Posts Tagged ‘israeli air force’

Israel, Palestinians trade fire but truce holds

March 15th, 2012 Comments off

The Israeli air force and Gaza militants traded sporadic fire overnight despite a truceThe Israeli air force and Gaza militants traded sporadic fire overnight but a fragile truce between the sides that ended four days of violence appeared to be largely holding on Thursday.

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Israel, Palestinians trade fire but truce largely holding

March 15th, 2012 Comments off

A Palestinian man inspects destroyed buildings following an Israeli air strikeThe Israeli air force and Gaza militants traded sporadic fire on Wednesday night but a fragile truce between the sides that ended four days of violence appeared to be largely holding.

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Hezbollah’s capabilities: ‘Blunting IAF supremacy!’

January 20th, 2012 Comments off

(UPI) — “… Hezbollah is already believed to have a substantial number of M600s, which are Syrian-produced clones of Iran’s Fateh-100 missile.
The M600 has a range of around 190 miles and carries a warhead containing a half-ton of high explosives.
The Israelis estimate that Hezbollah possesses around 42,000 missiles and rockets, including long-range weapons capable of hitting anywhere in Israel and which are changing the nature of Middle Eastern warfare… … Military officials have warned Israel’s population of 7 million that Israeli cities could be hit by 500 projectiles a day for weeks on end if a new conflict erupts.
“According to Western intelligence assessments, Hezbollah is believed to have taken advantage of the ongoing upheaval in Syria to obtain advanced weapons systems, such as additional long-range rockets as well as Russian-made air-defense systems,” Post military analyst Yaacov Katz wrote.
The Israelis said Shiite guerrillas, who have underground missile depots across their heartland in the Bekaa Valley of northeastern Lebanon along the Syrian border, possess the SA-8, a Russian mobile SAM system with an estimated range of around 20 miles.
The Israeli air force, the strongest in the Middle East and equipped largely with U.S.-made aircraft and weapons systems, is capable of countering the SA-8 … However, if Hezbollah has SA-8s in sufficient numbers to hurl multiple missiles at Israeli aircraft, which have enjoyed unchallenged mastery of the skies over Lebanon for decades, it could impede airstrikes….  With enough SA-8s, and the large quantity of Russian shoulder-fired SAMs Hezbollah is believed to have received from Syria over the last two years, the battle-hardened guerrillas could blunt Israeli air operations for a time to a degree not seen since the invading Egyptians drove off Israeli jets in the opening days of the 1973 war.
Apart from the addition of “several dozen” M600s to its armory, Hezbollah is believed to have acquired additional 302mm Khaibar-1 rockets from Syria. These have a range of around 62 miles…”

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‘Persian Incursion’

November 10th, 2011 Comments off

… 1. Bombing Iran is complicated. There’s a lot of prep work that needs to done. Persian Incursion assumes that an Israeli air campaign is only feasible if one of Iran’s neighbors — Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Iraq — overtly or covertly agrees to Israeli passage through its airspace.2. Iran can’t do jack about being bombed. The Persians in Persian Incursion have a snowball’s chance in hell of militarily stopping the Israeli onslaught. The Iranian player has to roll dice every turn just to see if his maintenance-starved air force can even get off the ground, while Israeli jammers and decoys keep things hopping for Iranian radars and anti-aircraft missiles. But Iran doesn’t have to shoot down every plane to win. Parading a dozen captured Israeli pilots before the cameras would be a political victory.
3. Israel can’t do jack about Iranian retaliation. The Israeli Air Force is going to be too busy bombing nuclear sites to go after Iranian missiles. The game assumes that Israel’s Arrow anti-missiles will knock down some Iranian rockets (I’m not so sure, given the less-than-sterling record of ballistic missile defense). But regardless, some Iranian weapons will get through. Israel has military superiority, but not invulnerability.
4. Iran’s nuclear hydra has many heads. Persian Incursion’s target folder lists dozens of Iranian nuclear facilities (along with their exact dimensions and defenses — the game is a reference library in a box). Some of them are hardened against all but the biggest bunker-busters. I don’t know how many would have to be destroyed to ruin Iran’s nuclear program, but the Israelis will have spread their limited resources over many targets.
5. Israel can’t do it all in one shot. Unlike the 1981 raid on Iraq’s Osirak reactor, Israel can’t pull this off in a single raid. Persian Incursion assumes Israel will need to conduct a one-week air campaign. Besides the diplomatic ramifications of a sustained assault, combat losses and maintenance downtime means the Israeli effort will only weaken over time….

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"With Iran it’s a different project" … The ‘Begin Doctrine’ is Dead!

November 7th, 2011 Comments off

“… Israel’s message is now more guarded…..  Such talk robs Israel of some of the element of surprise if it really is planning an assault on Iran. Could it instead be a loud reminder to the rest of the world of its problem with Iran in the hope that Washington or another power might intercede?
Interviews in recent months with government and military officials — most speaking on condition of anonymity — and independent experts suggest that Israel prefers caution over a unilateral strike against the Iranians….
Israelis have known for years that an attack on Iran would be much more difficult than their Iraq strike. Iran is larger, more distant and, perhaps because it learned the lessons of Iraq, has built numerous and well-fortified facilities. Taking these out would require a sustained campaign by the Israeli air force, which is more geared for precision strikes through the use of advanced technology.
“With Iran it’s a different project. There is no one silver bullet (with which) you can hit,” a senior Israeli defense official told Reuters, in a rare admission of his country’s tactical and strategic limitations….”We have to learn that the situation is changing, the region is changing. Not everything that was possible before is possible now and new possibilities open up,” said Dan Meridor, deputy prime minister in charge of Israel’s nuclear and intelligence affairs….”This was something counter-intuitive for Israel, especially for the military. Israelis like to be on the attack, not on the defensive,” Meridor said….
The most obvious example of Israel’s shifting stance is its pioneering missile shield, which incorporates a network of radar-guided interceptors designed to shoot down everything from the ballistic Shehab and Scud missiles of Iran and Syria to the lower-flying, Katyusha-style rockets of Hezbollah and Palestinian guerrillas…. “Hermetic protection will be impossible,” Colonel Zvika Haimovitch of the air defense corps told Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in a September 5 speech. “I assess that, in any conflict, rockets and missiles will fall here.”
But others, including INSS scholar and retired Israeli general Shlomo Brom, argue for Israel’s defensive posture to be expanded, and perhaps even for the secrecy to be eased around the country’s own, reputed atomic arsenal. Aiming to avoid a regional arms race and skirt international anti-proliferation scrutiny, Israel currently neither confirms nor denies having the bomb.
The answer is mutual deterrence, with the other side knowing the price it would pay for launching a nuclear strike — mutual destruction,” said Brom.
Israel did loose its jets on Syria in 2007, to destroy a desert installation that Washington later described as a nascent, North Korean-supplied atomic reactor. Damascus denied having such a facility and Israel has never formally taken responsibility for the raid. In his memoir, former U.S. President George W. Bush said Israel’s prime minister at the time, Ehud Olmert, preferred the reticence “because he wanted to avoid anything that might back Syria into a corner and force (President Bashar) Assad to retaliate“.
Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was not surprised that Israel went it alone. “I … remembered 1981, when the Israelis had ignored world opinion and launched an air strike to destroy a nuclear reactor Saddam Hussein was building at Osirak in Iraq,” Cheney wrote in his autobiography. “For the Syrians and the North Koreans … the private message was clear — Israel would not tolerate this threat.
But some argue the attack on Syria was designed to send a message to Iran.
We noted a whole lot of Iranian interest in what happened in Syria — trips by consultants, intense communication,” said a one-time adviser to Olmert, breaking Israel’s official silence around the episode.
By tackling Syria, Israel hoped to make the Iranians think twice about pursuing their nuclear program. To illustrate, the ex-adviser cited “Family Business”, a 1989 crime drama in which a veteran jailbird, played by Sean Connery, counsels his grandson on how to survive prison: “You pick out a tough guy, kick his ass right away … Word gets around, and it makes your time easier.”
Of course, the Americans also took note. Visiting Israel last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was asked by a reporter about the possibility that the 2007 sortie augured an Israeli attack on Iran. Panetta did not answer directly….
Israelis often question U.S. President Barack Obama’s resolve in the Middle East. But even if he loses power in next year’s presidential election to a more hawkish Republican, it may be too late for Israel, which predicted last January that Iran could have its first nuclear device in two years. That forecast was echoed by Britain.
“If they (Israel) feel they could achieve their objective, or at least initiate the kind of conflict that would meet their objective, through a one-off strike, that would be feasible,” said Richard Kemp, a retired British army colonel who has studied Israeli strategy.
Israel’s military does not comment on prospective operations. But many in Israel’s defense establishment have gone out of their way to downplay the feasibility of a unilateral attack. Former Mossad spymaster Meir Dagan has repeatedly ridiculed the idea in briefings to Israeli reporters.
Attacking the reactors from the air is a stupid idea that would have no advantage,” he said in May. “A regional war would be liable to unfold, during which missiles would come in from Iran and from Hezbollah in Lebanon.”…”

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Israel sends drones over Mediterranean gas fields (AP)

August 9th, 2011 Comments off

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 file photo, an Israeli soldier carries a drone during a large military exercise at the Shizafon Armored Corps Training Base in the Arava desert, in southern Israel. Israel has deployed reconnaissance drones on surveillance missions over its gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea due to security concerns, a defense official said Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. (AP Photos/Dan Balilty, File)AP – Israeli air force drones are patrolling the skies over the country’s gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea due to security concerns, a defense official said Tuesday.

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Der Spiegel: ‘Mossad killing Iran’s scientists!’

August 2nd, 2011 Comments off

“… There is little doubt in the shadowy world of intelligence agencies that Israel is behind the assassination of Darioush Rezaei. “That was the first serious action taken by the new Mossad chief Tamir Pardo,” an Israeli intelligence source told SPIEGEL ONLINE. On July 23, Rezaei became the latest victim in a mysterious series of attacks over the past 20 months which has seen the virtual decimation of the Islamic republic’s elite physicists. The 35-year-old died after being shot in the throat in front of his daughter’s kindergarten in east Tehran….

Iran suspects that a “triangle of wickedness,” consisting of the US, Israel and their hired accomplices, is behind the attacks, according to sources in Tehran. Washington denies any responsibility: “We were not involved,” a spokeswoman for the US State Department said in response to Rezaei’s death. According to sources in Israeli intelligence, the killings are part of a campaign to sabotage, or at least slow down, Iran’s nuclear program. The alleged campaign also involves other tactics as well as targeted assassinations. The cyber-attack using the Stuxnet computer virus, which paralyzed large parts of the Iranian nuclear program in the summer of 2010, is supposedly also part of Israel’s secret campaign against Iran. But for hardliners in the Israeli military,the covert action does not go far enough. The calls for bombing Iran are getting louder and louder, especially among Israeli Air Force officers, the informant told SPIEGEL ONLINE. There is apparently a heated debate about the effectiveness of such assassination campaigns and whether they can fulfill their goal, reported Yossi Melman, intelligence expert at the Israeli daily Haaretz. In addition, Israel has already faced fierce criticism over other assassinations allegedly committed by its agents in foreign countries.

Until now, Mossad experts have been able to convince decision-makers that the construction of an Iranian bomb can best be delayed through attacks on key figures and nuclear facilities. But it is unclear how long Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to follow this advice. Politicians in Jerusalem know well that Mossad is also pursuing its own interests when it argues that its agents should play the leading role in the struggle against Iran“As long as Mossad is leading the fight against the bomb, it will get the big budgets,” said the source. Whether there will be an open attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the future will partly depend on whether the Israeli military or intelligence wins the internal power struggle, the source said. “Just like with everything, this is also about prestige.”…”

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Al Schwimmer and Israel’s Air Force and Aviation Industry

June 17th, 2011 Comments off

Adolph “Al” Schwimmer died on June 10 in Tel Aviv at age 94, but the obits appeared in the last day or two. Schwimmer, an American who violated US laws to provide aircraft to Israel at its birth, later became the first President of Israel Aircraft Industries (now Israel Aerospace Industries), and is generally considered the father of the Israeli Air Force. Ironically, he died on his 94th birthday.

Born in New York in 1917, Schwimmer worked for Lockheed Martin and TWA, and in the Israeli War of Independence helped smuggle surplus US military and other aircraft through Europe to the new state of Israel. Some credit him with the birth of the Israeli Air Force. He returned to the US after the establishment of Israel, and was tried and convicted of vi9lations of the Neutrality Act, and stripped of his right to vote, though not imprisoned. David Ben Gurion invited him to Israel, where he founded the country’s aviation industry. He headed Israel Aircraft Industries until 1978.

In the 1980s, when I was working on Middle Eastern defense production issues, I got to know IAI pretty well, and Schwimmer was legendary, though I never met him.

The Jerusalem Post has a much more detailed obit here.  Along with the photo at right of Schwimmer in a cockpit with Ben Gurion.

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Saudi Arabia: "Ties to the US threaten our national security!"

February 22nd, 2011 Comments off
“… Subsequent developments led many in the kingdom to conclude that, far from safeguarding their country or advancing its interests, ties to America threatened national security. The United States invaded Iraq and facilitated its incorporation into a new Iranian sphere of influence. The kingdom was attacked by anti-Israeli and anti-American Saudis. The joint U.S.-Israeli attempt to overthrow the elected government in Palestine drove Hamas into dependence on Iran. The Israeli Air Force’s maiming of Lebanon with U.S. support propelled Hezbollah onto the commanding heights of Lebanese politics. Inept U.S. diplomacy then locked Syria into Iran’s embrace. Saudi exasperation with these and other U.S. blunders, not support for the militaristic policies that produced them, accounts for King Abdullah’s demand that America figure out a way to “cut off the head of the snake” its bungling has nurtured. No sensible Saudi would want the United States as an enemy, but few in the coming generation now see America as a friend, still less as an ally. LeVine correctly argues that the United States has a lot at stake with Saudi Arabia. That’s only one of many reasons that it cannot afford to stick with its current policies in the Middle East.” (Charles W. Freeman Jr.)

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Israeli air force strikes Gaza, 8 wounded (AP)

February 9th, 2011 Comments off

Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a burning medicine warehouse in Gaza City, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. Early Wednesday, Israeli aircraft carried out air strikes against four targets including Hamas and Islamic Jihad training camps and a medicine warehouse in Hamas-controlled Gaza in response to a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday. Gaza's Health Ministry says eight people were injured during the Israeli air strikes on Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)AP – Officials in Israel and Gaza say Israeli aircraft have carried out retaliatory airstrikes in the territory after militants launched rockets into Israel.

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