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U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf

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U.S. Extends Missile Buildup From Poland And Taiwan To Persian Gulf
Rick Rozoff

On January 20 Poland's Defense Ministry revealed that a U.S. Patriot missile battery previously scheduled to be stationed near the nation's capital will instead be deployed to a Baltic Sea location 35 miles from Russian territory; on January 29 the White House approved the transfer of 114 Patriot missiles to Taiwan as part of a $6.5 billion arms package that also includes eight warships the receiving nation plans to upgrade for the Aegis Combat System with the capacity for carrying Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) ship-based anti-ballistic missiles.

On January 22 head of the Pentagon's Central Command General David Petraeus told an audience at the private Institute for the Study of War that two warships equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System "are in the Gulf at all times now." [1] A news report on the same day remarked "That statement - along with the stationing of other U.S. air defense assets in the region - sends a strong signal to Iran...." [2]

The New York Times reported on January 30 that the U.S. was expediting the deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor missiles to four Persian Gulf nations - Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - thereby paralleling the combination of sea-based Aegis and land-based Patriot missiles intended for the Taiwan Strait aimed at China and in the Baltic Sea targeting Russia. The Gulf deployments are intended for use against Iran.

"One senior military officer said that General Petraeus had started talking
openly about the Patriot deployments about a month ago, when it became
increasingly clear that international efforts toward imposing sanctions against Iran faced hurdles...." [3]

On February 1 The Times of London commented on the coordinated interceptor missile plans: "Tensions in the Gulf between the US and Iran are set to rise further after it emerged that American-made anti-missile systems are to be deployed to Washington's Arab allies in the region.

"The Obama Administration said yesterday that it was speeding up arms sales to a number of states and that it had also deployed warships in the Gulf...."

As in the Baltic Sea and Taiwan, PAC-3 missiles - "dedicated almost entirely to the anti-ballistic missile mission" [4] and which soon will have their capability increased by 50% with an upgrade called Missile Segment Enhancement - will be used for short- to medium-range and Aegis class warships for medium to long-range missile interceptions. The basic ingredients of a multilayered theater missile shield.

Last May an American news source waxed enthusiastic over Aegis capabilities: "The AEGIS combat system, at its heart, is a computer controlled combat and data system. It can simultaneously launch strikes against missiles or other targets in the air, and on land and sea, either surface or underwater.

"AEGIS is the most capable missile launch system the Navy has ever put to sea. In any weather, including full cyclones, AEGIS can attack multiple targets underwater, and from wave top to directly overhead, at all speeds from subsonic to supersonic." [5]

Its Standard Missile-3, already in the Persian Gulf and soon to be permanently based in the Baltic, South China, Mediterranean and Black Seas, has an acknowledged range of 500 kilometers but can be enhanced for longer distances and was used by the U.S. to destroy a satellite 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean in February of 2008 in a test inspected by Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. "The satellite was unlike any target the system was designed to go after....The satellite was in orbit rather than on a ballistic trajectory. Also, the satellite was traveling at incredible speeds." [6]

As to the Patriot missile defense system, it is the only component of the U.S. (and allied) global interceptor project to be used in combat, both times in full-fledged wars.

Patriots were employed in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 against Iraqi Scud missiles and were based in Israel, not a formal belligerent in the war, and Saudi Arabia, which was and which served as a base for a large percentage of the 100,000 sorties by the U.S. and its allies in the air war over Kuwait and Iraq.

The U.S. stationed and used Patriot missiles in Kuwait 2003 during the invasion of Iraq and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization deployed three Patriot batteries (and AWACS) to Turkey before the attack.

Unlike other, longer-range, elements of the layered missile shield system, the Patriot has been proven an effective battlefield weapon. It is only defensive in the sense that a shield was a means of defense for a sword-wielding warrior or armor is for a battle tank. It is designed to protect an aggressor from counterattack.

In commenting on the Pentagon's plans to move Patriot and SM-3 - and even longer-range - missiles into the Persian Gulf, a newspaper in the region wrote that "US anti-missile systems may be installed in Bahrain to protect the country against possible retaliatory attacks from Iran...." [7] A degree of candor absent in the American press. One which reveals that the U.S. is installing interceptor missiles in the Gulf as it did earlier in 1991 and 2003 to neutralize short- and medium-range missiles fired in response to acts or threats of aggression.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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