Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catch me if you can - part 2

The potpourri continues:

Russia is planning to install Iskander missiles in Syria and its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, in a response to United States missile interceptors in Poland and U.S.-Israeli military aid to Georgia, an Israeli news agency reported on Monday. Russia is furthermore reported to plan arming warships, submarines and long-range bombers in the Baltic and Middle East with nuclear warheads. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke out against the deployment of Russian missiles on Syrian territory. Admitting that Russia has “its own interests” in the Middle East, Livni added however that “no one has an interest in destabilizing the region.”

Ukraine is ready to cooperate with West on missile defense after Russia abrogated of an agreement with Ukraine on early warning and space monitoring systems in February.

Israel and the US have agreed to deploy a high- powered, early-warning missile radar in Israel. The radar will be manned by US-personnel and will be linked to a US satellite-based alert network. The new system will more than double Israel's early- warning system to 2,000 kilometers.

A National Research Council blue-ribbon panel of defense experts is recommending development and testing of a conventional warhead for submarine-launched intercontinental Trident missiles to give the president an alternative to using nuclear weapons for a prompt strike anywhere in the world. The panel recognized that the launch of a conventional SLBM could not be distinguished from a nuclear one and suggested several ways to mitigate it, but in the end it concluded that the benefits outweighed the risks. Conventional SLBM were described as "attractive in the near term".

The disarmament spokesman of the German co-governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) Rolf Muetzenich said the signing of the American GMD deal in Warsaw will further heat up the arms race. He urged to step up efforts to promote disarmament and arms control, if the US missile shield were to become a fixed component of American security policy. "Otherwise this could lead to military threats which could even go beyond the Cold War," the lawmaker stressed.

Over at the Arms Control Wonk Joshua took up the discussion about the origin of the Iranian Ashura missile. Is it Iranian-made? Is China the source? And what about India?

For those of you who have time at their hands can find a 49-page report on “Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense - Background and Issues for Congress” (dated August 11) over at the OpenCRS site.

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