December 2, 2005

Shāh Māt

Hatched by Dafydd

It's said that the oldest chess pieces ever found were pulled out of an excavation in Persia. So perhaps Iran will understand the most recent move of their sworn deadly enemy, Israel.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel carried out a successful test of its missile-interceptor system on Friday when an Arrow II missile downed an incoming rocket designed to simulate an Iranian Shahab-3, the defense ministry said.

The test, the latest in a series, came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel could not accept the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran, though he steered clear of threatening military action against the Islamic Republic.

But wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves. What does it mean, saying that Iran's "sworn, deadly enemy" is Israel? Let's jump in the Way-Back machine all the way back to a couple of weeks ago. Arnold Beichman wrote this commentary for the Washington Times:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected last August, described openly the other day why Iran needed a nuclear weapon in announcing "Israel must be wiped off the map." Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke for the Iranian government when he called for Israel's destruction. In fact, Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki told the state-run television "the comments expressed by the president are the declared and specific policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Not even in the worst days of the Cold War did anybody propose the United States or the Soviet Union be "wiped off the map." Mr. Ahmadinejad's genocidal sloganeering has been condemned by the U.N. Security Council, the State Department, both houses of Congress, French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the European Union, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Russia and others.

Iran has made such hysterical and chilling threats before. In 2001, the "moderate" former president of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, when he was chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council (and possibly second in power after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei), said something similar:

If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists' strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything [in Israel] while it will merely harm the Islamic world.

So it's actually quite reasonable for Israel to assume they're Target Number One in Iran's book of nations to wipe off the map when they get nuclear weapons.

But having nukes is not the same as being able to use them; and in fact the latter is not as easy as one would think. There are only a few ways to get a warhead into an enemy country:

  1. You can drive or carry it in overland; this typically requires a coterminous border. Iran-on-the-Persian-Gulf, however, is on the other side of the Middle East from Israel-on-the-Mediterranean. They are separated by about 1,000 miles as the missile flies, but more like 2,000-3,000 miles across the winding, tortuous roadways of that region of the world. Iran would either have to push north through Turkey, then down through Syria; or through a little piece of Iraq down into Kuwait, then into Saudi Arabia for a couple thousand miles to Jordan, then across Jordan into Israel; or else right through the heart of Iraq and the 150,000 Coalition troops, to Jordan, to Israel. None of these is a happy prospect.
  2. You can put it on a boat and float it to your target. In this case, however, that would entail a journey of many thousands of miles all the way around the Arabian Peninsula, through the Suez Canal, and then to an Israeli port -- which is probably very heavily guarded.
  3. You can fly it on a plane. I suspect, however, that Mosad would already know it was coming and would have cancelled all air travel that originated in Iran -- or wherever they transported the warhead to; Israel is very thorough when their existence is at stake.
  4. But the easiest of all is to put the warhead on a missile and fire it at your enemy.

From the Reuters piece linked above:

The Shahab-3, which Iran says has a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), is seen by Israel as the main weapon which would be used to target its territory.

Clearly, Iran has been planning on the last: the mere fact that they have been developing the Shahab 3 (and negotiating with North Korea for the advanced technology of the Taep’o-dong 2) tells us that would be preferred delivery route. But in that case, the joint US-Israeli development of the Arrow ("Khetz" in Israel) is a decisive countermove to Iran's entire nuclear program: it does to Iran what the Strategic Defense Initiative did to the Soviet Union.

The Iranian nuclear threat is dissapating even as Iran rushes to complete a nuke or two; what is the point for Iran, stuck off in a corner of the world, to develop a warhead that it cannot deliver?

In other words, checkmate, "the king is no more" -- which, as it happens, is the title of this post... in Persian.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 2, 2005, at the time of 5:24 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this hissing:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Shāh Māt:

» The Guillotine Gambit from Big Lizards
According to Paul at Power Line, Mohammed ElBaradei now agrees with Israel that Iran is just months away from having nuclear weapons. The question before the house is what to do about it. The direct approach, advocated by quite a... [Read More]

Tracked on December 8, 2005 5:22 AM


The following hissed in response by: Eg


I’d tend to agree if both sides were playing by the same rules and logic. However, I don’t find much evidence to support the case - especially as we’re dealing with Iranian fundamentalists. We've a very bad track record when it comes to estimating the lengths to which these clowns will go.

Ahmadinejad's got the Euro's locked-up and know's it: Iran offers cold comfort for renewed EU nuclear talks. Judging by his character my guess would be, if he was assured the Euro's would remain sidelined - by hook-or-crook - and given a 50+% of a successful strike, by any means or force, he'd take it.

The above hissed in response by: Eg [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 8:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Dafydd, the PajaMafia has linked you on the front page, but the link goes to Donkelephant--get them to fix it?

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 9:03 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


PajaMafia? Do you have a URL?



The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 12:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Dafydd, they fixed it.
C'mon, how become you aren't involved in the whole OSM/PJM controversy that is roiling known blogspace? AltHouse went tharn over it.
P'raps i should also tell you my sempai linked you in envy of your turn of phrase yesterday. scroll down to 20051130 Dafydd says...
no permalinks.

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 1:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Quite shocking how humble and gracious you are for a welshman. ;)
most bloggers i know would be crowing over links from Steven Den Beste and Pajamas Media.
Surely you know poorly the welsh are reguarded. ;)

Now Taffy was a welshman,
Taffy was a thief,
Taffy went to my house
and stole a side of beef.
I went to Taffy's house,
Taffy was in bed--
so i picked up a stick of wood
and hit him in the head!

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 1:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Matoko Kusanagi:

First, I'm always grateful for any honest link, so of course I'm pleased that PajamasMedia linked me. But you do raise a good question: why aren't I (and some other bloggers) connected with them?

I don't know. In fact, that's the reason: I don't exactly know what they're about. I was connected with the Pejman site for a while (A Checker-Board of Nights and Days), but after a while, I realized I was just reprinting Big Lizards posts there... which wasn't really fair to Checker-Board readers.

I have standing invitations to post at several other blogs, but I would feel dishonest doing anything but composing unique posts for them. Since there is no reason a unique post couldn't go here -- and goodness knows, I need to build readership! -- I'm not likely to do so, unless I think of something to say that's so specific to the particular blog that I couldn't put it on BL.

I can't quite figure out exactly what Pajamas Media wants me to do. I listened to Roger Simon expand upon the idea at the Bear Flag League conference some months ago, before he got it going, and it sounded good. At the time, he sounded as if he were trying to set up an actual bloggish news reporting site -- which I applaud, but how can I help that? I don't go out with camera or notepad, finding actual news events and reporting on them.

What it seems to be now is a "best of the blogosphere" blog... which is also valuable, but I'm not sure how I can participate, beyond hoping they link to Big Lizards. In the founders' statement, Roger Simon and Charles Johnson write:

PJM’s mission is to expand the influence of weblogs by finding and promoting the best of them, providing bloggers with a forum to meet and share resources, and the chance to join a for-profit network that will give them additional leverage to pursue knowledge wherever they may find it.

Now, I'm all for that; but what does it mean? Except for their rather colossal blogroll, I don't see any way to join this network. I wish I did; I'm an absolute capitalist. But I'm just scratching my head, wondering what exactly I'm supposed to do and how it will benefit me.

I thought they might have some advertising network; that's another thing Roger was talking about at that conference. But if they do, I'm befuddled how to get to it and join -- which I definitely would do, assuming they didn't require an exclusive contract.

As to Chizumatic, yes I read the link... I think {he | she} is the only person even to notice my closing quip!

That'll teach me to act smart. Power Line and Captain Ed never do that sort of thing, and they just blow me out of the water (like a Navy cruiser vs. me in a kayak) in terms of page views!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 1:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


A side of beef? Say, that sounds pretty good. You have one?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 1:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Chizu IS Den Beste-sama. Definitely a he.

And about the Pajamafia.....i'll see what i can do. ;)

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 2:29 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Chizu IS Den Beste-sama. Definitely a he.

MK, we crossposted. My comment was written before I saw yours, or of course I would have known someone named "Steven" was male. When I wrote my comment, I had only the site to look at -- and there is nothing on that site that identifies who writes it. Even the e-mail address is obscure.

You seem to have latched hold of this idea ever since I called you a "fellow," which is a gender-neutral term that you wrongly interpreted as implying maleness. I am quite careful to refer to people as he or she only when I actually know the sex.

I do use the word "he" in its generic sense -- meaning he or she -- because there is no reasonable alternative. But in speaking of the specific person, I try very hard not to commit unless I actually know.

In the case of Mr. Den Beste, I had nothing to go by until you added the comment... which I didn't see until after I had written and posted mine.

Honestly, I'm not trying to be snarky!

So many people in the blogosphere use undefined pseudonyms (InstaPundit is the most famous example; yes, I know he's Professor Glenn Reynolds; another is Beldar, a.k.a. Bill Dyer; PoliPundit -- not sure, and there's no who-are-we page), initials (Xrlq -- he's a they; I think two people use that name, but both are male), or else foreign names whose gender I cannot fathom without help (Matoko -- shouldn't that be Motoko, by the way? -- which requires familiarity with an anime character), that I just don't bother trying unless it's obvious.

Gender-obvious noms-de-plume: Wonkette, Wretchard, Baldilocks, Captain Ed and his First Mate.

Some folks might have trouble with Dafydd, but it's just my name; anyway, its similarity to David (it's just the Welsh form of David, which is what it was before I changed it a quarter-century ago) should provide a clue.

Sachi, my wife, is a somewhat harder name, especially as it sounds slightly like the bigendered Russian name Sasha (a hard CH for Sachi, though); so I mention on the who-are-we page that we're married (say, I suddenly realized that since Massachusetts did what Massachusetts did, even that is not totally clear!)

Just a general gripe: I like to know who I'm reading and something about him (there, that's one of those generic he-she pronouns). That's why I put the post author's name at both top and bottom of each post, and why I do the same in the comments section.

I wish fewer people would use pseudonyms for their posts and just stick to their actual names. I make an exception for those who have their real names prominently displayed on the first page of the blog, as Hindrocket, Deacon, and Big Trunk used to do; but even they got tired of it and just shifted to their real names: John Hinderaker, Paul Mierengoff, and Scott Johnson. (Though I did make merry e-mailing the latter as "Big Johnson," back in the old days of Power Line.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 3:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Oh no, no implied criticism!
Just, most of us hold Steven-kun in highest, nearly holy reverence. Most people here know chizu is his site, i'm sorry.
Everything i know about anime, i learned from him. ;)
and he's pretty good on the war on terror too.
if you like i can email you the history.

and i don't think sasha is bigendered in russian...i think it is the diminutive of alexander. ;)
but i could be wrong.

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 3:14 PM

The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi

Dafydd, i am really sorry.
That was rude to assume you knew who Den Beste was.
And you can spell it Matoko or Motoko, ask sachi!
You should read my sempai (ask sachi) if you haven't, on his old site, USS Clueless.
There is the best stuff there. ;)

He is semi-retired to anime blogging now, because of illness, but he helped make this place.
He is still the greatest warblogger and systems analyst that ever lived.

Most bloggers would cherish a link from him forever.

The above hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 4:21 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I cherish all links!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 5:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

Iran is just talking, issuing threats (sorta like Bill Clinton did), before the back-channel talks with the U.S. become public. Iran fears Israel, and needs to get under the protection of the U.S. as soon as possible. Tic Toc Tic Toc...time is running out on Iran.

A leading Iranian newspaper Nov. 29 called on Tehran to accept Washington's offer to meet U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, who one day earlier announced his authorization by U.S. President George W. Bush to hold talks with Iran about Iraqi security. - STRATFOR

STRATFOR ain't always right, but they have been right on Iran since i have used their service. Iran has lived under Iraqi threats for decaded, and even longer. They have seen that siding with the U.S. helps.

Iran also has America's Leftists backing them, so W is willing to talk right now, and to offer a protective 'wing'.

At this point, i agree with Neal Boortz...America's Left and it's Democrat Party is more of a threat to America than Terrorism. The Democrat Party clearly supports the enemies of America, even during a War. The Democrat Party wants to end Capitalism and Freedom here in America...simple as that.

The Democrat Party is desperate right now (see John “Cut and Run” Murtha)...they have lost over 3 elections in a row, and 3-in-a-row recently.

John “Cut and Run” Murtha has become sooooooooo corrupt, that he has even forced the LA Times to bring up his corruption, even though they don't wish to pursue it any further:

"The Los Angeles Times revealed on June 14, 2005 that Murtha, as the top Democrat on House Defense Appropriations, has been funneling tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into KSA Consulting, the lobbying company of his brother, Kit Murtha, and KSA clients."

"Cut and Run" John needs protection, huh. He gets protection if he bashes W, and claims that the American Army is "broken, worn out". Er, OK. We are at War, and our Army is already "broken, worn out" since the Attack of 911!?!

Iran doesn't believe John “Cut and Run” Murtha or the Democrat Party since they know that W is going to be around for at least 3 more years. Yes, Iran's hand has been strengthened recently, but they are not willing to push W too far after seeing what happened to Saddam. Basically, W is trying to fight a War, with both his hands tied behind his back.!!!

Still, Iran is far.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 5:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist


Your link is from "01/12/2005", and i don't think that means it is December 01 of 2005, since so much has gone on since January of '05 that your link misses.

Basically, the Iranians have known for some time now, that Europe isn't going to protect, offer, or do anything since they are clearly too weak. Anyway, December or January, Europe fell from these talks rather quickly, since Iran saw their weakness.

Iran has been trying to get the U.S. to engage in talks with them, for months now, through back-channels. Iran saw what W did to Arafat, to Osama, to Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi, to Pakistan, to Saddam, etc. If not for the American Left, Iran would be on its knees right now. Basically they are, since they first sought the back-channel route, but so what...the Middle East is changing.

So much goes on that is not reported...cannot be reported during War, but the reporting by MSM borders on to speak.

MSM was quick to report wrongly that there would be "5,000 body-bags" needed for Afghanistan in the "first year". MSM repeated the same for Iraq, and then reported that our Troops were "bogged down" on the *THIRD* day into Iraq. Well, lucky for America, the Middle East knows better. The radical Islamists can only be saved by the American Left, and Iran knows it!!! Let Iran push it to the max, since they are probably next.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 2, 2005 6:53 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for hissing in, . Now you can slither in with a comment, o wise. (sign out)

(If you haven't hissed a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Hang loose; don't shed your skin!)

Remember me unto the end of days?

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved