Sparking World War IV: Regional Middle East Conflict Erupts

By Sean Osborne
Associate Director, Senior Analyst, Military Affairs
sosborne@homelandsecurityus.com

16 July 2006: In reviewing the volumes of open-source reporting coming from global media, I believe I have detected a minor error in the identification of the type of missile which struck and nearly sank an Israeli Navy Corvette Ahi-Hanit this past Friday. Even if my analysis is incorrect, the utilization of such cruise missiles is proof at this early stage that this war is being fought by major regional powers – Israel and Iran, both of whom are suspected of possessing nuclear weapons in various states of development.

saarvbattledamage

Media reports all consistently report the missile as having been an Iranian-manufactured C-802, code named “SACCADE”. My research leads me to assess these reports are slightly inaccurate and a mis-identification of what was actually multiple launches of an Iranian-manufactured cruise missile known as the C-801, code name “SARDINE”.

The C-802 and C-801 cruise missiles are both based upon the same Chinese Communist “SILKWORM” family of missiles. Israeli military authorities, who are speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of Iranian involvement in direct military action against IDF forces, are providing some strong hints to buttress my analysis. Therefore, the IDF have now learned that they have engaged in direct military action against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Lebanon and well as the IRGC-subservient Hezbollah military troops.

The multiple launches are identified in that two of these missiles were fired at the state-of-the-art Israeli Navy Eilat-class, Saar-5 corvette Ahi-Hanit and at least one other of these short range cruise missiles hit and sank an Egyptian-flagged merchant ship at the same time. To repeat, this missile is an Iranian-made copy of the Communist Chinese version, which itself is a reverse-engineered French-made Exocet cruise missile. The C-801 “SARDINE”, is a 19-foot long, radar guided cruise missile (also referred to as the “KARUS” by the Iranian military) can be fired from a launcher mounted to the rear of a flat bed truck or a semi-trailer. Thus, in the future these missiles can pop up very unexpectedly almost anywhere along the Lebanese littoral until Israel secures the coast from further access by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp troops who are operating crews for these missiles.

ANALYSIS

In order to progress and bring this conflict to a quick and resounding resolution, Israel will find it necessary within the next 72 hours to send a massive military presence into Lebanon as far north along the coast as Beirut and also up the length of the interior Bekaa Valley bordering Syria where IRGC and Hezbollah forces are massed.

Make no mistake about this war, it is a major engagement of WMD-armed regional military forces which could, and most likely will, prove to be an existential engagement for them. Engagements such as these, particularly when the Iranian theocracy deems it necessary to annihilate the Jewish state, has the inherent potential to become a full-scale world war in very short order. More than just a regional war with unknown destructive potential, this war is in the truest sense a continuation of the clash of civilizations both sides have presumed would occur at some point in time.

We have arrived at that threshold.

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