By Eric Margolis
29/07/08 ” — -The intensifying saber rattling and war of words between the US and Israel, on one hand, and Iran have generated a great deal of hysteria, war fever and confusion.
Senior Israeli cabinet members have threatened nuclear war against Iran. The western media has given the erroneous impression that Iran is poised to wipe Israel off the map. Some understanding of the military issues involved is badly needed.
First, missiles. Iran announced its Shahab-III missile is ready to retaliate against any Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. This missile is not long-ranged, as media wrongly claims, but a medium-ranged. Iran says it can deliver a two ton warhead over 2,000 km. But Israeli and US sources say Shahab’s maximum range is around 1,200 km, which puts much of Israel out of its range.
This obsolescent missile is highly inaccurate, particularly at maximum range. It is liquid fueled, meaning it is very vulnerable to air and missile strikes while being prepared to fire. Israel has developed tactics using aircraft, missiles and drones to attack enemy missiles in pre-launch phase. Iran has an estimated 24 Shabab-III’s.