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Israel Committee Letter to Charles Schumer and Carl Levin

December 3rd, 2010

From the Emergency Committee for Israel:

“We write in response to your remarkable public letter to Howard Kohr, the Executive Director of AIPAC. His ongoing institutional responsibilities will probably prevent him from responding to you—two powerful Senators unafraid to use your power—as frankly as we can. But we will be frank.

“Your letter—an effort to pressure an organization to lobby on a matter far outside its expertise and area of concern—is a disgrace. We’ve rarely seen Senators stoop to this kind of public bullying. AIPAC ‘cannot afford to stand on the sidelines?’ What threat do you mean to convey by this statement?

“It’s clear that defenders of the New START treaty (on which, needless to say, the Emergency Committee for Israel takes no position) are frantic to have it ratified in the lame duck session, and they apparently lack the votes to ram it through. But your desperation about New START does not justify behavior unworthy of Senators.

“Furthermore: Is it your position that if the Senate does not ratify START in the lame duck session, Russia will be justified in violating UN sanctions against Iran, or in selling Iran air defense missiles? If not, why do you appear to give the Russian government such a justification? Is that the action of true friends of Israel, or true opponents of a nuclear Iran?

“We urge you to withdraw the letter to which you have so unfortunately lent your name.”

Missile Defense Quick Links for Tuesday

September 28th, 2010

– James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, will brief senators tomorrow on START. Among other things, Republicans believe the president compromised our national defense in a misguided attempt to “reset” relations with the former Soviet Union. (Source)

– The U.S. and Israel reached an agreement to continue developing Israel’s short-range David Sling missile defense system, designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. (Source)

– NATO recently approved defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) system. MEADS International President Steve Barnoske said, “Joint Project Optic Wind was an early opportunity to prove out the interoperability of the MEADS battle management architecture and its ability to serve as the integrating element for an air and missile defense task force. Open, modular software gives MEADS great flexibility to accommodate additional requirements.” (Source)

Iron Dome’s Final Test Successful

July 22nd, 2010

Israel’s Iron Dome is an anti-rocket shield designed to defend Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets and short- and medium-range missiles. Haaretz.com reports that Iron Dome successfully completed its final test. The system can intercept several rockets in different directions at the same time. 

The U.S. and Israel are working together to develop the Arrow III system to destroy multiple-warhead missiles and decoys.

Mitt Romney: START Could Be Obama’s Worst Foreign Policy Mistake

July 6th, 2010

Mitt Romney

Former Governor Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post. He was some tough words for the president.

“Given President Obama’s glaring domestic policy missteps, it is understandable that the public has largely been blinded to his foreign policy failings…He castigated Israel at the United Nations but was silent about Hamas having launched 7,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip. His policy of ‘engagement’ with rogue nations has been met with North Korean nuclear tests, missile launches and the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, while Iran has accelerated its nuclear program, funded terrorists and armed Hezbollah with long-range missiles. He acceded to Russia’s No. 1 foreign policy objective, the abandonment of our Europe-based missile defense program, and obtained nothing whatsoever in return.

“Despite all of this, the president’s New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New-START) with Russia could be his worst foreign policy mistake yet. The treaty as submitted to the Senate should not be ratified.”

Like other proponents of strong and comprehensive missile defense, Romney believes START limits our missile strategy, despite the administration’s assurances to the contrary.

“Its preamble links strategic defense with strategic arsenal. It explicitly forbids the United States from converting intercontinental ballistic missile silos into missile defense sites. And Russia has expressly reserved the right to walk away from the treaty if it believes that the United States has significantly increased its missile defense capability.

“Hence, to preserve the treaty’s restrictions on Russia, America must effectively get Russia’s permission for any missile defense expansion. Moscow’s vehemence over our modest plans in Eastern Europe demonstrate that such permission would be extremely unlikely.”

Why did President Obama caved to an agreement that benefits mostly Russia? Why is the reasoning behind restricting the defense of our homeland?

“The treaty also gives far more to the Russians than to the United States. As drafted, it lets Russia escape the limit on its number of strategic nuclear warheads. Loopholes and lapses — presumably carefully crafted by Moscow — provide a path to entirely avoid the advertised warhead-reduction targets. For example, rail-based ICBMs and launchers are not mentioned. Similarly, multiple nuclear warheads that are mounted on bombers are effectively not counted. Unlike past treaty restrictions, ICBMs are not prohibited from bombers. This means that Russia is free to mount a nearly unlimited number of ICBMs on bombers — including MIRVs (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles) or multiple warheads — without tripping the treaty’s limits. These omissions would be consistent with Russia’s plans for a new heavy bomber and reports of growing interest in rail-mobile ICBMs.”

Read the full article at the Washington Post.

Israel and Missile Defense

May 5th, 2010

Israel and NATO seek to work together on missile defense. Though not a member of NATO, Israel would collaborate with the organization to address the Iranian threat.

“We have already been provided some information about the Israeli test-bed,” NATO’s Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense Program Office Alan Berry said. “We are happy to discuss things with Israel about our capabilities, and we are looking forward to future discussions in that area.” (Source)

Last year, Iran test-fired the long-range Sajjil-2 missile, capable of reaching Israel and Southern Europe. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) have a longer range than the Sajjil, and Iran may have ICBM capabilities in five years. Israel increased production of its Arrow missile interceptors “significantly.” (Source) Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “We will need to expand our arsenal of Arrow interceptors” which are capable of intercepting Iranian, Syrian Shihab, and Scud missiles. Israel’s air force also is upgrading existing Arrow interceptors to the new Arrow II missile system.

Around the same time, Israel reported intercepting a ship that left Iran bound for Hezbollah carrying missiles, rockets, anti-tank weapons.

Israel and the U.S. conducted a joint missile defense exercise that simulated a response to an attack by the Islamic Republic, Syria, and Hezbollah. Among the systems tested were the Arrow II, THAAD, Aegis, and PAC-3. The Iron Dome is an anti-rocket shield designed to defend Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets. The U.S. and Israel are working together to develop the Arrow III system to destroy multiple-warhead missiles and decoys.

Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report

February 4th, 2010

Iran North Korea missiles

The Department of Defense (DOD) has released its Ballistic Missile Defense Review, conducted from March 2009 through January 2010. Download the 61-page report in PDF.

In assessing the ballistic missile threat around the world, DOD found the threat to be growing. As technology improves, missiles are becoming more accurate and farther-reaching. Ballistic missile systems are also more flexible and mobile. These trends are particularly disturbing as rogue states continue developing long-range weapons and nuclear capability. Last year, Iran test-fired the long-range Sajjil-2 missile, capable of reaching Israel and Southern Europe. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) have a longer range than the Sajjil.

“There is some uncertainty about when and how this type of [ICBM] threat to the U.S. homeland will mature,” states the report, “but there is no uncertainty about the existence of regional threats. They are clear and present. The threat from short-range, medium-range, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs, MRBMs, and IRBMs) in regions where the United States deploys forces and maintains security relationships is growing at a particularly rapid pace.”

DOD’s recommended priorities for the U.S. include testing new capabilities before deployment, testing under realistic operational conditions, and adapting as threats shift.

DOD contends that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense presently protects the U.S. against ICBM attacks from Iran and North Korea. To maintain this “advantageous position” as the threat grows, DOD says the U.S. will:

“Maintain readiness and continue to develop existing operational capabilities at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

“Complete the second field of 14 silos at Fort Greely to hedge against the possibility that additional deployments become necessary.

“Deploy new sensors in Europe to improve cueing for missiles launched at the United States by Iran or other potential adversaries in the Middle East.

“Invest in further development of the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) for future land-based deployment as the ICBM threat matures.

“Increase investments in sensors and early-intercept kill systems to help defeat missile defense countermeasures.

“Pursue a number of new GMD system enhancements, develop next generation missile defense capabilities, and advance other hedging strategies including continued development and assessment of a two-stage ground-based interceptor.”

Some experts question the report’s conclusions. For example, the Heritage Foundation’s Baker Spring believes the threat to the homeland could well be more imminent, which leaves the U.S. vulnerable to strategic surprises and risks the lives of millions of Americans. Our solutions and strategies should be more immediate rather than future oriented.

Iran Tests Long-Range Sajjil-2

December 17th, 2009

 
Yesterday, Iran test-launched its longest-range, solid fuel missile, capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, a day after the House of Representatives voted for sanctions against the rogue state.

Iran’s Sajjil-2 is the kind of weapon missile shields in Poland and the Czech Republic would have defended against. President Barack Obama dropped the Bush-era missile shield plans in Central Europe for one that deals with shorter-range missiles. The administration’s new missile defense policy doesn’t jibe with the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) goals. Stopping Iran’s long-range missiles will be the focus of the MDA’s simulated attack next month.

The Telegraph analyzes why Iran test-launched the Sajjil-2. Reporter Richard Spencer writes:

“[T]he most important response to Iran’s noise in recent weeks has been its mirror image: Israel’s silence…Since making his keynote speech to the Muslim world a week before the Iranian elections, President Barack Obama has urged negotiations, more diplomacy, and friendship with the Iranian people. That puts Mr Ahmadinejad in a dilemma. For the 30 years of the Republic, the US has been the enemy-in-chief, the Great Satan. Yet the more Mr Obama plays nice, the more that propaganda card fails to fulfil its purpose of uniting the Iranian people in a frenzy of support for the regime.”

Since Obama is going the diplomacy route, Iran needs an excuse to forge ahead with its defiant testing and nuclear development. Israel, which may pre-emptively strike Iran’s nuclear sites, is the “replacement bogeyman.”

“The Israelis have always said that military action is a possibility, but if Mr Ahmadinejad calls their bluff, have they got what it takes?”

The world may find out much sooner rather than later. Major General Amos Yadlin, Israel’s top intelligence chief, said Iran is close to developing a nuclear bomb, because it has enriched enough uranium.

In reaction to Iran’s missile test, White House spokesman Mike Hammer said, “Such actions will increase the seriousness and resolve of the international community to hold Iran accountable for its continued defiance of its international obligations on its nuclear program.” (Source)

Israel Increases Arrow Interceptors

November 19th, 2009

Arrow-3

Israel, faced with missile threats from Iran, has increased production of Arrow missile interceptors “significantly.” (Source)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “We will need to expand our arsenal of Arrow interceptors” which are capable of intercepting Iranian, Syrian Shihab, and Scud missiles. Israel’s air force also is upgrading existing Arrow interceptors to the new Arrow II missile system.

Earlier this month, Israel reported intercepting a ship that left Iran bound for Hezbollah carrying missiles, rockets, anti-tank weapons. Barak said the seizing was “another success against the relentless attempts to smuggle weapons to bolster terrorist elements threatening Israel’s security,” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the weapons were “intended to hit Israeli cities.”

Israel and the U.S. recently conducted a joint missile defense exercise that simulated a response to an attack by the Islamic Republic, Syria, and Hezbollah. Among the systems tested were the Arrow II, THAAD, Aegis, and PAC-3. The Iron Dome is an anti-rocket shield designed to defend Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets. The U.S. and Israel are working together to develop the Arrow III system to destroy multiple-warhead missiles and decoys.

Iran/Russia Missile Defense Deal

November 12th, 2009

S-300

In March, sources reported that Russia had signed a contract to sell S-300 missiles to rogue state Iran, which the former Soviet Union promptly denied. According to the AP, the Foreign Ministry claimed Russia “has sold to Iran only defensive weapons that cannot destabilize the situation in the region” and added that Russia doesn’t sell S-300 missiles to the Middle East or Southwest Asia.

In August, The AP reported that Russia promised to reconsider selling S-300 missiles to Iran. The U.S. and Israel had reason to believe the so-called defense missiles would be used to defend Iran’s nuclear facilities. Shimon Peres, president of Israel, said that “President Medvedev gave a promise he will reconsider the sales of S-300s because it affects the delicate balance which exists in the Middle East.”

This week, Iran is urging Russia to honor the agreement to sell the country S-300 missiles and to not cave to detractors like the U.S. (Source) “In connection with the purchase of S-300, ” Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, “we have a contract with Russia and I do not think it would be suitable for Russia to be seen as an uncertain partner in the world.”

Our country seeks cooperation from Russia to issue tougher sanctions against the rogue state, but Russia so far has refused. With talk of a deal between the two, Russia’s cooperation seems even more unlikely.

Israel claims Iran would use the S-300s to defend against nuclear facility air strikes. Israel has hinted at the possibility of pre-emptive strikes against Iran.

(Photo source: Getty Images)

Israel Seizes Hezbollah-Bound Ship Carrying Weapons

November 4th, 2009

Iran rockets

Israel reported intercepting a ship that left Iran bound for Hezbollah carrying missiles, rockets, anti-tank weapons.

The ship had the appearance of an aid vessel, and the crew and chartering company claimed not to know what was on board. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the seizing was “another success against the relentless attempts to smuggle weapons to bolster terrorist elements threatening Israel’s security,” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the weapons were “intended to hit Israeli cities.”

Almost eight years ago, Israel intercepted a ship carrying weapons to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. and Israel recently conducted two joint missile drills, Juniper Cobra. The most recent drill was a simulated response to an attack by the Islamic Republic, Syria, and Hezbollah. Among the systems tested were the Arrow II, THAAD, Aegis, and PAC-3. Israel’s Iron Dome is an anti-rocket shield designed to defend Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah rockets and also serves as a major component in a multi-layered missile defense system. The U.S. and Israel are working together to develop Arrow III, designed to destroy multiple-warhead missiles and decoys.

Eli Shaked, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, said this about Hamas and Hezbollah:

“The situation is becoming more and more complex because the weapons they are acquiring are more and more dangerous to civilian targets in Israel.”

(Story source: Associated Press – Image source: GlobalSecurity.org)