Pyongyang invites Tehran over to watch the fireworks

29 03 2009

Japanese daily, Sankei reports (covered by the always up to speed Closing Velocity) today:

… in a separate dispatch from Washington that 15 personnel from the Iranian satellite and missile development company Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group are staying in North Korea at the invitation of the North Korean government.

Quoting unnamed intelligence sources in Washington it said are close to North Korean affairs, Sankei said the Iranians are likely to join North Korean preparations for the launch and also observe it. The report said North Korea sent missile experts to Iran when it launched a satellite in February.

North Korea is believed to have sold missiles to Iran, and Iran’s Safir-Omid space launch vehicle owes much to the North’s Taepodong missile.

In a fantastic run-down, CV lists the opposing cycles that NK/Iran and the Obama administration seem to be following, and he asks – which cycle is the winner?

North Korea-Iran Ballistic Missile Proliferation Cycle

  1. NK mass produces basic ballistic missiles (Scuds), sells them to Iran & others.
  2. NK uses the proceeds to fund advanced ICBM development & deployment.
  3. NK sells advanced missile technology to Iran.
  4. Iran utilizes NK’s advanced technology to fire its first space launch vehicle (SLV), aka ICBM. NK is on-site for the launch and takes copious notes, both on the technical aspects and the West’s (non)response.
  5. NK quickly labels its ICBM test a “space launch,” too. NK improves its own ICBM, with the Iranians on-site, taking their own copious notes.
  6. Rapidly repeat Steps 1-5 until each party has long range ICBMs capable of reaching the United States.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has its own audacious cycle; his famous Hope plays a big role:

  1. Allow the North Korean Taepodong-2 test go off without a hitch, with Hillary Clinton (and now Bob Gates) proclaiming that the US has no plans to intercept a possibly US-bound ICBM. Completely ignore the deterrent value of missile defense.
  2. With unopposed missile launches, North Korea & Iran share ICBM technology (see 5 above). The speed at which Iran builds an ICBM capable of reaching Europe and the eastern seaboard of the US increases dramatically.
  3. Scrap European-based defense against long-range Iranian ICBMs, thus having no plans to intercept a possibly US-bound ICBM. Completely ignore the deterrent value of missile defense. Again.

We all know Washington has more on its plate these days than at almost any other time in its history, but as I pointed out in a previous Iran-related post, Obama and Clinton have made it clear that Washington’s overarching foreign policy priority is Af/Pak, and specifically the stability of Pakistan.  Of course they can’t ignore the serious moves towards ICBM development by Pyongyang and Tehran, but they must have some lowering of rhetoric and hostility between themselves and Tehran if they have any hope of stabilizing their positions in Iraq and Afghanistan enough to allow for the necessary focus on Pakistan.

Complicating this will be Israel’s determination, for it’s own national interests, in preventing an Iranian bomb becoming a reality.

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