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Iran Should Not Underestimate Israelʼs Military Superiority

By Renad Ihab


The government of Iran will make a grave mistake if it underestimates the military superiority of Israel. Israel is and has been a fully mobilized war machine for more than six decades and the government of Israel has dedicated itself to military strength as its top national objective. Many other governments in the Middle East (Iran included) seek military strength but they have been so pre-occupied with other objectives that achieving maximum military strength often takes a backseat. Israel has several characteristics that have made it a strong and efficient army. Unfortunately most of these characteristics are absent in Iran and as a result Iranʼs military power is inferior to Israel.


  1. The political system of Israel offers equal political rights to all (Jewish) citizens and does not exclude any Jew on the basis of religious commitment or ideological characteristics. In other words while Israel was established as a Jewish estate it has never imposed the Jewish laws and norms on its citizens. A Jewish citizen of Israel who is not an orthodox Jew is free to live his life as he desires without facing any type of religious pressure. He is also free to adopt any political ideology including opposition to Zionism. As a result both secular and orthodox Jews are fully dedicated to the survival of their government and society and they both show strong patriotic feelings. In Iran, on the other hand, the government imposes the Islamic moral code on all citizens regardless of their personal preferences. As a result secular Iranians feel alienated and do not wish to cooperate with the government.

  2. All Jewish scientists and engineers feel a patriotic obligation to serve the needs of Israelʼs armament industry because they believe that government of Israel is legitimate and its policies reflect the popular will of the Israeli citizens. Even Jews who live outside Israel play a crucial role in transfer of technology to Israeli weapon manufacturers. The most capable Iranian scientists, on the other hand, have left the country and many of those who live inside Iran are disqualified from working for the defense industry for religious and political reasons. Some feel so alienated from the government that they refuse to work for government -owned armament industries.  Consequently Iranʼs domestic weapon systems will remain inferior to Israel.

  3. The Jewish community in America is fully dedicated to survival of Israel and has formed an effective lobby to make sure the United States supports Israel at all costs. As a result the United States has provided Israel with enough military support to make it stronger than all of its Arab opponents plus Iran. The Iranian immigrant community in the U.S. does not have an effective lobby to fight for Iranʼs interests because many of the Iranian immigrants are opposed to the policies of the Islamic regime.


Like the United States, Israel has created a military-industrial complex which is a mixture of government and private enterprises. Israel has oriented its weapon manufacturing firms toward weapon exports and today it is a leading exporter of sophisticated weapon systems. Israeli weapon manufacturers operate in a competitive environment and are partly motivated by profit. Successful export of armaments keeps these industries active and reduces the economic burden of maintaining these firms on the shoulders of Israeli government. Israel has achieved this by specializing on a select number of high-tech advanced weapons systems. Iran on the other hand has perused a horizontal development in its armament policy. Unlike Israel it produces a wider range of weapon systems which include tanks, missiles, airplanes and submarines.  As a result the quality of Iranʼs domestic weapon systems is poor. This policy is partly a result of the U.S. sanctions which make it very difficult for Iran to buy advanced weapons from other countries. The result is the inferiority of Iranʼs weapon systems.


The repeated failures of the Ottoman Empire in war against European powers during 18th and 19th centuries prompted the Ottoman rulers to search for the cause of European military strength. This search began in mid-19th century but Ottomans arrived at a partial explanation. They concluded that for Ottoman Empire to achieve military parity with Europe it must develop an industrial base and focus on weapon development. Unfortunately they ignored the role of political and social institutions in Europeʼs military superiority.


The Islamic regime of Iran is equally concerned with the causes of Western strength but it appears stuck in the Ottoman understanding of these causes. Unfortunately many of the opponents of this regime inside and outside of the country are also ignorant of the broader causes of the strength of Israel and its guardian, the United States.  


About the author: Renad Ihab is a former professor of political science in Tehran University. He currently lives in Europe.

... Payvand News - 12/26/07 ... --

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