Green Room

Venezuela and Iran prepare for war?

posted at 2:23 pm on June 25, 2012 by

El Nuevo Herald has obtained a copy of a contract (link in Spanish) signed in 2010 by Asdrúbal Chávez, Hugo Chávez cousin, by which the Venezuelan government contracted Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Company (IOEC) to enlarge the Astinave shipbuilding facility in the state Falcón which had previously been seized by Chávez’s government. (My translation: if you use it, please credit me and link to this post)

Astinave is located in Venezuela’s geographic point nearest to the USA and the Panama Canal, while the peninsula was identified by Western intelligence sources quoted in two reports by German daily Die Welt as the location chosen by Iran to locate some of its medium-range missiles.

According to Venezuelan military sources, Iran is using Astinave to unload its container ships.

Another report states that (emphasis added)

Venezuela has transferred at least one F-16 fighter to Iran in an attempt to help it calibrate its air defenses, in preparation for a possible Israeli or U.S. strike on its nuclear facilities, reports Spanish newspaper ABC.

ABC, one of the three largest Spanish dailies and aligned with the ruling rightist party, wrote that the transfer, in 2006, was supervised by one of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s closest aides. The paper’s Washington correspondent, Emili J. Blasco, said the story was based on both sources in Venezuela’s air force and classified documents, following a tip- off by a non-Western intelligence agency.

Specifically,

At least one F-16 was transferred to Iran in 2006. According to the report, the jet was disassembled and packed in several sealed and unmarked wooden containers. These were loaded on a Boeing 707 Venezuelan air force plane that took off from the El Libertador Air Base, stopping in Brazil and Algeria before landing in Tehran, where it was reassembled. Venezuelan pilots instructed Iranian pilots and technicians as to the jet’s capabilities.

According to the news report, the F-16 was given to Iran so it could test its antiaircraft radar systems and become familiar with its capabilities, in preparation for a possible strike.

The trial flights in Iran were used to calibrate the Iranian air defense systems. Iranian officers also studied the speed of the F-16 on the radar screens.

We all know Chávez is a buffoon, but, as Roger Kimball said, the Ridiculous Is no Laughing Matter

here’s the thing to remember. We often assume that someone who is ridiculously contemptible is therefore not dangerous. History shows that, on the contrary, the ridiculous can easily cohabit with the malevolent.

The photo above was taken during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Caracas last week.

Cross-posted at Fausta’s blog.

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Venezuela and Iran prepare for war?

With each other? That would be cool.

Alas, it is not to be.

Bitter Clinger on June 25, 2012 at 2:35 PM

This must be why we don’t need as many US Navy ships and aircraft on active duty, forward deployed.

Brian1972 on June 25, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Probably need to check my copy of Jane’s and Wiki, but i seriously don’t remember what version F-16 the VAF even had (assuming its at least a early 1990′s variant).

The Israelis version would be at least 2-3 generations ahead of the Venezuelans unless they were able to buy upgrades for them (radar and electronics packages).

BlaxPac on June 25, 2012 at 2:54 PM

That’s just what we need with this CiC, another Missile crisis.

He can’t blink ’cause he has his eyes wide shut.

Monroe Doctrine narrowly applies only to European countries.

davidk on June 25, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Somehow, I think the F-16 will not be the aircraft Iran should worry so much about.

Turtle317 on June 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

one F-16 fighter … in preparation for a possible Israeli or U.S. strike on its nuclear facilities

lol

WeekendAtBernankes on June 25, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Probably need to check my copy of Jane’s and Wiki, but i seriously don’t remember what version F-16 the VAF even had (assuming its at least a early 1990′s variant).

The Israelis version would be at least 2-3 generations ahead of the Venezuelans unless they were able to buy upgrades for them (radar and electronics packages).

BlaxPac on June 25, 2012 at 2:54 PM

F-16 A/B Block 15, with some Israeli-designed improvements, specifically PGM-related and the Python IV. Of note, it appears Venezuela’s F-16s are approaching the end of their service lives.

Steve Eggleston on June 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Somehow, I think the F-16 will not be the aircraft Iran should worry so much about.

Turtle317 on June 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

What, you think Teh SCOAMF will bomb his VP’s favorite country?

Steve Eggleston on June 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Apparently some folks aren’t “getting” the F-16 thing. The F-16 is being used to calibrate the air defense systems. In other words, they fly the F-16 around and allow the air defense radars to see it so they know the radar signature of an F-16. Basically it is being used as an OPFOR craft.

That Iran and Venezuela have been potentially military allies is something I have been concerned about for some time. In addition, I am concerned that some significant portion of Iran’s nuclear research could be going on in Venezuela. The Iranians are known as fairly good engineers and have done considerable digs under the Shiite sections of Beirut that allowed much of Hezbollah’s command staff to escape the bombing of 2006. There have been reports of a considerable number of Iranian engineers going in and out of Venezuela where they show up at the airport, disappear into the jungle somewhere, and reappear after a few months and go home.

This is something to keep a close eye on.

crosspatch on June 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Chávez is a stupid Mussolini. The original was a brilliant socialist theoretician, even if his theory is twisted and evil.

That Iran and Venezuela have been potentially military allies is something I have been concerned about for some time. In addition, I am concerned that some significant portion of Iran’s nuclear research could be going on in Venezuela. The Iranians are known as fairly good engineers and have done considerable digs under the Shiite sections of Beirut that allowed much of Hezbollah’s command staff to escape the bombing of 2006. There have been reports of a considerable number of Iranian engineers going in and out of Venezuela where they show up at the airport, disappear into the jungle somewhere, and reappear after a few months and go home.

This is something to keep a close eye on.

crosspatch on June 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM

I have always presumed that the first hundred or so nukes Iran builds will be sent to Venezuela. Not even Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamani have enough faith in Allah to nuke Jerusalem with the first nuke they build.

thuja on June 25, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Probably not a hundred. They are probably testing their bomb designs in North Korea with a promise to provide the NorKs with a few once they have the design perfected.

My speculation is that these North Korean nuke tests we have been seeing are actually Iranian tests being done in North Korea.

Venezuela has significant uranium deposits and Iran and Venezuela have been partnering in prospecting and possibly doing uranium enrichment in Venezuela:

http://www.wise-uranium.org/upsam.html#VE

http://www.haaretz.com/news/secret-document-venezuela-bolivia-supplying-iran-with-uranium-1.276675

Iran’s program is probably distributed globally.

crosspatch on June 25, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Great post, Fausta.

J.E. Dyer on June 25, 2012 at 10:36 PM

That’s just what we need with this CiC, another Missile crisis.

davidk on June 25, 2012 at 3:01 PM

That’s not even funny. If he’d been ‘in charge’ last time, the Soviet Union would still be around and their peasant puppet-nation would have nukes 60 seconds away from our homeland.

MelonCollie on June 25, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Iran’s program is probably distributed globally.

crosspatch on June 25, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Maybe not widely distributed because there aren’t many countries that would be safe partners. Nonetheless, for a country like Iran, in the world as it is, an internationally distributed development policy would seem very sensible to me.

I think it would be immensely difficult for Israel, Europe the USA or any other concerned party to justify speculative, pre-emptive attacks on facilities in Venezuela or North Korea.

YiZhangZhe on June 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM

I think it would be immensely difficult for Israel, Europe the USA or any other concerned party to justify speculative, pre-emptive attacks on facilities in Venezuela or North Korea.

YiZhangZhe on June 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Especially NK; their citizens are dirt-poor…but their military can and WILL hit back. It won’t be like Iraq or Afghanistan.

MelonCollie on June 26, 2012 at 10:18 PM

I think it would be immensely difficult for Israel, Europe the USA or any other concerned party to justify speculative, pre-emptive attacks on facilities in Venezuela or North Korea.

YiZhangZhe on June 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Exactly. And I meant “widely” in a geographical distance sense and in development spaced widely apart, not in the sense of popularity as in being widely supported by others.

crosspatch on June 27, 2012 at 1:59 AM

“geographical distance sense and in development spaced widely apart” should be “geographical distance sense as in development spaced widely apart”. Made a mistake there.

crosspatch on June 27, 2012 at 2:00 AM