Iran and the Gulf Military Balance II: The Missile and Nuclear Dimensions
By Anthony H. Cordesman, Alexander WilnerJul 12, 2012
Iran’s potential acquisition of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and future ability to arm its missiles and aircraft with such weapons, pose the most serious risks shaping US, Arab, Israeli and other military competition with Iran. This is, however, where there are many unknowns and where each side’s perceptions of the threat the other side poses can sometimes be as important as actual capabilities.
A major revision of past studies by the Burke Chair at CSIS examines these issues in detail as the second part of a comprehensive survey of the military balance in the Gulf and Iran’s military Forces in mid 2012.
This updated study is entitled Iran and the Gulf Military Balance – II: The Missile and Nuclear Dimensions. It is available on the CSIS web site at http://csis.org/files/publication/120222_Iran_Gulf_Mil_Bal_II_WMD.pdf
The contents of the study are shown below:
Competition Over Nuclear Threats, Missiles, and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction 6
Iran’s Missile Programs 10
What Iran’s Actions and Statements Say About Its View of Competition: Ballistic Missiles 17
Missiles as a Form of Deterrence 17
The Warfighting Capabilities of Iran’s Current Missile Force 18
Political and Psychological Warfighting 22
The Impact of Retaliatory Threats and Retaliation 23
Nuclear Competition: Estimating and Reacting to the Iranian Nuclear Threat 29
Iran’s Statements about Its Nuclear Program 29
Analyzing the Details of What Is Known and What Is Uncertain 31
The Data in the IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 90
US Official Views of Iran’s Competition in Nuclear and Missile Efforts 117
The Impact of Iranian Nuclear Weapons on US and Iranian Competition 122
Iran’s Use of Nuclear Weapons Once It Possesses Them 123
US Responses to Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Efforts 125
Direct Negotiations 125
Missile Defense 127
“Extended Deterrence” 128
US Preventive Strike Options 129
The Aftermath of A US Preventive Attack 136
The Impact of Israeli-Iranian Nuclear Arms Race on US and Iranian Competition 152
Israel’s Fear of An “Existential Threat” 153
The Unknowns in Assessing Israel’s Calculations of Its Ability to Use Missile Defense, “Extended
Deterrence,” and Destroy Iran’s Population Using Nuclear Weapons 155
The Unknowns in Assessing Israel’s Preventive Attack Options 156
The Ongoing Policy Debate Within Israel Regarding a Preemptive Strike on Iran 157
Potential Israeli Options for Striking Iran’s Nuclear Program 168
US Policy Towards US and Israeli Preventive Strikes 181
Implications for US Policy 185
Part One of the study has also had a major revision to all of its assessments. It deals with Iran’s conventional and asymmetric forces, and is entitled Iran and the Gulf Military Balance – I: The Conventional and Asymmetric Dimensions. It is available on the CSIS web site at http://csis.org/publication/iran-and-gulf-military-balance-i-conventional-and-asymmetric-dimensions
Other draft chapters and reports in this series include:
- Types and Levels of Competition - This chapter looks at the various arenas in which Iran and the U.S. compete for influence.
- Iran and the Gulf Military Balance - This chapter looks at Iran’s Military forces in detail, and the balance of forces in the Gulf Region.
- Iran and the Gulf Military Balance II – This chapter looks at Iran’s Missile and Nuclear forces.
- U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Sanctions game: Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change - This chapter examines the impact of sanctions on the Iranian regime, Iran’s energy sector, and the prospects for regime change in Tehran.
- US and Iranian Strategic Competition in the Gulf States and Yemen - This chapter examines the competition between the US, and Iran and how it affects Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman and Qatar.
- The Outcome of Invasion: US and Iranian Strategic Competition in Iraq - This chapter examines in detail the role Iran has played in Iraq since 2003, and how the US has tried to counter it.
- U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Proxy Cold War in the Levant, Egypt and Jordan - This chapter examines US and Iranian interests in the Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Syria. The military balance is also analyzed.
- The United States and Iran: Competition involving Turkey and the South Caucasus - This chapter analyzes the US and Iranian competition over influence in Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
- Competition in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Pakistan - This chapter examines the important role Iran plays in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, and how the US and Iranian rivalry affects Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia.
- U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Impact of China and Russia - This chapter examines the complex and evolving relationships between China, Russia, Iran and the US.
- U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Competition Involving the EU, EU3, and non-EU European States - This chapter looks at the role the EU, and in particular the EU3, have played as the U.S.’s closest allies in its competition with Iran.
- U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Peripheral Competition Involving Latin America and Africa - This chapter examines the extent and importance of the competition between the US and Iran in the rest of the world.
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