#MidEastAnalysis #Geopolitics #Patriot #S400 On the brink of another war?

On the Brink of War | Abdel Bari Atwan | Raialyoum | 10 November 2017

Muhammd Bin-Salman’s purge in Saudi Arabia is the prelude to something bigger.

bin salamn cc.jpg666

Our region stands on the brink of war. We should not let small details — such as the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s resignation or the detention of princes and former ministers in Saudi Arabia — divert us from the big picture and the real developments taking place behind the scenes. The really dangerous phase is the one that will follow Crown Prince Muhammad Bin-Salman’s purge on the domestic Saudi front. It may be the precursor to scenarios for a regional war that could, without exaggeration, end up being the most devastating in its modern history.


All that is currently happening is part of a carefully planned and crafted scheme, and the prelude to a sectarian war waged in  ‘Arab nationalist’ guise against the growing power of ‘Shia’ Iran and its surrogates in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq with American, regional and Israeli backing.

The old Saudi Arabia is no more. Wahhabism is breathing its last, has been all but buried and is in the process of becoming history. A fourth Saudi state, dressed in the garb of modernity and based on different alliances, is being born.

When its would-be founder and man of the moment, Muhammad Bin-Salman, accuses Iran of mounting a ‘direct military attack that may amount to an act of war’ against his country by allegedly supplying missiles to factions in Yemen, and his stance is endorsed and supported by the US, it is clear that a new American-led alliance is taking shape in the region.

Muhammad Bin-Salman’s domestic purge, including the detention of 11 princes and scores of businessmen and former officials under the banner of fighting corruption, is only a first phase. It seems to haves proceeded smoothly so far, without encountering any serious obstacles.

The man now has now brought the four major pillars of state power – the economy, the security and military forces, the media and the religious establishment (both the official Council of Senior Ulema and the unofficial ‘awakening’ clerics) — totally under his control. He has thrown all his opponents, and anyone who uttered any criticism of his rule, behind bars (or, in the case of the princes and other high-ranking figures, incarcerated them in a luxury hotel for now). The latest round of detentions is unlikely to be the last, for we are dealing here with a bulldozer that levels everything that stands in its path.

In due course, Muhammad Bin-Salman will move on to what we believe will be the second and more serious phase, that of military confrontation.

This could include the following steps:

— First, precipitating a military confrontation with Iran against the backdrop of the crushing siege on Yemen, after imposing a total land, air, and sea blockade of the country on the pretext of preventing Iranian missiles from reaching the Houthis.

– Secondly, forming a new alliance along the lines of the Desert Storm coalition formed in 1990 to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Candidates for membership in addition to Saudi Arabia and the UAE include UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan and Morocco. (The King of Morocco has, coincidentally, been in the UAE capital Abu-Dhabi reportedly seeking to mediate with Saudi Arabia over the recent detentions: but he was sent a clear message from Riyadh not to interfere in what is happening inside Saudi Arabia, according reliable sources).

– Third, the bombardment of Lebanon and destruction of its infrastructure on the pretext of trying to eradicate Hezbollah. Such an assault would prompt the party to retaliate with intensive missile strikes against Israel, and would be more likely than ever before to drag in Iran and Syria.

– Fourth, an invasion of Qatar by Egyptian, Emirati and Saudi forces aimed at overthrowing its regime, precipitating a clash with the 30,000-strong Turkish force deployed there.

– Fifth, an American-Saudi-Israeli counteroffensive in Syria aimed at recapturing the areas lost by the US and its allies’ rebel proxies such as Aleppo, Homs and Deir az-Zour.  The US cannot easily stomach its defeat in Syria at the hands of Russia and Iran, even at the risk of causing a collision with Russia. It deliberately foiled the Syrian national dialogue conference in Sochi which Moscow had called for by getting the Syrian opposition to boycott it.

– Sixth, mobilizing the Kurdish militias in northern Iraq and Syria as US proxies in these wars with the aim of weakening and destabilizing Iran, Turkey, and Iraq.

These are just the most obvious of the steps that may be taken by the new US-led alliance – whatever it chooses to call itself.

But none of this means that it is assured of success in achieving its aims and reshaping the region to its specifications.

The counter-scenario may be that of the consolidation of an Iranian-Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi alliance with which Russia would sympathize to begin with, and which it may eventually end up leading. These countries combined possess formidable missile arsenals which would mostly be aimed at Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel. The targeted states’ much-vaunted US-made Patriot anti-missile systems would be ineffective in the face of intensive strikes by thousands of missiles fired simultaneously.

The gauge of success in this anticipated and possibly imminent regional war would be the destruction of Iran, regime-change in Qatar and the eradication of Hezbollah. But its failure would mean devastation for Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE and the dismemberment of the Saudi kingdom into fragments.

We are neither soothsayers nor fortune-tellers. Nevertheless, this may prove to be the last war that transforms the region, changing its states, its borders, and perhaps its populations as well. The Arabs and Iranians will certainly survive such a cataclysm. But can Israel in its current form survive it too?




S-400 vs Patriot: One-on-One Comparison of the Missile Defense Systems of Russia and US | SPUTNIK | 11 November 2017

Above: S-400 © Photo: Sputnik, Mikhail Voskresenskiy
Below: Patriot © Photo: AFP, Bernd Wustneck / DPA

The S-400 air defense system
According to the codification of the US Defense Ministry and NATO – SA-21 Growler, the Russian anti-aircraft medium- and long-range missile system, designed to destroy all modern and long-term means of air and space attack

The Patriot air defense system
The American missile system which is on service at the US Army and the armies of the Allied countries. Designed to protect large administrative and industrial centers, as well as naval and air bases from an air attack

The S-400 air defense system entered service with the Russian army

The Patriot air defense system entered service with the US Army
Left: © Photo: Dmitri Vinogradov/Sputnik
Right: © Photo: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
Advance payment: Turkey
At the stage of delivery: China
Possible buyers: Saudi Arabia, India, Bahrain

the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Greece, Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan
Top: S-400 © Photo: Sputnik, Grigoriy Sisoev
Underneath: Patriot © Photo: AFP, Bulent Kilic
The S-400

• Up to eight anti-aircraft missile systems, each equipped with up to 12 launchers

• A system command post, a radar center, a mobile tower for antenna post, anti-aircraft guided missiles

• A technical support system, means of providing technical maintenance for the missiles
S-400 © Photos: Dmitri Vinogradov, Sergey Malgavko, Grigoriy Sisoev (Sputnik)

• A radar station, a fire control point, power supply sources

• Communication facilities, technical equipment, camouflage for radio engineering and engineering.

• Launchers, anti-aircraft guided missiles
Patriot © Photos: Igor Zarembo (Sputnik); Janek Skarzynski, John MacDougall (AFP)


Range of damage of aerial targets:

>250 km

160 km

Range of destruction of ballistic missiles:
60 km

<45 km

Target elimination height:
max — 27 km
min — 0,01 km

max — 24 km
min — 0,06 km

Range of radar coverage:
600 km

>150 km

Deployment time:
5 minutes

30 minutes

Maximum speed of targets for successful elimination:
up to 4,800 meters per second

at least 2,200 meters per second

System reaction time:
10 seconds

15 seconds

Launch angle of missile:
90 degrees

38 degrees


Improved radar scanning angles, software and effectiveness with regard to tactical ballistic missiles
Improvements to the software and combat functionality of the missile, which had its strike capability upgraded and was equipped with a new fuse. There is also a GEM-T modification similar to the PAC-3
Designed for intercepting the warheads of tactical ballistic and cruise missiles, including those equipped with stealth technology
Features a more powerful engine, improved fin assembly and guidance system. The damage radius is increased by 1.5 times in comparison with PAC-3 (the exact characteristics of the missiles are classified)
Patriot © Photo: Sputnik, Igor Zarembo
The S-500 Prometey Air Defense System
Mobile long-range anti-aircraft missile system which is designed for destroying any aerial and ballistic targets
Interception range
exceeds the American analogue THAAD by 2-3 times

From space…
The S-500 is mainly designed for destroying objects in outer space

…to ultra-low altitudes
The targets include Tomahawk cruise missiles which fly at an altitude of five meters from the Earth’s surface
The system will combine the capabilities of operational-tactical and strategic missile defense systems
The system integrates all Russian air defenses into a single information space
According to the assigned task, the response time of the system should not exceed four seconds


S-400 © Photo: Sputnik, Alexei Danichev

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