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Editorial: Sunday January 12th. 2020

Editorial: Sunday January 12th. 2020
January 11
21:36 2020

Editorial: Sunday January 12th. 2020

The United States and Iran, the country historically known as Persia, have been in a mutually hostile posture for almost 40 years, ever since the revolution which deposed the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a staunch US ally.

The Ayatollah Khamenei, who came to power after his exile in France, is determined to create a Shiite Islamic dynasty, an ambition which put him in open confrontation with Sunni Moslems who occupy Saudi Arabia and much of the Middle East. Ayatollah Khamenei also is determined to restore the grandeur of Persia and wants desperately to become a world nuclear power. But his religious intolerance, his animosity towards Israel and Saudi Arabia and his proselytizing zeal have marked him as a religious zealot.

The United States and much of Europe and Asia are of the view that nuclear weapons in the hands of the Ayatollah would lead to global catastrophe. Since he took power in 1980s the Ayatollah has built a formidable war machine in Iran, a standing army of 523,000, reserves of 1.3 million, and an armory of missiles. Iranians are also well advanced in computer technology and only recently carried out a cyber attack on Saudi Arabia which grounded 40,000 of the computers Saudis use to manage their vast oil fields. Khamenei also recently bombed Saudi oil fields using drones, disrupting some 10 percent of Saudi oil production, and an Iranian proxy attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad is what triggered the Trump response to assassinate the top military commander of Iran, Gen. Quassam Suleiman, who was on a visit to Baghdad last week.

Iran responded to this by hurling 15 armed missiles at military bases in Iraq, an attack which did not kill any Americans but was clearly an escalation which could have morphed into a open war between Iran and the United States.
Wiser heads in Washington prevailed with President Trump not to retaliate against Iran for the missile attack which failed, and so this weekend we are seeing an uneasy pause which is not even a truce, in events which five days ago seemed to be heading inexorably towards an explosive war in the Middle East.

Events in the Middle East may begin to affect us in Belize with the price of fuel, but an all-out war would almost certainly disrupt world oil supplies by putting key player Saudi Arabia out of business.

Events during the first week of the new year 2020 have shown us two realities which we may not have noticed before. The first is Iran’s expertise at cyber warfare and her ability to infect computer systems in other countries. The second is the long-armed reach of the United States which has demonstrated its ability to direct smart drone attacks at small moving targets in other countries.

What has not been demonstrated is a US capability to neutralize missile attacks on a large scale, and until this is demonstrated, people and countries will remain vulnerable to regimes like those of Ayotallah Khamenei.

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