

"but 250 is absurd"

At the very least is out of the line with their economic capabilities and other defense aquisitions.

seenthisb4

Did anyone see the surreal performance by Maj. Gen. Lynch from Baghdad this morning on C-Span? The MG opened with an political statement obviously dictated by the WH, then proceded to define the motivation of the insurgency with the incoherent mime, "They hate us for our freedoms". Followed by, you guessed it, "We're fighting them over here, so we don't have to fight them at home." For a graduate of the Army War College to be comfortable defining the motivation of his insurgent enemy with "they hate us for our freedoms", really makes me wonder ... have these guys learned nothing about the nature of their enemy over the past 3 years? Incidentally, the MG believes "70%" of those shooting at him are AQI.

johnf

Now the Debka lie about indestructible swarms of Russian bombers (250) being flogged to the crazy Ayatollahs has migrated, surprise surprise, to the equally reliable Jerusalem Post:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1185379034835&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

eaken

See this is exactly what gets to me. It is published that Iran is purportedly involved in a deal to buy 250 SU-30 multi-role fighters for $1B and nobody really bats an eye or thinks twice about whether it is BS or not. Instead, this news item is syndicated and repeated to the masses and Iran is demonized in the process.

The fact of the matter is that these jets cost $35M each, making 250 of them a $9B deal and easily refuting any credibility that article has otherwise.

India paid $1.5B for 40 SU-30's. So if Iran can get 250 of them for $1B, I would say they should be allowed to have them simply on the basis of negotiating such a good deal in the first place. Hell, they can probably sell them to the Saudis for $20B.

Martin K

From an intelpov: Are *any* SU-30s being sold to Iran? How would that affect the actionradius of fleetbased US action (how far from shore are they a threat, what threat, etc)?

jonst

seenthisb4,

Yes, I saw Lynch. I comforted myself with the belief (hope) that he was a rather dim witted apparatchnik reading script. Because if that REALLY is the level of intel of our commanders over there....we're truly doomed. And by that I mean more than simply doomed in Iraq.....if he really believes what he was saying. Oh, and how about the gutlessness of the interviewer when the general said "here is what I am going to talk about today". Funny, because I thought he was going to respond to viewers questions.

jonst

Richard,

A few questions for you or the commenters. Why would the Iranian govt reverse a well documented policy of longstanding opposition to the Taliban? The question is not presented in a challenging way as in 'there is no way they would do this'. But i am curious...what calculations might factor in a decision to alter this policy and come to the aid (relatively speaking)of a longstanding brutal foe of theirs? They, the Iranians, are certainly capable of such a shift. As are all nations. But why now? With chaos on their Iraq border...why risk a two front war? Well, answering my own question... perhaps they perceive they face that risk with a clear Multi-national forces victory in Afghanistan. And have embarked upon a course to simply keep all parties fighting.

Barry

"What Cheney has proposed is a measure that would launch a very limited military strike at one or more known Iranian training centers whose forces are being deployed to Iraq. This proposal has, so far, gotten no approval."

Considering that at least one major Shiite militia/party originated in Tehran, in the 1980's, anybody who talks sh*t about covert ops is crazy.

Got A Watch

he he I guess I should have put the usual Debka disclaimer at the bottom "warning: this report may have little to do with the facts".

I posted it because it fits into the pattern of seeing the Iranian threat behind every bush.

But I would also bet the Russians and Chinese are going to move in for their own piece of the action.

The result will be a huge build-up of military equipment in an already unstable region. About as wise as all other policies the Bushies have tried in the ME.

dan

Marcello

As a deal structured over a 10-year time-frame, a $10 billion aircraft deal is well within their economic capacities - the general estimates of Iran's forex reserves are in the $160 billion plus range and growing.

It needs to be remembered that irresepctive of oil price levels, sanctions, mis-management and inflation, the Iranian economy is ALWAYS bad and on the verge of collapse, yet the country continues to function, develops, and per capita incomes actually show growth from the pre-revolution levels ( contrast with Saudi Arabia which has shown a marked decline in per capita incomes over the past 30 years ).

What's absurd about this is the saturation number of one aircraft type that goes beyond any strategic rationale, or, for that matter, Russian production capacity. Iran could quite conceivably decide to buy - and pay for - a large number of Russian military aircraft over the next 10 years, but the mix would include Mig-31's, EW platforms, transport, refuellers and other airframes.

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