Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, Asharq Al- Awsat:
Iran has tested a new missile off the coasts of the Gulf States, bragging it is a multi-purpose, evasive missile that can pass through enemy lines without being detected by radars. We, therefore, have to congratulate Iran on its scientific achievement, which is nothing but another nail in the arsenal of combat, which the Iranians got sick of in the eighties and all the neighboring Arabs hated. READ MORE
It is kind of our Iranian neighbors to test-fire their Shihab missile in the Persian gulf's sky carrying a message of "peace and friendship." Some 500 gunboats took part in the exercise off their coasts, so where exactly is the peace and amity message in this military demonstration? If the aim was to intimidate US warships stationed near the war-game zone, then that is a waste of time since these US warships have greater and more intense fire-power. The latter have found in the launch of the new missile an excuse for further confrontation, claiming it is evidence of the Iranian aggressive intentions.
The Fajr and Shihab missiles and the 50-kilometer firing range off the Iranian coasts have heightened Arab fears regarding the tendencies of the (Iranian) president in his advocacy of force and confrontation and his preparation for some war. Would it not have been better news had Revolution Guard Commander General Hussein Salami announced, instead of the pride worthy missile, an industrial or technical advancement for civil purposes?
Iran has worked hard since the United States imposed sanctions on it to develop its domestic capabilities, and succeeded in civil medical, oil, and electronic fields. Where will the phantom missile, Fajr-3, take it? What has the Shihab and the previous missiles offered it in the past 20 years? (They caused it) to waste money and antagonize the world and stronger countries. A war would undermine what Iran built and is building in a bat of an eyelid, as it did to Saddam's power, which he bragged about for a long time and through which he wasted his country's money and bloodied his own people and neighbors.
Iran is just another third world country, which lacks every aspect of civil, not military, development. Our region is rich in weapons and crowded with armies, to which this phantom missile would add nothing but more expenditures in Iran's budget, which is already burdened with military projects.
Weapons are the toys of big children, and they give leaders a misleading feeling of self-confidence -- a feeling that prompts them to opt for confrontation and ignore the peaceful option. I do not understand how Iran wants to develop itself through developing its military capabilities, from conventional to nuclear, while it has a 25-year experience of military entrenchment.
All signs indicate that Iran is still living in the same militarily and economically difficult corner at a time when other countries, like the Eastern European countries, which used to live in closed fortresses, have set themselves free. No one in Iran can claim that the current situation is better than the situation of the countries that changed their philosophies, moved from military confrontation to economic competition, and devoted their time to developing their civil capabilities instead of launching missiles in the skies of their neighbors.