November 27, 2010

Israel, the U.S. and the Arab World

Syrian, Hizballah's Guided Missiles Defy Israel's Aerial Supremacy

DEBKAfile Special
November 22, 2010

Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin took his leave from the Israel cabinet Sunday, Nov. 21, with a stern warning:
"Tel Aviv will be a front line in the next conflict," he said.
debkafile's military sources report:
Syria and Hizballah now possess thousands of surface missiles from Iran with enhanced ranges of up to 300 kilometers and they are being outfitted by Iranian engineers with guidance systems. The new guided Fateh-110, M-600 and Scud D missiles hardware can pinpoint any part of Israel within a 10-meter radius in defiance of Israel's aerial and anti-missile capabilities, say Israeli and Western missile experts.
Hizballah and Syria have been furnished by Iran with the means for fighting a new, far more comprehensive war.

All of Syria's chemical Scud C and D warheads have been converted into guided missiles, and so have the 1,000 Scud Ds kept in Syrian bases near the Lebanese border ready to push across to Hizballah in a military confrontation with Israel, which Hassan Nasrallah said ten days ago he would welcome.

During the three-week war of 2006, Hizballah launched 500 rockets a day -- relying on sheer, terrifying numbers against populated areas, mostly in the North -- to bring Israeli armed forces low.

A dozen a day of the guided, long-range weapons would do far more damage, say our military sources. Iran's allies would likely go for Greater Tel Aviv in order to sow demoralization in the most densely populated part of Israel and devastate its industrial and financial centers.

Earlier this month, Israel's Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, said it was possible that in the next war, large segments of the population would have to be evacuated from their homes.
Former head of the Israel Mission Defense Organization Uzi Rubin said recently:
"The enemy has achieved aerial supremacy without even having aircraft."
Iran's fully-guided Fateh-110 rocket would enable Hizballah and Syria to strike critical Israeli facilities with dozens rather than hundreds of rockets, he said.

Hizballah and Syria have 1,500 warheads that could strike the Tel Aviv area.
"This is a revolution," said the missile expert.
debkafile's military sources note that Rubin did not mention Israel's missile and rocket defense systems, the Arrow, Iron Dome and David's Sling, as able to thwart the new Syrian and Hizballah guided weapons – for good reason. Those systems are not up to intercepting heavy hails of thousands of incoming missiles. Even if only scores reached their targets, the damage would be tremendous.

As for aerial strikes against launching sites, Hizballah has dismantled its missile bases and scattered the warheads widely apart in underground bunkers and natural caverns, from which they can be launched.

U.S. Security Guarantees for Israel Worthless When Turkey Controls Missile Shield

November 21, 2010

By bowing to Ankara's demand to omit Iran, Syria and their ballistic missiles as a threat from the NATO agreement to establish a missile shield base in Turkey, President Barak Obama has devalued any US security guarantees offered Israel - as well as negating the facility's avowed purpose. The missile shield and its location in Europe were conceived in the first place for detecting and defusing Iranian and Syrian ballistic missile before they reached Europe or the United States.
"For the first time we've agreed to develop a missile defense capability that is strong enough to cover all Nato European territory and populations as well as the United States," Obama declared Friday, Nov. 19, at the NATO summit in Lisbon.
The US president did not say against who or what. Neither did he reveal the full scope of US and NATO's surrender to Turkey.

debkafile's military sources report that the covert clauses in the deal additionally provide for the missile base to come under the command of a Turkish general. President Abdullah Gul held out on this point in discussions with President Obama and NATO leaders, following the lead given him by Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan of Monday, Nov. 15:
"Turkey would demand that NATO assign a Turkish commander to oversee the shield. Especially if this is to be place on our soil…," said Erdogan.
Turkey's leaders are very close to the Islamic Republic's extremist rulers and see nothing amiss in their deploying large portions of Iran's missile arsenal on Syrian and Lebanese soil (in Hizballah's keeping). A Turkish general in command of the NATO missile shield cannot be expected to regard threatening missile action by Iran, Syria or Hizballah in the same light as would President Obama or NATO Secretary-General Andres Fogh Rasmussen. He would simply follow the orders of his own prime minister.

So NATO's forward missile interceptor may be physically and technically located in Turkey but, under a Turkish commander, its usefulness as an operational shield for the West against the most concrete perils facing NATO members is nil.

In these circumstances, there is not much point in Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu holding out for American security guarantees, even after the US State Department spokesman stated Friday, Nov. 19,
"The United States is prepared to offer Israel written security guarantees if it would help to restart stalled Middle East peace talks."
Those guarantees were awarded Turkey at the NATO summit in Lisbon and, by extension, to Iran, Syria and their radical allies, whose missiles are poised on Israel's borders facing in only one direction .

It is important to remember that American missile defense systems are closely inter-linked with and slotted into corresponding Israeli missile interceptors, air defenses and intelligence.

The Lisbon summit confirmed in its final decision that the new missile shield will complement existing US plans - indeed the US system will also be put at NATO's disposal and eventually be "incorporated into a single coherent defense system."

So how can vital US-Israeli missile defense collaboration continue after Turkish generals take control of the NATO defense shield?

As Iran, Hizballah Weigh War in Months, Israel Plans for Next Decade

November 16, 2010

On October 28, a Hizballah war game demonstrated the ability of its special forces to overrun Lebanon in two hours. It took Israel 19 days to respond:
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi finally confirmed on Nov. 15 that the Shiite terrorists may seize power after the UN Tribunal indicts their leaders for the Hariri assassination.
The general's was dry - not a word about how Israel proposed to handle a violent hostile terrorist takeover of Beirut on Iran's behalf and the grave strategic peril it presented Israel.

One of the first targets Iran's surrogate plans to grab is Beirut International airport and harbor. Massive quantities of war materiel could then be delivered directly into Hizballah's hand in Beirut instead going the roundabout route through Syria's sea port at Tartous and Damascus airport as they do now.

So how will the IDF handle this brazen hostile act? Impose a belated blockade on Beirut and intercept Iranian freighters? Tehran has already made it clear that any party intercepting its shipping for searches would find itself at war with the Islamic Republic.

Will the Israeli Air force intercept Iranian air transports ferrying weapons and Revolutionary Guards fighters to sustain Hizballah's war machine against Israel?

Again, If Israel never once, in the four years since UN Security Council 1701 banned the import of weapons for Hizballah, fired a single shot to impede the vast quantities of arms smuggled in from Sytia to Hizballah since then, why suddenly now?

Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak appear to be sunk in a state of suspended animation as attested to by three events in the last two days:
  1. Both of them, backed by certain high-ranking military officers have made a big deal of the security incentives they say the Obama administration is willing to pledge in return for its second, 90-day moratorium. One of those incentives is another 20 F-35 stealth warplanes on top of the first twenty Israel has already purchased.

    (The Palestinians have meanwhile dug their heels in against resuming talks claiming the US has given Israel too many benefits.)

    The value of the warplanes is not in question, only their relevance to Israel's military muscle in view of the fact that those planes are not scheduled for delivery before 2020 – that is in ten years' time!

    Does anyone know how many nuclear bombs Iran will have amassed since then or whether any will be deployed in Lebanon?

    All that can be said for sure about the year 2020 is that Barack Obama will no longer be president of the USA, Netanyahu prime minister of Israel nor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad president of Iran – even though as things stand today, the last of the three might yet make himself supreme ruler a lifelong position.

    Therefore, what good are the US F-35 warplanes when today Israel which lives under active threats from Iran, Hizballah, Syria and Hamas?

  2. An Israeli intelligence officer, who opted to stay anonymous, confirmed Sunday, Nov. 14, that Hamas had obtained surface missiles (Improved Fajr-5,made in Iran) with a range of 80 kilometers and therefore capable of exploding in the heart of Tel Aviv. He blamed Egypt for not doing enough to thwart the smuggling of illicit weapons through Sinai into the Gaza strip, but neglected to mention what Israel had done to thwart their passage into the Strip and deployment.

    This approach is typical of the mindset afflicting Israel's government, military and intelligence decision-makers these days. They seem to think that they need only to sound the alarm about threats and Washington or Cairo will do the rest. Israel's enemies are left in peace to build up their strength and magnify the menace they pose without interference.

  3. Monday, Nov. 15, Colonel Zvika Haimovitch of the Israeli air defense corps told a government-sponsored aerospace conference in Jerusalem that within two years, or 2015 at the latest, Israel's skies will be hermetically protected against enemy missiles. In the next two to five years "we will turn this vision into reality," he said. Israel's multi-layered air defense network will be fully deployed by 2015, "combining short-range rocket interceptors with kamikaze satellites that blow up ballistic missiles in space."

    He mentioned the Iron Dome developed by Israel for shooting down rockets with ranges of 5-70 kilometers as one of those tiers, David's Sling for intercepting more powerful rockets and the Arrow III for boosting a satellite beyond the Earth's atmosphere to collide with an incoming missile.
debkafile notes that the same day, American military sources disclosed that the IDF had only lately halted the introduction of the first Iron Dome battery to operational use because the battalion that was to have operated it had not finished training. Those sources mentioned a delay of at least one year.

Col. Haimovitch would have done better to use his public platform to address real events such as Iran's five-day countrywide air defense exercise which started Tuesday, Nov. 16, on driving off US and Israel warplanes and missiles venturing into its airspace. However, Israel's top brass are taking the lead from its political leaders, preferring to talk in the abstract about future threats when real perils lurk just behind Israel's door.
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