Ron Radosh

Are We Facing an Iranian Missile Crisis? The Dereliction of our Media

Those of us who remember the tension in 1962 as President John F. Kennedy decided how to respond to the presence of Soviet missiles in Communist Cuba, with the overwhelming threat of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union a real possibility, had a sense of déjà vu as we read the story in Die Welt (the German newspaper) yesterday about the new possibility of a Venezuelan missile crisis looming on the horizon.

Writing at the Fox News website, Reza Kahili notes that Die Welt’s report:

Confirms that the bilateral agreement signed in October [between Venezuela and Iran] was for a missile installation to be built inside Venezuela. Quoting diplomatic sources, Die Welt reports that, at present, the area earmarked for the missile base is the Paraguaná Peninsula, located 120 kilometers from the Colombian border. A group of engineers from Khatam Al-Anbia, the construction arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, covertly traveled to this area on the orders of Amir Hajizadeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Air Force.

Even more shocking is the following:

Die Welt writes that the Iranian delegation had been ordered to focus on the plan for building the necessary foundations for air strikes. The planning and building of command stations, control bases, residential buildings, security towers, bunkers and dugouts, warheads, rocket fuel and other cloaking constructs has been assigned to other members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Engineers. The IRGC engineers will also be interfacing with their Venezuelan counterparts in fabricating missile depots that are said to go as deep as 20 meters in the ground.

The Iranian-Venezuelan deal evidently also includes housing of Hezbollah cells and Quds forces in the new facilities, ready to expand their activity in Latin American in conjunction with drug cartels in the region, including those causing so much trouble now in Mexico. As Kahili puts it so well:

The radicals ruling Iran are emboldened by the confusion of the Obama administration in confronting Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian regime feels that America has exhausted all of its options with is negotiation and sanctions approach and therefore no longer poses a serious threat to Iran’s nuclear drive.

Indeed, the administration’s continuing willingness to put a negotiation track ahead of anything else, and to not do anything of real substance to stop Iran’s nuclear ambition reaching fruition, even to argue that the U.S. and the West can get along with a nuclear Iran — as we did with the Soviet Union — further emboldens the mullahs to continue on their chosen path.

Now, not only does this agreement mean that Iran is a threat to our national security, but that its ally in our own hemisphere is as well. Hugo Chavez can appear to many to be an inconsequential laughing stock, a Castro-like figure living in a dream world of 1960s revolutionary rhetoric — but his alliance with the mullahs, and the existence of uranium in Venezuela that Iran desperately needs, gives him the ability to be much more of a local nuisance.

So one must wonder what response the Obama administration is preparing. To date, little coverage of this planned missile placement in Venezuela has appeared in the mainstream press. Is our country going to wait until the missiles are in place and the infrastructure is created in Venezuela for Chavez to provide the place for terrorist cells to lie in waiting until they are called into action?

Will President Obama proceed to make it clear — as John F. Kennedy did when he confronted the Soviets — that the placement of Iranian missiles in Venezuela is something the United States is not going to allow, and that such placement will be considered a hostile act that could make the likelihood of a major war more than likely? Or will President Obama make one of his “outreach” speeches in which he seeks to understand the motivation and outlook of Hugo Chavez, and tell the tin-pot tyrant that he has now read the leftist books he handed Obama a few years ago, and then urge him to engage in constructive negotiations that will persuade Chavez to not plant the missiles on Venezuelan soil?

Should Obama adopt the latter stance, he will quickly find that Hugo Chavez would find any call to withdraw the agreement his regime has signed with Iran an affront to the “Bolivarian socialist revolution” he has proclaimed. Chavez would only be inflamed to further escalate the dangerous situation.

Clearly, the time for the United States to make known its firm opposition to Iranian missiles in Venezuela is now, not a few years hence when they are already operational. But first, our country must be informed that Iran and Venezuela have such plans in mind. That means all our news outlets must join Die Welt in reports of their own.