Thousands of witnesses in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan reported a bright object streaking across their skies last night. It was traveling in a spiral with a large trail behind it. The Israeli Astronomical Association said that it wasn't a meteor and the Russians announced a successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Why the Russians would test fire a missile over populated areas for the first time in the history of their missile program was not explained. Previous Russian tests have been carried out across Siberia and the northern Pacific.
Earlier this week, Iran repudiated the idea of inspections of its reactors, saying that it would "never suspend its enrichment activities." The United States, the European Union and numerous other countries have imposed extensive sanctions on Iran, including the embargo of most of its oil experts, and both the United States and Israel have warned that they might attack Iranian nuclear facilities if Iran does not stop enriching uranium toward weapons grade.
At the same time, rapidly increasing oil exports from Iraq and increased exports from Saudi Arabia, coupled with the global recession, have caused oil prices to plummet worldwide. The result of this is that Russian oil revenue has dropped below the level needed for its oil industry to maintain profitability. In addition, vast increases in available natural gas in North America have led to the construction of gas liquification plants that threaten Russia's near-monopoly on gas supplies to Europe.
Has this combination of economic and geopolitical pressures led Russia to seek the distraction of war? The firing of a missile across Israel would certainly make it appear so. Or it could be that the Russians are simply warning Israel that an attack on Iran could result in a wider conflict. The seriousness of the threat cannot be overestimated, because Israel and Russia both possess nuclear weapons and systems that can deliver them to deep within the two countries.
Could the Russians warning the world not to attack Iran? Unidentified missiles have been seen in the US recently, (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), which is certainly a disturbing development.