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Changes In The US Global Missile Shield Before And After The Iran nuclear deal

13.08.2015 02:23

Valeria Shatskaya

Despite the fact that US President Barack Obama said in 2009 that there would be no need to create ballistic missile defense in Europe if the decision on the Iranian nuclear program would be found, Washington continues the deployment of its global missile defense and its European segment.

On July 14, 2015 the historic nuclear accord with Iran was signed. But it has changed nothing in the missile defense agenda of the USA. Except the fact that it provoked an arms race in the Middle East. The US State Department approved a $5.4 billion sale of 600 PAC-3 missiles to Saudi Arabia along with another $500 million sale in ammunition to Gulf Arab States.

This US support for a regional ballistic missile defense system plays into the hands of Washington because it can be used in conflict against Syria and Iran.  On the plea of the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups Washington and its Arab allies can direct its missile defense system elements against the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Another interesting change appeared after the Iranian nuclear accord is that the US Navy has created a new task force for ballistic missile defense and integrated air and missile defense in the US European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility. Task Force 64 will include BMD ships operating in Spain and Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland. Here it should be underlined that the USA refused to reconsider the deployment of their missile defense system elements in Romania and Poland due to the nuclear deal reached in Vienna on 14 July between Iran and P5 + 1 nations. Though the  Iranian accord removed  the key US argument for deploying missile defense system in Europe. According  to the Navy memo, its mission is “to execute operational and tactical integrated air and missile defense including mission planning, execution, operational and tactical control of assigned units for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe/U.S. Naval Forces Africa, U.S. Sixth Fleet and to provide direct support for BMD planning”. The Task Force is planned to stand up on October 1, 2015. It should be remembered that a missile defense site in Deveselu, Romania is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Such Navy’s attention to the BMD mission confirms the priority ranking of global missile defense in the Pentagon’s plans. As well as the fact that Lockheed Martin has received “a maximum $870,000,000... [to develop] the command and control, battle management and communications [C2BMC] system located worldwide for the Ballistic Missile Defense System."  C2BMC unites globally deployed radars, sensors, interceptors and satellites into a single network, ensuring the USA with a picture of missile threats.  Earlier, in June the US government allowed its allies to buy forward-based missile defense radar AN/TPY-2.  Previously these radars were deployed in Japan, Israel, Turkey and Marshall Islands.

All these changes along with several US and NATO statements again and again demonstrate that the aim of the US global missile defense shield is Russia and China and not Iran, North Korea or other states. It is no coincidence that Russian Federation is called a revisionist state in the 2015 National Military Strategy of the United States. Moreover, the authors James Jay Carafano ,  a vice president at the conservative Heritage Foundation, and  Michael Dodge, a senior Heritage analyst in their article “We Must Revive Our Moribund Nuclear Force: Heritage” to “Breaking Defense” call for financing, development and deployment of a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system, modernizing nuclear weapons and delivery platforms. Such suggestions address the idea of further strengthening of the US military superiority.

At the end of June during the Atlantic Council's Annual Missile Defense conference the Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose said that attempts to defend Europe against Russian ballistic missiles would be “extremely challenging and costly”. However, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Ian Brzezinski and senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic of the Center for strategic and international studies, Heather A. Conley consider that NATO’s missile defense system strategy should be reconsidered. For example, Ian Brzezinski said that it is needed “to rethink NATO's missile defense program to give it extra punch against Russian capabilities". Such expert’s ideas support the anti-Russian orientation of global missile defense and its European segment. If initially Washington and Brussels approach the BMD problem from a viewpoint of cooperation with Russia, such ideas won’t be announced publicly. Understanding this, Rose noticed that if  NATO suddenly changed its line, speaking that its missile defense was not directed against Russia, that change would “fundamentally give the Russians a political victory to say this is about us, we have been telling you all along." After this it is expected that China will also worry that a similar situation will repeat with the US statements that its missile defense in Asia is oriented only against North Korea.

So, it is evident that the US global missile defense and its European segment are deployed against Russia. Besides it is planned to be used in its military plans in all regions. But for the USA and NATO it is unfavorable to make public its true orientation in order not to look like aggressors on the international arena.