A pending Hugo Missile Crisis?
Two things I would imagine have the Obama administration breathing a sigh of relief, both via the UK Telegraph;
Asked at a senate hearing about Tehran’s missile capability, James Miller, principal deputy undersecretary of defence for policy, said current estimates indicate “that it could potentially be as soon as 2015 [where a missile from Iran could reach the US].”
This would put it well past Obama’s hoped for re-election date, sigh number one.
Last week, General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a senate hearing that Iran could make enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb in one year but would most likely not be able to field a usable weapon for three to five years.
Again, clearing the pesky 2012 re-election bid, this is sigh number two. All things are political.
Now for the monkey wrench, courtesy of Bill Gertz;
Iran is increasing its paramilitary Qods force operatives in Venezuela while covertly continuing supplies of weapons and explosives to Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Pentagon’s first report to Congress on Tehran’s military.
The report on Iranian military power provides new details on the group known formally as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Islamist shock troops deployed around the world to advance Iranian interests. The unit is aligned with terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, North Africa and Latin America, and the report warns that U.S. forces are likely to battle the Iranian paramilitaries in the future.
Iran, currently the main nation supplying terrorists with both arms and technology in its proxy war with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, now has a Forward Operating Base in Venezuela. Call it “FOB Hugo” if it needs a good name.
Venezuela is within 1,900 kilometers of Florida at its closest point, putting it just out of range of the between 1,350 and 1,600 kilometer range for the Shahab 3 missile currently operational in the Iranian inventory.
Reportedly, Iran has developed a newer missile, the Ashoura, which supposedly has a range of between 2000 and 2500 km which pushes a strike farther up and into Georgia (from the closest point in Venezuela measured by the seat of my pants using Google Earth).
Realistically all this still puts a long range missile strike from Iran into the US even from Venezuela a distance off in time, but at worst case we’ll assume two to three years given all the logistics involved in transporting components from Iran to Venezuela, hiding them where they could be readily assembled and quickly deployed, not to mention everything still needs to be tested.
Forget the pending missile crisis for now and let’s look at the more immediate problem that being what Iran has done best; aiding and abetting the enemies of the US.
Mexico today is at war with insurgent drug lords who have both the money and desire to kill, and would welcome a more deadly arsenal, as that which Iran could readily provide may already have at FOB Hugo. All this is of course speculation on my part, but really, what else would you be doing if you were them? How long have the Iranians had boots on the ground in Venezuela, time enough to possibly even today have ties with the cartels in Mexico?
Today the violence has crept across the US border with Mexico, imagine how that violence would escalate if the bad guys had access to crew-served weapons, sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or even as has been suggested EFPs which would decimate a Mexican Army armored vehicle and Iran has perfected in its use against our troops in Iraq.
Senators McCain and Kyl have jointly called for the immediate deployment of 3,000 National Guard troops on the US/Mexico border in Arizona, which of course in McCain’s case has been taken as “electioneering”;
McCain, who has supported comprehensive reform in the past but has shied away from it this year, said Congress should not consider reform until the border is secure. “The lesson is clear: We have to secure the border,” he said.
Former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is running against McCain, accused him of changing his position for political purposes. Hayworth has made border security and illegal-immigration enforcement the center of his opposition to McCain. “Arizonans have long desired, and long deserved, to have a secure southern border. McCain’s effort today is born of political convenience – driven by his need for personal political gain,” Hayworth said in a statement.
Whatever the border outcome, the ball is rolling listlessly in Obama’s court as he eyes more social engineering and government control. Regulating salt and demonizing US ally Israel has taken priority to dealing effectively with a sworn enemy in Iran.
Now the enemy is in this hemisphere and creeping closer.