Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Of Saudi and Iranian ballistic missiles

By Mark Pyruz

There are differences in need and motives between the missile forces of Iran Saudi Arabia but also somewhat similarities. 

For the Iranians, effectively shut out from top-of-the-line strike aircraft and knowing from the experiences of their adversary Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War the consequences of having second-best combat aircraft (Iran fielded the F-14 and F-4), the Iranians reason that a more economical and effective means of strike capability comes in the form of ballistic and cruise missiles. There's also the added bonus of indigenous development and production: something that can not be taken away by the political disfavor of a foreign provider, as was the case when American defense manufacturers withdrew their support for purchased defense equipment following Iran's revolution. 

As for the Saudis, they possess a very different motive and reasoning but also rationales that are not too dissimilar from the Iranians. The Saudis have full access to Western defense providers and have purchased what appears on paper as a most impressive force of combat strike aircraft. So why should they also opt for a ballistic missile force or upgrade for such? For one, the Saudis have got to realize that without Western manufacturer and foreign logistical support, their combat aircraft are rendered idle on the ground. Undoubtably they've noticed the Iranian example, where far less training and maintenance is involved in possessing a ballistic missile force armed with conventional payloads. What's more, should war in the region come and as part of its second-strike Iran targeted energy production/transport corridors and fields within GCC territories, the Saudis have the option of a measured armed response to an Iranian ballistic missile attack, in kind, with a ballistic missile attack of their own. Additionally, for the Saudis, with their abundance of wealth, foreign-sourced defense purchases have always been used for the purposes of engaging political ties, and as such acquisition or upgrades for a ballistic missile force further enables ties with an Asian nation (such as a powerhouse like PRC), their militaries and their arms exporters. 

So one needn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that a nuclear yield is the intention down the road for either Saudi Arabia or Iran - both have other reasons in putting together such forces, with both provided with a level of deterrence, as well. 

I should say the recent flurry of interest in Saudi ballistic missiles is due to a piece written by Sean O'Connor and published in IHS Jane’s. Sean has to be amused with an Iranian response rendered today by FARS News Agency:
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi blasted the enemies' attempts to create tension between Iran and its neighbors, and said Tehran is studying the alleged satellite photos released by a British security consultancy showing Saudi missiles have been aimed at Iran.
"We are evaluating the images, but what is important to us is the question why these photos should be released under such conditions to inspire (people with) the impression that rivalry and tension between the two great countries of the Muslim world is so wide that they have targeted their missiles at each other," Araqchi said in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
He described the release of such photos as a conspiracy to increase tension in the Persian Gulf region and between two important regional countries under such circumstances that Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani, who has vowed to improve relations with the regional states, specially Saudi Arabia, is due to take power.
Sean is certainly a competent observer and analyst. Previously he was the first open source analyst to detect Iran's ballistic missile silos located in the rocky terrain of East Azerbaijan province.

File photo: Amir Kholoosi at Iranian Students News Agency


Anonymous said...

The GLARING difference is that the Iranian missiles are domestically manufactured and backed up by a first rate military-industrial infrastructure, while Saudi petro-pimps have Chinese missiles and Pakis operating them. Good Lord indeed help them if they ever have to fire them. In any case, both Saudi and Qatari regional "aims" are down the sewer as these Bedouin pip-squeaks now know that they are worth nothing with puny uneducated populations. Iran could literally wipe them out in a mere few hours as a Russian general had made a similar prediction about what Russia could do both the Saudi and Qatari pimps in a few hours.

For Qatar, the turn of events in Egypt is the most significant, but it is only one in a series of recent reverses to Doha’s activist foreign policy agenda. Given the timing and magnitude of the crisis, it will inevitably push the emirate to urgently reassess its regional stance.

Events are not moving Qatar’s way in Egypt or in Syria. Making matters worse, one of the emirate’s principal sources of soft power, its Al Jazeera network, is the target of anger and bitterness for its editorial line in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar has come to be seen as the enemy by many opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, a risky and rather ironic position for a regime that sought to place itself on the winning side of the Arab revolutions.

All of this is happening as Qatar inaugurates a new leader, making this the perfect time for Doha to make a sharp, if discreet, pivot away from the Muslim Brotherhood.

The time may have come, in fact, for Qatar to start walking more quietly in its raucous neighborhood. There are already signs that the emirate is preparing for a period of more inward-looking policymaking.

Over recent years, the minuscule, superwealthy emirate perched on the tip of a Persian Gulf peninsula within a few miles of both Saudi Arabia and Iran has leveraged its vast oil and gas revenues to become a force on the global stage. Qatar, a country no larger than a city, has wielded influence on a par with its full-size neighbors.

Qatar’s just-retired emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, took power from his father in a 1995 palace coup. Since then, he engaged in a process of rapid economic growth with a brazenly independent foreign policy and a dramatic impact on the regional balance of power. Hamad agreed to host a giant American military base. At the same time he improved relations with Iran, visited Gaza and angered his neighbors with the groundbreaking journalism of Al Jazeera and support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar’s limelight diplomacy also put the emirate at the center of efforts to bring reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Both efforts have so far failed.

Anonymous said...

The saudi force as it currently stands is tiny compared to irans,the guestimates range from a low of 50 to a maximum of 100.An interesting thing to emerge from saudi recently was a photograph of the presentation of a model display case that featured the df3 missile plus two unknown missile types,what are they and who supplied them?

Anonymous said...

Releasing this report at this point in time must be carefully examined, as to the intent and purpose. Hassan Rouhani is seriously preaching improving relation with neighbours, hope this in not a propangada to kill effort just before it kick start?


Anonymous said...

the Saudi force is not going to stay as small as it is and the Saudis don't have to entirely rely on their own force, as they have allies and would be protected against an aggressor by a stronger force than the aggressor could bring to bear.

one of the several important reasons that the world objects to Iran's regime possessing nuclear weaponry is that it would lead to the Saudis going out and buying nuclear weapons......and that would mean two vile regimes would have become much more of a pain

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous attempt of "Divide and rule" in the region.

Wherever the Brits set foot on they instigated differences to cause conflicts, mostly religiously natured...

In subcontinent India for instance, as soon as they were shown the door, the Hindus and Moslems started to kill each other..(they were living together for centuries)

In Ireland again, as soon as they were shown the door, Catholics and Protestant started to kill each other..(they were one nation for centuries with no problems)

In Iraq again, the moment they were thrown out (or left as they claim) Shia and Sunnis began killing each other. (they were one Arab nation up until then)

Now its on a larger scale with the idiots in the KSA, but I know Iranians are cleverer to allow the Saudis to sit on this massive dildo.

Azari by fortune and Iranian by Grace of God
Dariush London

Anonymous said...

There's no way the Persians will be able to hold the Arabs in a shooting war. It was the Arabs who afterall subjugated the Persians and forcefully converted them to their religion years before the advent of guns and bullets. If anything it goes to show the brave and warlike nature of the Arabs. Saudi Arabia don't really need any help from any Western nation in dealing with the Persians. They have superior weaponry far more advanced than anything the Persians have. Advanced weapons always trumps over hordes of poorly armed and inadequately supported troops. One only need to study the Iran-Iraq war to realize that fact.

Need i say more? Or are the present conditions obvious to folks out there, hm?

Anonymous said...

When did you get your last shipment of Khat from Yemen? The Arabs have not won a war in 1400 years. The Saudis are a family franchise with barely 6 million local born illiterate Bedouins and 15,000 incestuous "royals". Have you ever taken the time out without hallucinogens to realize that Iran literally fought the whole world in 1980-88 and still did not bend. Iran was even subjected to real WMD with mass gas attacks since 1983 and they still could not defeat Iran.

Ever wonder what happened to your buddy Saddam and Iraq? Some of you hasbara types are hilarious.

Anonymous said...

"Iran literally fought the whole world in 1980-88"

So Iraq supplied with US weapons = fighting the whole world? Also, 8 years! How long did it take the US to sweep Saddam away? It'll be the same for Iran. Mark Pyruz's precious construction projects will be wiped from the map.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should study it yourself before you go around spouting hysterical nonsense. The Saudis for all their advanced equipment couldn't beat the Houthi, and you claim they can take on a real army? A laughable claim. Arabs can't fight, they've already proved this twice in the last 50 years. As you may recall, the Saudis went running to the US when Saddam came knocking on their door.

Anonymous said...

Qatar was ‘making too many enemies’: New emir, new foreign policy will be more balanced with better relations with regional superpower Iran.

With both Qatar and Saudi Arabia drifting apart over their failures in Syria. Qatar’s new emir has lowered his nation’s profile in the Middle East.

Western diplomats and analysts said Emir Tamim Bin Khalifa has
ordered a new foreign policy in wake of his dismissal of Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim in June.

The policy was said to have been drafted in the spring of 2013 before Tamim succeeded his father, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. The diplomats said Tamim and Hamad agreed that Qatar’s pro-Islamist intervention in such countries as Egypt, Libya and Syria was angering Doha’s allies while exposing the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council emirate to an Iranian backlash. Iran with its overwhelming size and large population dwarfs the small vulnerable oil-rich Persian Gulf family run emirates and can exert immense pressure as pax-America faces a permanent sunset in the world.

As a result, Qatar decided to reduce its profile in the largely foreign based Wahabbi terror campaign in Syria as well as in Egypt. The diplomats said Doha was also distancing itself from its longtime and larger rival Saudi Arabia, which became the main supporter of the Syrian rebels and has been instrumental in recruiting the Taliban and other Wahabbi groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maghreb and Caucasus. Both Qatari and Saudi sponsorship of Salafi terrorism in Syria and the region has drawn particular ire from both China and Russia. A Russian airforce general even going to the extent of threatening both with devastating airstrikes that would overthrow the fragile monarchies in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

But one of the first decisions taken by Tamim, for the last five years
in charge of internal security, was to restrict Taliban. Diplomats said
Qatar forced the closure of the Taliban office — called “the Islamic
Emirate of Afghanistan” — on request from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. “Tamim understood that a Taliban presence could eventually destabilize the country and bring terrorism home ,” a Persian Gulf defence analyst said.

The diplomats said the regime change in Qatar could serve to ease
tension with such countries as Egypt, Iran and the United States. Egypt and
Iran have been angered by Qatar’s financing of Islamist militias while
Washington was unhappy with Qatar’s aid to Al Qaida-aligned groups.

Turkey, however, appeared troubled by the departure of Hamad Bin Jassim.
The analysts said under the outgoing prime minister, Ankara and Doha
coordinated in helping Salafis in Syria and the Hamas regime in the
Gaza Strip. “Qatar’s active foreign policy has come to an end,” Sinan Ulgen,
chairman of the Istanbul-based Center for Economic and Foreign Policy
Studies, said. “With the new ruler, it is not possible to see Qatar playing
an active role in regional issues, including Syria — a situation which
would have a negative impact on Turkey’s foreign policy.”

Anonymous said...

Buying nuclear weapons!?...I think you need to lay off the Tom Clancy.Who exactly would be selling the saudis these mythical nuclear weapons?,the pakistanis perhaps?,as it is the pakistanis are already seen as being a very unreliable nuclear power,if they did something that stupid it would only confirm the worlds worst fears about pakistan and its lack of nuclear security.If the saudis want the bomb they`ll have to build it and before they can do that they`ll have to build the industrial infrastructure to build a bomb thats assuming someone will sell it to them.There is almost no comparison between iran and saudi be it in their systems of government or their industrial or nuclear infrastructure,the iranians are years if not decades ahead

Anonymous said...

The saudis look good on paper but whether they can actually use it effectively is anyones guess,combine that with a military leadership chosen for their loyalty to the house of saud rather than any real ability,in addition the saudis still require considerable foreign help for logistics and maintenance of much of their military

Anonymous said...

Some of the silly comments here show an acute ignorance of military strategic calcualus. Even by western estimates by strategic think tanks like SIPRI, IISS and global firepower Iran ranks in the top ten military powers by the sheer dint of its massive size, popultion, educated manpower, military-industrial base, mega-energy resources and above all a very nationalistic and motivated Artesh (military) and Sepah. Most of the Arab puppet states simply lack the manpower or education to create a tecically savvy military and have to rely on mercenaries, mostly under-fed and illiterate Pakis and US thugs. BTW, an interesting NATO report today confirmed what the adults have known all along;

NATO: Assad, Russia and Iran are prevailing in Syria

LONDON — NATO has determined that President Bashar Assad ended
any short- or mid-term threat from the mostly foreign recruited Salafi terrorists in Syria.

Defence officials said NATO, in consultation with Western intelligence agencies,
assessed that the Salafi terrorist campaign against President Bashar al Assad failed and the disparate and now desperate terrorist groups are now busy killing each other and the combined might of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraq methodically wears them down by isolating in penny packets and then eliminating them by massive firepower by a very determined,well-trained, experienced and motivated Shia military alliance.

The officials said Assad’s military, backed by experienced Iranian commanders and special forces and Russia's Caucasus veterans, have now captured major rebel strongholds with the exception of northern Syria and by the end of 2013 will be able to rout the Salafi groups from there as well as the mostly Afghan, Pakistani, Chechen and Maghreb Salafis are now increasingly hated by the Syrian population after widespread rapes, murders, looting and atrocities. Syrian Kurds have launched their own offensive against the Salafi groups with the help of Iraqi and Turkish Kurdish brethren. Iranian special forces of Kurdish origin are playing an increasing role in organizing Syrian Kurds against Salafi groups.

" The tide seems to have shifted in his [Assad] favor,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 18.

NATO officials said the assessment led to a decision by several leading NATO countries to halt lethal weapons shipments to the Salafi rebels. They cited
Britain, France and the United States.

“The rebel campaign has deteriorated dramatically since April and now it’s not clear who is fighting Assad or who is just getting a paycheck,” an official said.

The NATO assessment asserted that most of the Syrians involved in the
revolt — including those in the Free Syrian Army — were no longer
fighting the Assad regime. Instead, the bulk of combat has been assumed by
foreign fighters, most of them affiliated with Al Qaida and Saudi Wahhabi terrorists.

“The Salafis are frustrated and angry at the world for not
stepping in and helping,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a
tour of a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. “I explained to them I don’t think
it’s as cut and dry and as simple as some of them look at it.”

In mid-July, both Britain and France signaled their opposition to any
weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels. Officials said the two countries,
which until June were the most supportive of arming the opposition,
determined that any major weapons shipments could end up with Al Qaida

“There are certain conditions that need to be met before eventually
sending weapons,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

“For now France has not modified its position. We have the ability to do it,
but we haven’t delivered any lethal weapons.”

It is now quite apparent that President Assad has prevailed and Iranian and Russian calculations have been proven right.

Anonymous said...

Saudi "missile base" photographs reveal a very antiquated set-up

Saudi Arabia has a ballistic missile facility near the town of Al-Watah, 200 km west-southwest of Riyadh, IHS Jane's proudly boasted.

Satellite imagery taken on 21 March 2013 shows the previously undisclosed Al-Watah surface-to-surface missile complex in Saudi Arabia. (IHS/DigitalGlobe)Satellite imagery taken on 21 March 2013 shows the previously undisclosed Al-Watah surface-to-surface missile complex in Saudi Arabia. (IHS/DigitalGlobe)

Satellite imagery shows the Al-Watah site differs in layout from the two previously identified launch sites for the antiquated DF-3 intermediate-range ballistic missiles that Saudi Arabia reportedly acquired from China in the 1980s. Most notably, it does not appear to have a garrison complex or even a launch preparation facility that older liquid fueled missiles take hours to prepare.

Nevertheless, this unmanned and ancient base has two large primitive launch pads that are identical to ones that can be seen at Chinese DF-3 bases.

The liquid-fuelled DF-3 was an early Chinese nuclear weapon delivery system and is theoretically believed to have a range of at least 2,000 km with a 2,000 kg warhead.

However, considering the lack of Saudi domestic military expertise or qualified technical infrastructure it is highly doubtful that these facilities could launch an single missile, let alone face the wrath of several thousand sold fuel and highly advanced Iranian or Israeli missiles. This whole discovery seems to be a red herring.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt saudi arabia at the current time will annihilate Iran in a matter of weeks.
We have all what it takes to do so. You assume the old picture of saudi arabia, the country now isn't what it was and we are united when it comes to foreign invasion, especially speaking about Iran. Everyone knows about the tension with Iran so when the spark gets lit by Iran; as im sure saudi arabia will not start any war, the outcome will be disastrous for Iran.
The airforce of saudi arabia is our pride. most of the military focus is on it.
Lack of domestic military expertise? its been 20 years, even an irani would learn after than long. We dont need to talk about our own powers and strengths like Iran always tries helplessly to prove with its fake projects and toy planes. we have all the power we need and above all of that we have the motivation to fight whomever attacks us. Iran's problem doesn't seem to be the leadership and this is quite clear to everyone here, Iran hates Suni people, they hate that we control the region, they hate that we have allies, and that we have the holy mosques. We have Pakistan in our side, we will smack you from front and they will butt fuck you from behind. let alone the whole region will gang bang you, egypt, jordan,sudan,morocco,kuwait, UAE, every muslim nation has its old ties with Saudi arabia. The problem is you assume Suni people hate the prophet and his family,well guess what,we dont!!! we love them probably more than you. We just dont worship them like you do. we have one god and he is the only one we worship, my friend is a direct descendant from the prophet, and his family is famous in saudi arabia, there is no doubt i love him and will treat him differently. we dont give two fucks about yazid or muawiya, we only know mohammed pbuh and we respect and love his family including his wives and his friends whom he trusted. but no, you guys have to prove your love by bending over and allowing everyone who claim al-albait your money and women.We are proud people, we are muslim, we have matured and grown. so wake up and cut the crap. Wars are won by the people, not by toys.

Anonymous said...

Persians have always been slaves for Arabs and they'll always be like that. Nothing is going to change, Arabs made Persia an islamic country and that is a favor that should not be forgotten by Iran.