Monday, October 12, 2009

No S-300 SAMs for Tehran

Debka is reporting here that the Russians have suspended shipments of the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. The ostensible reason for this is that they are attempting to sell the S-400 to the Saudis.

According to our Moscow sources, the Russians froze the transfers of anti-missile, anti-air missiles to Iran in the expectation of Saudi Arabia following through on negotiations for the purchase of the latest word in Russian anti-missile hardware, the S-400, which is more advanced than the S-300 system now withheld from Iran.

It has never been sold to a foreign government and even the Russian army has only two brigades armed with S-400 batteries. The Saudis insisted on making the transaction contingent on Moscow withholding the S-300 and Tor-M1 from Iran.

Analysis. One would have to question what the Saudis are doing here. If they want a superior SAM system what is wrong with the Patriot PAC-3 system which also has a short range anti-missile capability?

This could be a Saudi ploy to hold off deliveries of the S-300 and Tor-M-1systems to Iran and thereby keep the Iranians from having an air defense system that would present an attacker with unacceptable losses.

That is a distinct possibility given the current Israeli rhetoric about attacking Iran.

Ephraim Sneh is predicting an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites by Christmas if effective sanctions are not put in place by the United Nations. While Sneh is out of government at the moment, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he was “encouraged” to make such a statement

The Saudis are good negotiators. They can keep this thing tied up for a few months at the very least. That would be enough time for the Israelis to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities before the Iranians had possession of an effective counter to the IAF.

There is also some outside information that I believe applies here.

The Turks have refused to allow the Israelis to play in the forthcoming air defense exercises in Turkey.

As a result, the other major players have pulled out. With Turkey becoming at least mildly hostile to Israel, that probably eliminates any possibility of Israel using Turkish airspace for an attack on Iran.

Iraq is probably closed to them without United States approval of an attack on Iran. That leaves Saudi airspace as the only possibly non-hostile route to Iran.

In addition, the Saudis can monitor a whole lot of volume with their AWACS. They will know almost instantly when any raid of any size takes off from the Negev.

The Saudis can either publicize that fact to the World or provide battle management assistance.

Right now I’m voting for battle management assistance. I have personal experience working with the AWACS over Germany. These folks can see a very long way from 30,000 feet. The Iranians just managed to destroy their IL-76 Candid AWACS in a mid-air with an F-5E in a flyby over Tehran.

Source: World Threats

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