Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:03 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:03 | SYDNEY

Iran: Defence beats offence


Sam Roggeveen


6 December 2007 10:15

I said on Tuesday that, despite the National Intelligence Estimate, the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities remains open. But one article appearing today on the website of the aviation industry trade journal Flight International indicates that it won't happen in the very short term, while a second suggests there are better long-term options for Israel and the region anyway.

First, Flight reports that, along with the US and Japan, Israel has grounded its entire fleet of F-15 strike fighters due to suspected structural flaws. Israel could probably launch a raid on Iran without these aircraft, but it wouldn't want to.

And second, Flight says today that the US is offering US$9 billion worth of Patriot ballistic missile-defence batteries to the UAE. This is a reminder that such systems are improving technically and getting cheaper, and so can provide an alternative answer to any Iranian missile threat. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have Patriot batteries too, while Israel has probably the most comprehensive missile defence system of any country in the world.