Iran Seen as Top Mideast Threat to U.S.

(Heritage Foundation) According to the Heritage Foundation's 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, Iran represents by far the most significant security challenge to the U.S., its allies, and its interests in the greater Middle East. Iran is an anti-Western revolutionary state that seeks to tilt the regional balance of power in its favor by driving out the Western presence, undermining and overthrowing opposing governments, and establishing its hegemony over the oil-rich Persian Gulf region. It also seeks to radicalize Shiite communities and advance their interests against Sunni rivals. Iran has a long record of sponsoring terrorist attacks against American allies. Iran is the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism. It has established a network of powerful Shia revolutionary groups in Lebanon and Iraq; has cultivated links with Afghan Shia and Taliban militants; and has stirred Shia unrest in Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Iran possesses the largest number of deployed missiles in the Middle East. The backbone of the Iranian ballistic missile force is the Shahab series of road-mobile, surface-to-surface missiles, which are based on Soviet-designed Scud missiles. The Shahab missiles are potentially capable of carrying nuclear, chemical, or biological warheads in addition to conventional high-explosive warheads. For Iran's radical regime, hostility to Israel, which Iran calls the "little Satan," is second only to hostility to the U.S., which was dubbed the "great Satan." But Iran poses a greater immediate threat to Israel since Israel is a smaller country with fewer military capabilities and located much closer to Iran. It already is within range of Iran's Shahab-3 missiles. Moreover, all of Israel can be hit with the thousands of shorter-range rockets that Iran has provided to Hizbullah in Lebanon and to Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

2016-08-11 00:00:00

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