9,000 Attackers Protest Outside the Walls (Revelation 11)

9,000 Attackers Participate in Gaza Border Violence

Hana Levi Julian

22 Elul 5779 – September 21, 2019

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Office via Twitter

Thousands of Gazans riot at the border with Israel, throwing live grenades and explosives at IDF soldiers and into Israeli territory

More than 9,000 Arabs gathered Friday at multiple locations along the security fence protecting southern Israel from Gaza terrorists to inflict more violence on Israeli soldiers stationed there to protect the area’s Jewish communities from would-be attackers.

As every Friday after mosque, some 9,000 Hamas-sponsored terrorists rioted along the Gaza border. Explosive devices, grenades, and firebombs exploded next to IDF jeeps. Troops opened fire on a group of 30 Muslim terrorists who attempted to invade Israel.

As they do every Friday, the attackers burned tires and threw rocks, explosives, grenades, flaming Molotov cocktails and live fireworks at the soldiers.

The IDF responded with standard riot dispersal measures and in some cases, gunfire.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization claimed via its “Health Ministry” that 76 attackers were injured in the violence. It is impossible, however, to independently verify the claim.

Preparing for World War 3 (Revelation 17)

Biggest Mistake Trump Can Make? Invade Iran.

Key Point: The only military action that can truly prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is for the United States to invade and occupy the country, potentially turning it over to a U.S.-friendly regime that would uphold Iran’s non-nuclear status. Despite the widespread support in the United States for preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon, this option is almost never proposed by any serious observer.

Part of this undoubtedly reflects America’s fatigue following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it goes much deeper than that—namely, while Iran’s military is greatly inferior to the U.S. armed forces, the U.S. military would not be able to conquer Iran swiftly and cheaply like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Tehran would be able to impose prohibitive costs against the U.S. military, even before the difficult occupation began.

Iran’s ability to defend itself against a U.S. invasion begins with its formidable geography. As Stratfor, a private intelligence firm, has explained, “Iran is a fortress. Surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the ocean, with a wasteland at its center, Iran is extremely difficult to conquer.”

While the “stopping power of water” has always made land invasions far more preferable for the invading party, the age of precision-guided munitions has made amphibious invasions particularly challenging. As such, the United States would strongly prefer to invade Iran through one of its land borders, just as it did when it invading Iraq in 2003.

Unfortunately, there are few options in this regard. On first glance, commencing an invasion from western Afghanistan would seem the most plausible route, given that the U.S. military already has troops stationed in that country. Alas, that would not be much of an option at all.

To begin with, from a logistical standpoint, building up a large invasion force in western Afghanistan would be a nightmare, especially now that America’s relationship with Russia has deteriorated so greatly.

More importantly, however, is the geography of the border region. First, there are some fairly small mountain ranges along the border region. More formidable, going from the Afghan border to most of Iran’s major cities would require traversing two large desert regions: Dasht-e Lut and Dasht-e Kavir.

Dasht-e Kavir is particularly fearsome, as its kavirs are similar to quicksand. As Stratfor notes, “The Dasht-e Kavir consists of a layer of salt covering thick mud, and it is easy to break through the salt layer and drown in the mud. It is one of the most miserable places on earth.” This would severely constrain America’s ability to use any mechanized and possibly motorized infantry in mounting the invasion.

Iran’s western borders are not any more inviting. While northwestern Iran borders Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, Ankara refused the United States permission to use its territory for the invasion of Iraq. Regardless, the Zagros Mountains that define Iran’s borders with Turkey, and most of Iraq, would make a large invasion through this route extremely difficult.

The one exception on Iran’s western borders is in the very south, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers collide to form the Shatt al-Arab waterway. This was the invasion route Saddam Hussein used in the 1980s. Unfortunately, as Saddam discovered, this territory is swampy and easy to defend. Furthermore, not long after crossing into Iranian territory, any invading force would run into the Zagros Mountains. Still, this area has long been a vulnerability of Iran’s, which is one of the reasons why Tehran has put so much effort into dominating Shia Iraq and the Iraqi government. Unfortunately for any U.S. president looking to invade Iran, Tehran has largely succeeded in this effort, closing it off as a potential base from which America could attack Iran.

Thus, the United States would have to invade Iran from its southern coastline, which stretches roughly 800 miles and is divided between waterfront adjoining the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Iran has been preparing for just such a contingency for the better part of a quarter of a century. Specifically, it has focused on acquiring the capabilities to execute an antiaccess/area denial strategy against the United States, utilizing a vast number of precision-guided and nonsmart missiles, swarm boats, drones, submarines and mines.

As always, Iran benefits in any A2/AD campaign from the geography of the Iranian coastline; in The Revenge of Geography, Robert Kaplan observed of Iran’s coastline, “its bays, inlets, coves, and islands [make] excellent places for hiding suicide, tanker-ramming speed-boats.” He might have added hiding ground-launched missile systems.

Michael Connell, director of the Iranian Studies Program at CNA, further reflected: “Geography is a key element in Iranian naval planning. The Gulf’s confined space, which is less than 100 nautical miles wide in many places, limits the maneuverability of large surface assets, such as aircraft carriers. But it plays to the strengths of Iran’s naval forces, especially the IRGCN. The Gulf’s northern coast is dotted with rocky coves ideally suited for terrain masking and small boat operations. The Iranians have also fortified numerous islands in the Gulf that sit astride major shipping lanes.”

All of this plays into an Iranian A2/AD strategy. Back in 2012, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) studied how Iran would use A2/AD against the United States, stating:

Iran… is developing an asymmetric strategy to counter U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf. This strategy may blend irregular tactics and improvised weapons with technologically advanced capabilities to deny or limit the U.S. military’s access to close-in bases and restrict its freedom of maneuver through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s ‘hybrid’ A2/AD strategy could exploit the geographic and political features of the Persian Gulf region to reduce the effectiveness of U.S. military operations. Such an approach may not, in itself, be a war-winning strategy for Iran. Significantly raising the costs or extending the timelines of a U.S. military intervention may, however, create a window of opportunity for Iran to conduct acts of aggression or coercion.”

As this implies, the United States would sustain significant damage and casualties trying to establish a beachhead in southern Iran. America’s challenges would not end with establishing this beachhead, however, as it would still have to conquer the rest of Iran.

Once again, geography would work to Iran’s advantage, as almost all of Iran’s major cities are located in the north of the country, and reaching them would be a herculean challenge under the best of circumstances. For starters, the terrain—as always—would be challenging to transverse with a large invading force. More importantly, Iran is enormous. As Stratfor notes, “Iran is the 17th largest country in world. It measures 1,684,000 square kilometers. That means that its territory is larger than the combined territories of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal—Western Europe.”

Of course, U.S. forces would not be operating under the best of circumstances. In fact, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has long planned on mounting an insurgent and guerrilla campaign against an invading force trying to reach Iran’s northern cities from its coastlines. Referred to by the IRGC as a “mosaic defense,” the plan would incorporate the joint efforts of the IRGC, Basij and regular armed forces. Connell describes it as follows:

The mosaic defense plan allows Iran to take advantage of its strategic depth and formidable geography to mount an insurgency against invading forces…. As enemy supply lines stretched into Iran’s interior, they would be vulnerable to interdiction by special stay-behind cells, which the IRGC has formed to harass enemy rear operations.

The Artesh, a mix of armored, infantry and mechanized units, would constitute Iran’s initial line of defense against invading forces. IRGC troops would support this effort, but they would also form the core of popular resistance, the bulk of which would be supplied by the Basij, the IRGC’s paramilitary volunteer force. The IRGC has developed a wartime mobilization plan for the Basij, called the Mo’in Plan, according to which Basij personnel would augment regular IRGC units in an invasion scenario.

IRGC and Basij exercises have featured simulated ambushes on enemy armored columns and helicopters. Much of this training has been conducted in an urban environment, suggesting that Iran intends to lure enemy forces into cities where they would be deprived of mobility and close air support. Iran has emphasized passive defense measures—techniques used to enhance the battlefield survivability —including camouflage, concealment and deception.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States found that conquering a country is the easy part. It’s the occupation that proves costly. While occupying Iran would be at least as difficult as the Iraqi and Afghan occupations, even invading Iran would prove enormously challenging. Consequently, while conquering Iran is the most sustainable way to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon, Washington is unlikely to attempt to do so anytime soon.

This first appeared in 2015 and is being reposted due to breaking news.

The Destruction of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17)

Russia’s New Nuclear Weapon Could Make America Uninhabitable

Key point: This is a weapon of last resort. Total overkill.

On May 22, 2018, the Russian submarine Yuri Dolgoruky slipped beneath the waves of the Arctic White Sea. Hatches along the submerged boat’s spine opened, flooding the capacious tubes beneath. Moments later, an undersea volcano seemingly erupted from the depths.

Amidst roiling smoke, four stubby-looking missiles measuring twelve-meters in length emerged one by one. Momentarily, they seemed on the verge of faltering backward into the sea before their solid-fuel rockets ignited, propelling them high into the stratosphere. The four missiles soared across Russia to land in a missile test range on the Kamchatka peninsula, roughly 3,500 miles away.

Like the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) operated by United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, and India, the primary purpose of Borei-class submarines is almost unimaginably grim: to bring ruin to an adversary’s cities, even should other nuclear forces be wiped out in a first strike. 

Each of the submarine’s sixteen R-30 Bulava (“Mace”) missiles typically carries six 150-kiloton nuclear warheads designed to split apart to hit separate targets. This means one Borei can rain seventy-two nuclear warheads ten times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on cities and military bases over 5,800 miles away.

The Borei is the most advanced SSBN in the Russian Navy, and is designed to replace its seven Soviet-era Delta-class SSBNs. Throughout most of the Cold War, Soviets submarines were noisier than their Western counterparts, and thus vulnerable to detection and attack by Western attack submarines.

This problem was finally appreciated by the 1980s, when the Soviets managed to import technologies from Japan and Norway to create the Akula-class attack submarine, which finally matched the U.S. Navy’s workhorse Los Angeles-class attack submarines in acoustic stealth.

Concept work on the Project 955 Borei began during the 1980s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1996 cash-strapped Russia decided to lower costs by taking three incomplete Akula hulls and convert them into a revised Borei design.

Construction proceeded at Severodvinsk, and lead ship Yury Dolgoruky (named after the Russian prince who founded the city of Moscow) launched in 2008 and was commissioned five years later in January 2013.

An SSBN’s primary purpose is to remain undetected long enough to unleash its terrifying firepower—a strategy made easier thanks to their nuclear reactors allowing them remain submerged for months at a time. Towards that end, the Borei is designed to higher standards of acoustic stealth than Soviet-era designs, and is more capable of evading enemies that do get an inkling of its position.

The Borei’s sleek 170-meter-long hull is considered more typical of Western-style submarine engineering, than the boxier Delta-class. Both the hull and the machinery inside the gargantuan 24,000-ton (submerged) submarine are coated in sound-dampening rubber.

The Borei’s OKF-650B 190-megawatt reactor powers a pump-jet propulsion system that allows it to remain unusually quiet while cruising near its maximum underwater speed of thirty knots. This probably makes the Borei quieter, and able to remain discrete at higher speeds, than the propeller-driven Ohio-class submarine. Russian media claims its acoustic signature is one-fifth that of the Typhoon and Delta-IV class SSBN and that the Borei was also uniquely suited to perform nuclear deterrence patrols in the southern hemisphere, though Russian SSBNs have historically remained close to friendly waters for protection.

For defense against enemy ships and submarines, the Borei also has eight 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and six countermeasure launchers atop its bow. Should things go terribly wrong for the relatively small crew of 107, the Russian SSBN has a pop-out escape pod on its back.

Troubled Missiles

The Borei was originally intended to carry twelve larger and more advanced R-39 “Bark” submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). But the R-39 was canceled in 1998 after failing in three test launches.

Thus, the Borei had to be redesigned to carry sixteen smaller Bulava missiles derived from the land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile. The Bulava also proved very troubled, however, failing in ten out of twenty-seven test launches due to manufacturing defects. Two failures occurred after the Bulava was operationally deployed on the Borei in 2013.

The Bulava has an unusually shallow flight trajectory, making it harder to intercept, and can be fired while the Borei is moving. The 40-ton missiles can deploy up to forty decoys to try to divert defensive missiles fire by anti-ballistic missiles systems like the Alaska-based Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

However, publicized specifications imply the R-30 may be nearly four times less accurate than the Trident D5 SLBMs on U.S. and British submarines, with only half of shots landing within 350 meters of a target. This implies the R-30 is a purely strategic weapon lacking the precision to reliably take out hardened military targets like nuclear silos in a first-strike scenario.

The New Generation Borei-A

Of the three active Boreis, the Yuri Dologoruky is based at Ghadzhievo (near Murmansk) assigned to the Northern Fleet, while the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh are part of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vilyuchinsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Between 2012 and 2016, the Severomash shipyard laid down five new generation Project 955A Borei-II/Borei-A submarines. Lead boat Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) launched in 2017 and is due to be commissioned in 2019.

While retaining the same basic tear-drop profile, Knyaz Vladimir appears to be six meters longer based on satellite photos. The 955’s distinctive forward-slanted sail (conning tower) has been replaced with a more conventional tapered design in the 955A. As you can see in this diagram, 955A’s tail has a larger pump jet, an all-moving rudder and new end plates to its horizontal fins for improved maneuverability. A new long blister on the lower hull may house an improved flank-array sonar, or serve as a stowage hangar. You can see detailed imagery, deck plans and analysis of the Borei-A at the website Covert Shores.

Other upgrades include modernized combat, sensor and communications systems, improved acoustic stealth and crew habitability. One Russian source claims the new model is optimized “to decrease launch time to the minimum.”

All five Boreis-A are due to be commissioned by 2021, though Russian shipbuilding frequently falls behind schedule. Nonetheless, given the Russian Navy has had to cancel, downsize or downgrade numerous projects in the last few years, the money invested in completing the subs testifies to the importance Moscow places on submarine nuclear deterrence. The boats cost slightly less than half the cost of their American Ohio-class counterparts at $890 million, but Moscow’s defense budget is only one-twelfth that of the United States.

The eight Boreis would maintain, but not expand, on a standing force of eight Russian SSBNs evenly split between the Pacific and Northern fleets—enough for multiple submarines to perform deterrence patrols at the same time.

Russian media has variously indicated two or six more Boreis could be built in the mid to late 2020s, for a total of ten to fourteen Boreis of both types. Two of these could potentially be a cruise-missile-carrying Borei-K variant that would parallel the U.S. Navy’s Ohio-class SSGN cruise missile submarines.

However, the Borei represents only half of the Russian Navy’s future sea-based nuclear deterrence force. The other half will come from a unique fleet of four Khaborovsk-class submarines each carrying six nuclear-powered Poseidon drone-torpedoes designed to swim across oceanic distances to blast coastal cities and naval bases with megaton-yield warheads. Moscow, it seems, would like a little more redundancy in its ability to end civilization as we know it in the event of a nuclear conflict.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This first appeared in June 2019 and is being republished due to reader interest..

Iran Prepares for War (Daniel)

Iranian general warns broad response awaits any U.S. military move

TEHRAN – Should the Americans think of orchestrating a plot against Iran, they will be faced with the Iranian nation’s response from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, says Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

“The Americans [should] take the remarks of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah seriously …. Any anti-Iranian move will transform the [entire] region,” Rahim Safavi said on Friday at the Friday prayers in Tehran.

The Americans know well that we are endowed with a wise and courageous leader and powerful armed forces,” he said. “Iran’s policy is to establish peace and sustainable security in the West Asia region through the withdrawal of transgressive foreign forces.”

General Rahim Safavi also advised U.S. President Donald Trump to learn from the fate of his predecessors, who tried in vain to exert their political will on the Iranian nation and government.

“Trump will go down in history with his pipe dream of subduing the Iranian nation,” asserted Safavi, who was chief of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) from 1997 to 2007.

The Iranian general made the remarks a day after Washington said it was seeking to create an anti-Iran coalition. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had claimed that the initiative was “aimed at achieving peace.”

Washington’s so-called “coalition” announcement came in response to an attack led by Yemeni Armed Forces against Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

The attack effectively halved the kingdom’s oil production.

The Yemenis officially took credit for the attacks, but Pompeo swiftly blamed Iran. Furthermore, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” for a response at the behest of the Arab kingdom, although he later said that he wanted no conflict with any country.

Tensions have significantly risen as a result of the accusations leveled against Iran, which Tehran has rejected, calling them an attempt by the White House to shift from a failed campaign of “maximum pressure” to one of “maximum deceit” against the Islamic Republic.

Despite Iran’s denial and the Yemenis’ claiming of responsibility, the U.S. accusation against Iran has prompted speculation that America may take military action against Iran or Iranian interests.

In a tweet on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the remnants of the B-Team plus its ambitious allies are trying to deceive President Trump into a war with Iran.

“For their own sake, they should pray that they won’t get what they seek,” he tweeted. “They’re still paying for much smaller #Yemen war they were too arrogant to end 4yrs ago.”

The “B-team” is a term thrown into popular usage by Zarif. It refers to a group of politicians who share an inclination toward potential war against Iran, and the letter “b” in their names. They include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and, former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton.


More Protests Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Over 8,000 Palestinians take part in weekly protests along Gaza border

76 said hurt by IDF fire as rioters attack soldiers with explosive devices and rocks, attempt to sabotage fence

By TOI staff20 Sep 2019, 6:11 pm

Over 8,000 Palestinians took part in weekly protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel on Friday afternoon.

Some of the Gazans attacked Israeli soldiers with improvised explosive devices and rocks, and others attempted to sabotage the security fence.

Palestinians reported that 76 people were hurt by the IDF response, 48 of them from live fire.

Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up

The demonstrations come after a week in which seven Palestinians were wounded when a rocket fired from the Strip towards Israel exploded near a house inside the coastal enclave.

Palestinian eyewitnesses said two of the three rockets struck outside a home in the southern city of Rafah Wednesday, and a third fell near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Last Friday, several thousand Palestinians protested along the Gaza border, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that war with terror groups in the Gaza Strip could break out “at any moment.”

Some 4,000 people took part in the demonstrations, with several hundred rioting and throwing rocks and explosive devices at Israel Defense Forces troops who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said 30 people had been wounded, including 15 from live fire.

Earlier in the month two Palestinian teens were killed in clashes which the IDF called “especially violent.”

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

The Asymmetric Fury of the Iranian Horn

Image result for iran missilesHow Iran Would Unleash an ‘All Out War’: Lots of Missiles

Key Point: Iran’s interest in ballistic missiles has its origins in the 1980–88 Iran-Iraq War.

Like the rest of the Iranian Armed Forces, the Iranian Air Force was crippled by postrevolution purges. Although numerically and technologically superior to the Iraqi Air Force, Iran was unable to achieve air superiority and unable to accurately strike targets deep within Iraq.

In response, Iran purchased a number of Soviet R-17 (“Scud B”) short-range ballistic missiles from the Libyan government. These strikes, as well as retaliatory strikes by Iraqi ballistic missiles, constituted the so-called “War of the Cities.” The lack of accuracy of the missiles made cities the easiest targets, and both Iranian and Iraqi civilians bore the brunt of the crude missile campaign.

The wartime need for ballistic missiles, as well as Iran’s historical enmity with Israel, led Iran to develop its own missile industry. The first missiles were copies of existing Scud missiles. The Shahab (“Shooting Star”)-1 missile is based on the Scud-B; the Nuclear Threat Initiative estimates Iran maintains an inventory of two to three hundred missiles. The liquid-fueled Shahab-1 can loft a two-thousand-pound high-explosive or chemical warhead up to 186 miles, but like the original Scud-B, its accuracy is lacking. Just half of the warheads from a Shahab-1 would land within a half mile of the target—the rest landing even farther away. Another version, Shahab-2, has a range of 310 miles. Both versions are likely being phased out in favor of a new generation of solid-fuel rockets.

A third missile, Shahab-3, is actually a variant of North Korea’s Nodong-1 missile. Also developed from the Scud, the Nodong-1 has its origins in Pyongyang’s desire to hit U.S. bases in Japan from the Korean Peninsula. There are differing claims to the distance the Shahab-3 can deliver payloads. The Nuclear Threat Initiative states that it has a maximum range of 621 miles, which falls short of the Nodong-1’s range. The Center for Strategic and International Studies states that the Nodong-1 has a range of 932 miles, but credits the Shahab-3 a range of 1,242 miles, a significant improvement.

While the Nodong-1/Shahab-3 offers greater range than previous missiles, it is miserably inaccurate, with half of warheads expected to fall within 1.5 miles of the target and the other half even farther away. The first Iranian test of the Shahab-3 was in 1998, and the missile was declared operational in 2003. Arms-control experts theorize North Korea sold Iran a complete Nodong assembly line, while others believe Iran received approximately 150 missiles in return for financing development of the missile.

The Shahab-3 has spawned at least one variant, the Ghadr-1, which has a slightly shorter range but is reportedly much more accurate, to within six hundred feet. A new warhead developed for both missiles, known as Emad, appears to bring even greater stability, maneuverability and accuracy to Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles.

Iranian missile development took a giant leap with the fielding of the Sejil medium-range missile. Unlike previous liquid-fueled missiles, the solid-fueled Sejil does not have to be fueled before launch and can be stored ready to fire. A Sejil missile in the field also does not need a telltale convoy of refueling vehicles that can be spotted by enemy forces. Iran’s solid-fuel expertise is thought to have come from China in a late 1980s technology transfer.

First tested in 2008, the Sejil carries a one- to two-thousand-pound warhead and has a range identical to the older Shahab-3. Sejil may in fact be a replacement for the older missile. While the Sejil’s accuracy is unknown, it could hardly be worse than its liquid-fueled predecessor. There are unconfirmed reports of longer-range variants. A missile named Sejil-2 was reportedly tested in 2009, and a three-stage Sejil-3 with a 2,400-mile range is reportedly in development.

According to a 2005 report in Germany’s Bild Zeitung newspaper, Iran imported eighteen Musudan intermediate-range missiles in kit form from North Korea. The existence of these missiles was disputed for years, but an April 2017 launch was said by U.S. government officials to be a Khorramshahr, allegedly the local name for the Musudan. The Iranian missile apparently flew for six hundred miles before it exploded, a level of success North Korea itself did not experience until its sixth Musudan test. This is an unusual discrepancy, and could be indicative that the test was of another missile type entirely. Unlike its other missiles, Iran has never publicly displayed a Musudan-type missile.

In the meantime, Iran has gone back and updated its fleet of short-range, or battlefield short-range, ballistic missiles. Tehran’s latest missile, the Zulfiqar, is also based on Chinese solid-fuel technology. The Zulfiqar can carry a thousand-pound high explosive or submunition warhead that Iran claims is accurate to within fifty to seventy meters. The missile has a range of 434 to 466 miles. While it has a smaller warhead than the Shahab-1 and -2, the Zulfiqar is much more accurate and has a greater range, making it a viable replacement for the older, liquid-fueled missiles.

Iran does not currently have an intercontinental ballistic missile. Could Tehran’s missiles someday reach Washington, DC? North Korea has demonstrated that even a determined country of limited means can build a credible missile program. The Nuclear Threat Initiative lists Shahab-5 and -6 missiles as possible ICBMs that have been mentioned in Iranian literature, but these names seem to be assigned to notional design goals and not operational missiles. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran has agreed to halt its nuclear-weapons development. Resumption of ICBM research and development would be a clue that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have reignited, something that would put the country on a collision course with the United States.

Iran’s ballistic-missile program began from a wartime requirement for a strategic terror weapon, and progressed to the development of nuclear delivery vehicle. Iran, like North Korea, is proof of the dangers of ballistic-missile proliferation, and how trade in even short-range missiles like the Scud can lead to the development of far more dangerous weapons down the road.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This first appeared back in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

The Persian Lion’s Fury

Image result for iran lion

Khamenei Adviser Says Saudis Have Learned ‘Not To Play With Lion’s Tail’

Radio Farda

The military adviser of Iran’s Supreme Leader has said, Saudi Arabia realized that “Playing with the lion’s tail is fraught with serious danger”.

Iran’s Fars news agency close to the Revolutionary Guards quoted Hossein Dehqan (Dehghan), an IRGC senior officer, as saying that if there is any actions against Iran, there will be no future for Saudi Arabia in the region.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s advisor Dehqan referring to the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities said that Riyadh “is lost and confused” and wants to blame Iran to save its reputation and honor.

Dehqan added that missiles used in the attack were manufactured by Yemen’s Houthis. Saudi Arabia displayed wreckage of missiles and drones trying to prove that the weapons used were Iranian.

Other senior Iranian officials have also argued that the weapons were made by Yemenis.

Immediately after the surprise attack the U.S. and later Saudi Arabia insisted the attack had not come from Yemen, as Houthis had claimed, but originated from the north. Om Thursday, CBS News quoted an unnamed U.S. official who said the weapons were fired form southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz.

Since the start of the war in Yemen in 2015 there have been many reports and claims that Houthi forces were using sophisticated Iranian weapons.

Why the Saudis are Afraid of Iran

Expert on why Saudi Arabia won’t explicitly blame Iran for attacks: ‘They would be toast’ | Fox News

September 19, 2019

On Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive,” a panel of experts analyzed the world response to last weekend’s crippling attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure and explained why the Saudi government seems hesitant to explicitly accuse Iran of carrying out the strikes.

If you look at the sophistication of the attack, the ranges of the weapons used, and how this was perpetrated, it can only be Iran really,” said Lt. Col. Dakota Wood, who is a retired Marine and Senior Research Fellow for Defense Program at the Heritage Foundation.

At a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the Saudis displayed broken and burned drones and pieces of a cruise missile that military spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki identified as Iranian weapons collected after the attack.  Tehran has denied that it carried out the attacks and Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility.

Speaking from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is responsible for the attack, telling reporters that the strike was “an act of war.”

It wasn’t immediately clear the extent of the damage from the drone attack. (US Official)

However, the Wall Street Journal notes that the Saudis have stopped short of explicitly accusing Iran of conducting the strikes.

Wood concluded that the Saudi’s are not pointing the finger squarely at Tehran because that may cause an escalation in an already fraught situation in the region.

“If [Saudi Arabia] names Iran as the aggressor then it’s beholden…that they have to respond in some ways,” Wood said, “Is their military, which is well-equipped, is it tactically competent? And then are they willing to suffer the consequences of some kind of a conflict when they are so dependent on this energy infrastructure.”

Judith Miller, Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Pulitzer-winning journalist and Fox News contributor said that the Saudis know that they are not able to defeat Iran in a full-blown conflict.

“The Saudis either don’t believe the Americans or don’t want to believe the Americans, because they don’t want to be saddled with the burden to respond militarily to Iran because they understand that in such a contest they would be toast,” said Miller.

Miller added that President Trump has found himself in a difficult situation, as members of his own party are pushing him to engage the Iranians over this aggression.

“It is the Republicans, Lindsey Graham, General Jack Keane…who really are demanding that something be done…lest we risk even more aggressive action on the part of the Iranians, who at this point may think that they can get away with everything.”

Recently, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lindsey Graham R-Sc., tweeted that the President’s “measured” response to the downing of a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz this summer emboldened the regime.

The President responded to Graham tweeting, “No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!”

Wall Street Journal Assistant Editorial Features Editor, Jason Willick added that Saudi Arabia’s apparent unwillingness to take on the Iranians may complicate the President’s plan to reduce the U.S. footprint in the Middle East.

“The strategy for us leaving could have been to empower allies…the Gulf States and Israel to create a balance of power with Iran and the question is if Iran is just going to totally break the balance then that’s not going to create more instability or a situation in which we can leave,” he said.

Iran Confirms Their Attack on Saudi Arabia (Daniel 8:4)

Saudi Arabia displays the wreckage of the Iranian weaponry

US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

Thursday, 19 September, 2019 – 09:00 –

Asharq Al-Awsat

An American report revealed Wednesday that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei had approved the attack against two Saudi Aramco oil facilities last week.

He gave his blessing “but only on the condition that it be carried out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement,” a US official told CBS News.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday displayed wreckage of Iranian cruise missiles and drones. The circuit boards can be reverse engineered to determine the exact route the weapons flew, said the report.

“But US officials said the most damning evidence is still unreleased satellite photos showing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard making preparations for the attack at Ahvaz Air Base in southwestern Iran,” it added.

The satellite photos were of no use in stopping the attack since their significance was not realized until after the fact, explained the report.

“We were caught completely off guard,” one US official said.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have pointed the finger at Iran for the September 14 raids, which hit the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output.

The French army spokesman said it sent seven experts to Saudi Arabia to join an investigation.

UN officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the attacks, which he described as an “act of war” against Saudi Arabia, would be a major focus of next week’s annual UN General Assembly meeting.

He had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Thursday, 19 September, 2019 – 08:45 –

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday that the Iran-backed Houthi militias’ claim of responsibility for the attack against Saudi Arabian oil facilities was “not very credible.”

“There is an international investigation, let’s wait for its results. I don’t have a specific opinion before these results”, he told C News television, adding the probe into the Saudi oil attacks will be fast.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have pointed the finger at Iran for the September 14 raids, which hit the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output.

The French army spokesman said it sent seven experts to Saudi Arabia to join the investigation.

UN officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the attacks, which he described as an “act of war” against Saudi Arabia, would be a major focus of next week’s annual UN General Assembly meeting.

He had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Pompeo Claims Iran Crossed the ‘Redline’

A satellite image of the Abqaiq processing plant in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. United States officials have blamed Iran for airstrikes there.

Pompeo Calls Attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘Act of War’ and Seeks Coalition to Counter Iran

By Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick, Edward Wong and Richard Pérez-Peña

Sept. 18, 2019
Updated 7:17 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Wednesday of carrying out an “act of war” with aerial strikes on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last weekend, as he met with Saudi leaders to discuss building a coalition to deter further attacks.

Mr. Pompeo’s condemnation was the strongest yet from any American official about the attack on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, which cut oil production, left two of the kingdom’s most vital facilities smoldering and exposed failures by the Saudis and their American allies in detecting an incoming aerial assault.

The attack also raised fears that tensions between the United States and Iran, which have been rising since President Trump abandoned the Iranian nuclear agreement last year, could escalate into a new war.

Despite Mr. Pompeo’s statement, President Trump pushed back against another American military entanglement in the Middle East, speaking only of unspecified new sanctions on Iran.

Asked about a possible retaliatory American attack on Iran, Mr. Trump told reporters in Los Angeles: “There are many options. There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that.”

In Saudi Arabia, military officials displayed parts of destroyed drones and cruise missiles that they said pointed to Iranian complicity. But they did not specify who exactly had carried out the attack, from where or what action they wanted the United States to take.

The attack shocked Saudi leaders and Trump administration officials, who have spent years casting Iran as the prime troublemaker in the Middle East and vowing to confront it forcefully. But as the days have passed since the strike, it has become clear that other factors are restraining them from putting bellicose rhetoric into action.

Mr. Trump, who ran on pledges to end America’s wars abroad, has indicated he would like another option short of dragging the United States into a military conflict over an attack that killed no Americans.

And as much as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, hates Iran’s rising regional influence, analysts said that he has reasons to tread carefully: The attack laid bare the kingdom’s vulnerabilities; Prince Mohammed questions the support he would get from the Trump administration in a real war with Iran; and further violence could dampen interest in his proposed public sale of stock in Aramco, the Saudi state oil monopoly.

The Aramco stock offering is central to Prince Mohammed’s plans for the country, which include diversifying the economy away from oil and creating more jobs for young Saudis.

Such caution toward Iran marks a U-turn for the 34-year-old crown prince, who has belittled Iran’s military abilities, compared its Supreme Leader to Hitler and suggested that Saudi Arabia would take the fight to Iran inside its own borders.

“We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia,” he told an interviewer in 2017. “We will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, and not in Saudi Arabia.”

Who Was Behind the Saudi Oil Attack? What the Evidence Shows American officials have offered only satellite photos, which analysts said were insufficient to prove where the attack came from, which weapons were used and who fired them.

But the attack showed that Iran, which has spent years building a network of allied armed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, can hit Saudi Arabia in its most sensitive spots, and in a way that gives Iran a level of deniability.

“He knows he has a lot to lose,” said Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, referring to Prince Mohammed. “You live in a castle with an arsonist next door, and the arsonist doesn’t have a castle — he has nothing to lose. And the arsonist has shown he can hit you again and again, with precision.”

The drones and cruise missiles said to have been used flew hundreds of miles undetected in a region dotted with American military bases. That raised questions about whether Saudi Arabia can protect itself even with American pledges of help, said Ali Shihabi, a Saudi commentator who speaks frequently with Saudi officials.

“The fact that this thing was able to slip through the American line of defense and then through the Saudi line of defense and hit with the precision that it did, frankly, it was an eye-opener,” he said. “So the question is can you get into a war today when you are not sure what the Americans will do?”

Both Prince Mohammed and Mr. Pompeo sought on Wednesday to frame the attack as the world’s problem.

In a phone call with the president of South Korea, Prince Mohammed called the attack “a true test of international will to confront sabotage that threatens international security and stability.”

In comments to reporters after a flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he met with Prince Mohammed, Mr. Pompeo accused Iran of having carried out the strikes.

“We were blessed there were no Americans killed in this attack,” he added, “but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always a risk that could happen.”

Instead of threatening a military response, Mr. Pompeo spoke of assembling an international coalition to deter further strikes, without specifying who it would include and what it might do.

“That’s my mission here, is to work with our partners in the region,” he said. He spoke of working with European countries and planned to visit the United Arab Emirates, a close Saudi ally, before returning to Washington.

The State Department said in a statement after their meeting that Mr. Pompeo and Prince Mohammed had “agreed that this was an unacceptable and unprecedented attack that not only threatened Saudi Arabian national security, but also endangered the lives of all the American citizens living and working in Saudi Arabia, as well as the world’s energy supply in general.”

It said they “discussed the need for the international community to come together to counter the continued threat of the Iranian regime.”

Earlier, at a news conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, the Saudi Defense Ministry provided new details about the weapons it said had been used and showed remnants of drone and cruise missiles it said were plainly of Iranian origin.

A ministry spokesman, Col. Turki al-Maliki, said 18 drones struck one site and four cruise missiles hit another, while three missiles had fallen short of their target.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, in Tehran on Wednesday. Mr. Rouhani has said he would meet President Trump only if sanctions were lifted first.

Saudi Arabia had yet to determine who exactly had launched the attack or from where, but he said it had come from the north, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, not the south, in the direction of Yemen.

The attack, Colonel al-Maliki said, “was unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”

American and Saudi officials have said previously that the attack used Iranian weapons. The Americans also have said that evidence, not yet made public, points to a strike launched from Iran.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been bombed by a Saudi-led coalition for more than four years, claimed credit for the attack while Iran, which backs the Houthis, has denied any responsibility. Iranian officials have said the attacks were in response to the deaths and destruction wrought by the Saudis in Yemen.

American and Saudi officials have said the Houthis possessed neither the sophistication nor the weapons to have carried out the aerial assault on the oil facilities, a point Mr. Pompeo reiterated on Wednesday.

“As for how we know, the equipment used is unknown to be in the Houthis’ arsenal,” he said.

The attack came amid tensions that have been rising between the Trump administration and Iran since President Trump renounced the 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in return for economic relief. Since then, the United States has been applying a strategy of “maximum pressure” of economic sanctions to punish Iran for what the Trump administration considers its malign activities in the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he had told the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran.” It was not immediately clear how extensive the latest round of penalties would be, but Mr. Trump said details would be released within 48 hours.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran responded on Twitter that Mr. Trump was “escalating U.S. economic war on Iranians.”

Mr. Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, have been expected to cross paths at the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York next week, and there was speculation this summer about a possible face-to-face encounter.

But on Wednesday, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that an Iranian advance team had been unable to travel to New York because the United States had not granted visas. As a result, it said, Mr. Rouhani and his delegation might not attend the gathering, which runs from Tuesday through the following Monday.

Mr. Pompeo declined to comment on the visa situation. Asked about it at the United Nations, Secretary General António Guterres told reporters he had been “in contact with the host state in order to solve all outstanding visa problems in relation to delegations,” and he hoped that would “solve the problem.”

A senior Trump administration official said that Iran had sought visas for 124 people to assist its delegation, and that the State Department had denied around 40 to those found linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the administration designated as a terrorist organization in April.

The State Department did not deny a visa to Mr. Zarif, the official said, although his movements are limited to the area close to the United Nations.

Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he is open to a meeting with Mr. Rouhani, which would be the first between leaders of the two countries after four decades of antagonism, but Mr. Rouhani has said the United States must first lift economic sanctions.

Mr. Rouhani sent a formal note on Monday to the United States denying an Iranian role in the Saudi attack and warning that any American action against Iran would bring retaliation, Iranian state news media reported on Wednesday. The note went through Swiss envoys who act as intermediaries because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

Follow Richard Pérez-Peña and Edward Wong on Twitter: @perezpena @ewong

Ben Hubbard, Rick Gladstone and Lara Jakes contributed reporting.