Breaking:US launches nuke-capable missile in joint Saudi military games; Update: Denied

posted at 1:20 pm on March 31, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As McKittrick of Closing Velocity puts it, we rattled a mighty big saber in Iran’s neighborhood today.  In joint military exercises with Saudi Arabia, the US launched a submarine-platform ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon:

The United States test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads during a joint military exercise Wednesday with Saudi Arabia, a Western military official said.

The Trident missile launch was carried out in the kingdom, the official said, but he would not give a precise location. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The U.S. has been strengthening missile defenses in allied Arab nations in the Gulf to help counter any potential missile strike from Iran. Like its nuclear work, Iran’s missile program is of top concern to Washington and Arab nations wary of Tehran’s growing influence in the region.

Apparently the White House has decided to get serious about Iran after fourteen months of extending open hands. Yesterday, in his appearance with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama said that he would press for harder sanctions over the next few weeks.   This should underscore the exhaustion of Obama’s patience with the mullahs — which should have come much earlier.

The Saudis are also sending a message here.  They have to live in Iran’s neighborhood, too, and they don’t want to see messianic Shi’ites armed with WMDs any more than Israel or the US do.  The sub launch tells Iran that they plan to cooperate with any military action needed against Tehran’s mullahs, albeit tacitly.  It also signals the Sunni regimes in the region to start taking harder lines towards Iran.

Will that deter the mullahs?  Probably not, but it will certainly have more effect than the wan efforts of this administration over the previous 14 months.

Update: The LA Times says that the Pentagon has denied that a missile was launched.  Stratfor says the AP got it wrong.


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I still blame Booosh…. For not calling the air-strikes in December, 2008

phreshone on March 31, 2010 at 1:23 PM

How racist of us to provoke a peaceful brown country like Iran? For shame Mr. Bush, for shame.

Oh…I mean awesome work Mr. President, super duper terrific-o.

– Olby

angryed on March 31, 2010 at 1:25 PM

about dang time!

give ‘em hell!

cmsinaz on March 31, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Change?

Not holding my breath, but its a start.

RINO in Name Only on March 31, 2010 at 1:25 PM

You scare us, we scare you, lets all join hands and sing the Obama rock … To nowhere.

So what are we going to do when Iran orbits the ultimate terror weapon, a nuke in orbit. Continents make easy targets, and a nuke orbiting overhead is going to get interesting.

tarpon on March 31, 2010 at 1:25 PM

angryed on March 31, 2010 at 1:25 PM

spot on!

cmsinaz on March 31, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Yesterday, in his appearance with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama said that he would press for harder sanctions over the next few weeks.

Tehran should expect a FedEx today containing a harshly worded letter.

angryed on March 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Say hello to my little friend.

Lily on March 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Yup….shoulda bombed when we had the chance.

This Tridents are useless against un-named terror groups that clandestinely plant or launch a nuke.

Hamas and their ilk will have them within a few decades.

In any case, why is Obama such a warmonger?

rickyricardo on March 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

My stomach dropped seeing this.

Remember Russia and Iran are “friends”.

Time to be very careful.

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

So what is this, a planned counter offensive to what they knew would be facing them once they passed healthcare? Drill, baby, drill. Now a missile launch. Couple of easy popular, right of center, moves.

Or am I too cynical.

Dash on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Lily on March 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

early winner!

cmsinaz on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Might as well test one before they are all scrapped….

Vashta.Nerada on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Too late

MyImamToldMeToDoIt on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Good move, albeit an expensive one.

darwin on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Won’t Mathew Modine be upset?

Conservative in NOVA on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

I still blame Booosh…. For not calling the air-strikes in December, 2008

phreshone on March 31, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Yea; Poor Barrack; Inherited this failed presidency. Who knew Bush left such a mess for The Messiah?

Cybergeezer on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

And if Bush had done this the media would’ve gone NUTS about Bush’ sabre rattling and how this destabilizes the world more.

I doubt this even makes the evening news and Code Pink will continue chasing Karl Rove around.

Skywise on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Just because it’s nuke capable doesn’t mean it’s going to have nukes. It could be filled with Obama 2012 shirts.

Chuck Schick on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

so why are we creating another START treaty again???

cmsinaz on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

which should have come much earlier.

Like when they were gunning down their own citizens who were protesting rigged elections for a man whom the US still officially recognizes as Iran’s president. That might have been a good time.

DrAllecon on March 31, 2010 at 1:29 PM

They better aim very carefully, Iran is just a tiny country.

Good job by The Whine. (It just feels weird typing that.)

rbj on March 31, 2010 at 1:29 PM

It also signals the Sunni regimes in the region to start taking harder lines towards Iran.

That is the takeaway from this test.

Vashta.Nerada on March 31, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Jeez…last week the firts push toward socialized medicine…this week he is going all Reagan and such with offshore drilling and shooting rockets off. Who is this guy?

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I wonder if this missile could hit ‘other’ countries also? Some this bho and team seems to not be that fond of.
L

letget on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Will this make Rosie O’Donnell start sputtering about Gulf of Tonkin?

JamesLee on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Yeah, but was it a green missile.

darwin on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

But credit where it is due on both counts.

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

President Obama is going to have the stripes of whoever ok’d this without his permission.

portlandon on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Just because it’s nuke capable doesn’t mean it’s going to have nukes. It could be filled with Obama 2012 shirts.

Chuck Schick on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

That might be considered torture under this administration.

DrAllecon on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

obama 2012 is the reason my friend

cmsinaz on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I still blame Booosh…. For not calling the air-strikes in December, 2008

phreshone on March 31, 2010 at 1:23 PM

I can understand why he didn’t (he would have no control of the outcome given that he’d be relinquishing the office in a month), but I agree that kicking the can down the road to Obama was a huge cop-out. I think his second term really wore down his will to fight (or at least to be the proximate cause of new fights.)

ebrawer on March 31, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Just because it’s nuke capable doesn’t mean it’s going to have nukes. It could be filled with Obama 2012 shirts.

Chuck Schick on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Great. So we should have more people wear his shirt when they are buried?/s

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:31 PM

This is actually kind of disturbing. It can be interpreted as a sign that the administration has accepted Iran’s possession of a nuke and has decided on a course of deterrence, a la our long Cold War with the Soviets.

Trouble is, Iran is not the Soviet Union. In the USSR, we dealt with an evil, aggressive, yet still rational state actor that did not want to see itself destroyed. Mutually assured destruction was something to be avoided. Iran, however, is lead by millenarian religious fanatics who see it as their duty to bring about the chaos that heralds the return of the Mahdi and global Islamic rule. Fr from fearing nuclear conflict, the dominant factions in Iran’s hierarchy welcome it. (Look up Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor. The dude is scary.)

The only real solution is to support and empower the democratic resistance in Iran, in the hope of bringing down the regime and replacing it with something, well, civilized. Relying on deterrence is placing a bet with vanishingly long odds.

irishspy on March 31, 2010 at 1:31 PM

The Saudis are also sending a message here. They have to live in Iran’s neighborhood, too

The Saudis are already in something of perhaps the beginning stages of a proxy war with Iran in Iraq, with Allawi and Maliki.

You’ve heard of the Sino-Soviet split? What if Iraq becomes the epicenter of the Saudi-Iranian split? In some ways it already is. Indeed, if Maliki is still Iran’s boy, Allawi, as mentioned below, is heavily funded by Saudi Arabia. Such a split, of course, would be an awful drag on both Iran and Saudi Arabia — and that would be just too darn bad, wouldn’t it?
- DianaWest

MB4 on March 31, 2010 at 1:31 PM

once we nuke Iran, we’ll have to include them on our health care too.

search4truth on March 31, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Jeez…last week the firts push toward socialized medicine…this week he is going all Reagan and such with offshore drilling and shooting rockets off. Who is this guy?

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Progressives are war mongers at heart. They just keep it under wraps for the drones and to bash Republicans.

darwin on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Street thugs like Immadinnerjacket only understand force. Does this mean that ‘the professor’ has suddenly come to realize that?

Wouldn’t be surprised if the Iranians start making noises like “Well you don’t have to go throwing missiles around, it’s not like we mean anyone harm.”

GarandFan on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Don’t get too excited about the off-shore drilling. It will never happen. That is just a skinny little carrot to Moderate GOP to vote for his Cr*p and Tax plan.

ladyingray on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

I wonder if this missile could hit ‘other’ countries also? Some this bho and team seems to not be that fond of.
L

letget on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I guess if he follows up the missle launch with a renewed demand for building in Jerusalem to stop, then you’re right and we’re coming to the wrong conclusion about who he’s trying to scare.

DrAllecon on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Don’t they realize tea partiers and nine guys playing army in the Michigan woods pose the gravest threats to our security?

JammieWearingFool on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Could I ask what the big deal is? Tridents have a range of 8K miles. We could launch one from a sub submerged off the Azores and hit our target. Iran knows this as well. Bringing a “boomer” that close to the shallows of the Gulf is silly and militarily totally unnecessary. No military or naval move into the area increases the effectiveness of our weapons. Only if we are interested in a sustained series of strikes, such as the run up to Desert Storm, designed to destroy Iran’s nuclear and naval, and aviation capability would the placing of large US Air and Naval units be worthwhile. Ths blurb about the Trident means nothing.

xkaydet65 on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Wouldn’t want to do anything to anger Mahmoud into yet another threat to vaporize Israel, especially right after Barry made Bibi halt all settlement construction.

Christien on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Meneando el perro.

Cybergeezer on March 31, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Will this make Rosie O’Donnell start sputtering about Gulf of Tonkin?

JamesLee on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

probably just the paultard, which gives them more talking points for “See, Obama is exactly like bush therefore support me”

jp on March 31, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Feeling the heat from some jewish donors eh Hussain ?

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Dude. The headline freaked me out for a second. I read it as “US launches Nuke” and it just made no sense.

El_Terrible on March 31, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Too little, too late.

Just what we need, the Amateur Administration thumping its chest and now trying to look all badass after being all kissy-ass for so long.

It’s laughable, really.

ornery_independent on March 31, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Dash on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

My feelings too. It’s all political. Obama should have used the unrest in Iran last year. He’s just a poser without a spine internationally. When it comes to ruining America however, Obama comes out guns a blazing.

txhsmom on March 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Just because it’s nuke capable doesn’t mean it’s going to have nukes. It could be filled with Obama 2012 shirts.

Hey, no reason to commit a war crime!

The Monster on March 31, 2010 at 1:39 PM

clearly a RACIST missle….

SDarchitect on March 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Too little, too late.

Just what we need, the Amateur Administration thumping its chest and now trying to look all badass after being all kissy-ass for so long.

Good point. As everyone knows, you better not pull that pistol and chamber the round unless you are willing and able to actually pull the trigger.

Would Barry actually pull that trigger? Maybe, but only after the bad guy had gotten so far out of line it would almost be a moot point.

JamesLee on March 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Missle launch? BFD. North Korea chump threat.

Nuclear warhead detonation? That would be impressive indeed.

Venusian Visitor on March 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Triple-Dog-Dare from Iran should be coming soon.

ButterflyDragon on March 31, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Boys and their toys.
Obama just showing off his package.

Skandia Recluse on March 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM

What about that Nobel Peace Prize? This is no way for a Nobel Laureate to act.

tommer74 on March 31, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Could this a**hat be any more transparent??? Does anyone really believe Teh Won means business? Once again, a matter of form being glorified over substance.

alwyr on March 31, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Like I said on a post a few days ago, why don’t Iran’s neighbors get together and take care of business in the area?

Big John on March 31, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Say hello to my little friend.

Lily on March 31, 2010 at 1:26 PM

OK, I laughed out loud on that one…

conservnut on March 31, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Okay so lets see:

1. Russia and the U.S. are talking about the START I/II treaties (again)
2. The UAE confiscates a ship going to Iran with North Korean weapons (NoKo and Iran are friendly)
3. Possible ship targeted (SoKo) and sinks (waiting for the divers report)
4. Russia has a missle defense on NoKo boarder
5. Iran has made numerous threats to take care of Isreal and the U.S.
6. Saudi’s have stakes in their oil and know they need back up (the enemy of my enemy is my friend)
7. Iraq and Afghanistan still have quite a few of our Troops there.
8. Yemen had an all out coup a few months ago and American leave
9. We still have Somali pirates taking anything they can and being paid via the War Lords
10. Egypt is backing away from everyone concerning what is going on
11. The Eurpoeans are getting upset with Iran and Russia due to the oil and gas slow down making their prices rise
12. Russia doesn’t like the U.S. having a missle shield of anykind anywhere near them
13. Russian, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are hoarding oil to make prices rise in the market
14. Russia is using Venezuela like a mule to position tanks and such in the country
15. China is on the coat tails of anyone who will bring them natural resources and money of any sort
16. India and Chian are at each others throat.

Am I missing anything? This has been in the last year.

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Obambi’s playing with Bush/Cheney’s toys.

AubieJon on March 31, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Jeez…last week the firts push toward socialized medicine…this week he is going all Reagan and such with offshore drilling and shooting rockets off. Who is this guy?

Huckabye-Romney on March 31, 2010 at 1:30 PM

a. You will never in your lifetime see a drop of oil come out of the new area that’s open to drilling today

b. It’s war games. As in pretend. As in, don’t mean nuthin’

angryed on March 31, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Triple-Dog-Dare from Iran should be coming soon.

ButterflyDragon on March 31, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Isn’t a Double-Dog-Dare required by protocol before you drop the weapons grade Triple?

Johnnyreb on March 31, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Good. One of the few things I support Obama on.

Shiny_Tiara on March 31, 2010 at 1:54 PM

I would have been more impressed if it landed on DinnerJacket’s house. Blank or not.

- The Cat

MirCat on March 31, 2010 at 1:55 PM

IIRC even launching a Trident with no warheads requires a presidential sign off. There’s to much chance of a mistake being made and someone thinking it was a live war shot.

So, does this mean that Obama is ready to be the first person since Truman to launch a nuclear first strike, or is it more likely the warhead will be filled with confetti, stuffed unicorns and pictures of Obama suitable for framing?

evilned on March 31, 2010 at 1:55 PM

OK…

… but where did it land?

Seven Percent Solution on March 31, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Okay, anybody who really thinks Obambi would ever give the go-ahead to launch a nuke at Iran is AnninCAing delusional.

AubieJon on March 31, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Not to worry – the Trident was aimed at Israel.

(Actually, it would be interesting to know where it was launched, and in what direction – a launch from the Indian Ocean going north probably would attract notice at the Russian air defense command.)

Realist on March 31, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Am I missing anything? This has been in the last year.

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Just like a tea-partier..going after small petty issues. Have you seen Mixell’s new dress and shoes ? And her arms..ooooooohhhhhh those arms!! How could anyone miss them ?
/sarc

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Would Barry actually pull that trigger? Maybe, but only after the bad guy had gotten so far out of line it would almost be a moot point.

JamesLee on March 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM

He won’t. obama has proved himself to be a wimp against our enemies because he wants to be liked by them. He may shake his fist, but it would be a huge unexpected surprise if he throws a punch.

Spectreman on March 31, 2010 at 1:59 PM

xkaydet65 on March 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Exactly, more show for the MSM and the entitlement crowd. Every carrier battle group we have sent to the Pesian Gulf is nuclear capable.

Pretty soon nObama will be credited with creation itself………All Hail!

dmann on March 31, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Does Obama have to return his well deserved Peace Prize now?

search4truth on March 31, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Look out Israel.

Bishop on March 31, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Ed, are you SURE that Iran and not Israel was the country Obama wanted to intimidate?

jpmn on March 31, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Trident missiles can also carry conventional warheads of two types, with a Circular Error Probability (CEP) of ten meters. One warhead is non-explosive as its impact velocity can cause destruction like a meteor.

The other warhead has tungsten rods that can cover an area of 3000 square feet.

Biggest risk: not telling Russia in time of a real launch, because the Russians might launch-on-warning of a ballistic missile headed their way, though the target might be in Iran.

Liam on March 31, 2010 at 2:02 PM

The lefties really love that saber rattling….did BHO know about this ahead of time?

d1carter on March 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

And if you think this is anything more than PBHO trying to burnish his hawk credentials, you need your skull trepanned.

Bishop on March 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 1:59 PM

heh

Hey, someone has got to keep it straight in the books!

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Does Obama have to return his well deserved Peace Prize now?

search4truth on March 31, 2010 at 2:00 PM

He was awarded Nobel prize in anticipation of his desire and capability to anhilate Isreal

macncheez on March 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Maybe I’m just the heartless cynic, but I’m pretty sure I know what this is mostly about to the folks in the White House. He’s making an effort to help prop up his approval numbers….this and the offshore drilling are popular. When he gets a little bump the spin doctors immediately try to sell his slightly improving numbers as America warming up to their sweet new health care arrangement. They hope they can generate a little momentum around that narrative, and get him back over 50%.

Hey, but maybe I’m just a cynic.

stldave on March 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

“Say hello to my little Noble peace prize, biatch!”

Caper29 on March 31, 2010 at 2:04 PM

IIRC even launching a Trident with no warheads requires a presidential sign off. There’s to much chance of a mistake being made and someone thinking it was a live war shot.

?????? thats just plain silly

dmann on March 31, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Just because it’s nuke capable doesn’t mean it’s going to have nukes. It could be filled with Obama 2012 shirts.

Chuck Schick on March 31, 2010 at 1:28 PM

On the front: I “heart” Iran.
On the back: I apologize the US has been such a force for evil in the world, mostly due to that evil Bush.

mwdiver on March 31, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Who let Jay Z and Beyonce into the control room of the attack center on that effing sub?

Alden Pyle on March 31, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Big John on March 31, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Because they are all weaklings who fall in line behind the biggest bully. I know you remember Kuwait.

txhsmom on March 31, 2010 at 2:06 PM

should have said “biggest bully in the region”

txhsmom on March 31, 2010 at 2:07 PM

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Last evening you suggested, strongly, that I do my homework on LL Cool J befor I start “spewing”. So, I did.

You are correct; I was ill-informed. He is not only a juvenile poser -at 42- he is an f’ing half-wit. Witness this little ditty from ’08:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/mrpresident-lyrics-ll-cool-j.html

But hey, you can keep his poster on your bedroom wall if you like.

Doorgunner on March 31, 2010 at 2:07 PM

And if you think this is anything more than PBHO trying to burnish his hawk credentials, you need your skull trepanned.

With the Saudis, no less.

F the Saudis, hold some exercises with the Poles or Czechs, or better yet in Israel or Taiwan.

I’m not sure what this proves to Iran.

reaganaut on March 31, 2010 at 2:08 PM

But hey, you can keep his poster on your bedroom wall if you like.

Doorgunner on March 31, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Are you farking kidding me?

You are in a thread about a MISSILE and you bring this as a Topic. DUDE! WTF. He IS a conservative. He doesn’t like Sarah and freaked out on twitter and now has no credibility in Hollywood anymore or with conservatives cause he FREAKED OUT. So how about YOU take this BS and go stuff it. I defended him for being a conservative. I can’t control how he ACTS… Get a CLUE!

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 2:12 PM

My stomach dropped seeing this.

Remember Russia and Iran are “friends”.

Time to be very careful.

upinak on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 PM

It’s always time to be careful when you’re talking nukes. But as for Russia, they are friends with Iran now because it is expedient for them to be so. The old Soviet/Russian leadership was and always has been extremely pragmatic when it comes to nukes. Putin will not allow Moscow to be incinerated because of some nut jobs in Teheran.

sdd on March 31, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Did the Saudis have one of their fighter aces on board the sub to press the button? The Royals love that sh*t!

BL@KBIRD on March 31, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Mr. Iran, say hello to Mr. Trident. Mr. Trident, say hello to Mr. Iran.

How does 24 Trident II D5 missiles containing up to 12 200 Kiloton MIRV warheads suit you Mr. Imanutjob?

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Eddie you are forgetting two things (1) in the START we agree to limit our platforms for launching (2) we agree to eliminate missile defense programs.

Jdripper on March 31, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Since Iran will only target Israel, it has nothing to fear from Obama. He doesn’t care if those people die, because he’s so European and sophisticated.

doufree on March 31, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 2:18 PM

I know that START limits the Trident to 8 warheads and SORT goes even further and limits Trident to 4 or 5. But still…

Holger on March 31, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Trident missiles can also carry conventional warheads of two types, with a Circular Error Probability (CEP) of ten meters. One warhead is non-explosive as its impact velocity can cause destruction like a meteor.

As I recall, the DoD under Rumfeld conducted a review and concluded that conventional Trident is too dangerous for the reason you cited: an adversary would assume that it’s nuclear-tipped and would react by launching everything he’s got against us.

Deterrence is effected only when the threat is credible. Shooting off a Trident is so over the top that I’m sure the Iranians will see it as a farcical gesture of an amateur.

year_of_the_dingo on March 31, 2010 at 2:28 PM

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