A macho show of firepower:
Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 that can reach Israel, in military maneuvers Thursday that it said were aimed at putting a stop to the role of world powers in the Persian Gulf region.
The show of strength came three days after U.S.-led warships finished naval exercises in the Gulf that Iran branded as “adventurist.” Iran remains locked in dispute with the West over its nuclear program, which Washington says is geared to producing atomic weapons but Tehran says is only for generating electricity.
Asked about Thursday’s maneuvers, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she thought the Iranians “are trying to demonstrate that they are tough.”
Israel is right–this is everyone’s problem:
In Israel, Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said he was not surprised by the missile tests, and warned that to leave Iran unchecked would pose a risk to the world.
“Iran is following a direct line after North Korea. Therefore this problem is not Israel’s but that of the entire world,” Ben-Eliezer said, referring to North Korea’s recent nuclear test and its frequent launches of long-range missiles.
Iran’s Shahab-3 missile, which can carrying a nuclear warhead and is believed to have a range of more than 1,240 miles, is believed to be based on North Korea’s Nodong missile. Iran is said to have funded the Nodong’s development.
Iran, which denies obtaining missile technology from North Korea, has been testing the Shahab-3, which means “shooting star” in Farsi, since the late 1990s and publicly paraded the rocket for the first time in 2003.
The Iranian missile tests “should bother not only Israel. It should bother the Arab countries, Islamic countries, the Gulf region, North Africa and Europe. We are always warning the world about this phenomenon called Iran,” Ben-Eliezer said. Iran already has held three large-scale military exercises this year.
Dan Riehl: “Sure wish the Dems could protect us … but then, they weren’t even for missile defense. Now were they?”
Meanwhile, the U.S. challenges Syrian, Iran, and Hiz’ballah of plotting to topple the Lebanese government.
And U.N. forces snooze:
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Despite the 20,000 troops deployed in southern Lebanon, the United Nations admits that weapons smuggling from Syria continues unhindered. A German report finds UNIFIL does not patrol after dark.
Hizbullah terrorists are free to roam at night without fear of being identified by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), according to a report by the German paper Der Spiegel.
Spanish UNIFIL official Richard Ortax admitted to the paper that no patrols are carried out at night “because of the danger involved.” UNIFIL commanders said their function is to “observe changes in the behavior of the local population.”
One junior officer told Der Spiegel he was glad that his battalion had only left its camp once. “It’s absurd,” he said. “We landed here and set up our tent city, but since then we’ve only left the camp to drive around and to make sure that we’re seen.”
The report cites a long tradition of UNIFIL inaction, which it says allowed time for a Finnish contingent to construct a giant sauna and an Indian contingent to decorate its base with traditional Indian artwork.
The UNIFIL troops and the 14,000 Lebanese soldiers stationed in the region add up to a total of around 20,000 troops in the 18-by 31-mile region of southern Lebanon. Another 6,000 troops are still expected to arrive.
The United Nations itself has admitted that Syria was still successfully smuggling arms to the Hizbullah, which neither UNIFIL nor the Lebanese army plan to stop.
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Categories: Condi Rice