Sweating heavily despite the air conditioning, Israel Minister of Defense Ehud Barak walked back and forth in his spacious office on the Marganit Building’s fifth floor. The luxury of the needle-shaped, Dutch-built, Defense Ministry’s tower that had become one of Tel Aviv’s landmarks seemed to be teasing him: “Soon you’ll be selling falafel on the beach.” That was how the silent “woosh” of the cool air sounded to Barak. President Obama had thwarted an Israeli attack on Iran, and Prime Minister Netanyahu had announced early elections. Barak had no room in this new reality. “Even that little bastard—what’s his name?—our refugee in Bolivia, had defined me as a political corpse,” Barak was thinking. As if by black magic, two events restored Barak’s world overnight. Shaul Mofaz joined Netanyahu’s government and secured Barak’s stronghold until the end of 2013. Then, he was invited to visit the USA in the third week of May 2012. Then, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and he are due to release a joint statement on a special U.S. military assistance to Israel. The new funding is related to Israel’s missile programs: Barak’s baby. Smiling smugly, he rushed to contact his realtor. It was time to buy a new luxury house. “Maybe in Savyon this time,” he thought while dialing the number.
President Obama’s Expensive Apology
Iron Dome Launch
Following the American veto on an Israeli attack on Iran—at least until the presidential elections this November—America promised additional funding to Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile program. Since then, the Obama administration transferred $205 million to Israel, as an addition to the yearly $3 billion in military aid that the U.S. gives Israel. In April, Panetta announced that the Congress had approved an additional $680 million for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system; this was approved in the second week of May. Next week, Panetta and Barak will probably announce an additional $300 million in U.S. aid for the development of the David Sling and Arrow 3 anti-missile systems. Oddly enough, this attempt to further terrify the American and Israeli people with future missile attacks will take place while Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain—plus Germany) meet in Baghdad; this time an agreement defusing the tensions between the Western powers and Iran is expected to be achieved (see West and Iran Step Closer to Agreement; Israel Worried). This is an odd timing for speeding up what is usually presented as “defensive weapons.” Hence, the explanation for this is different.
David’s Sling hits Washington
Israeli Anti-missile weapons (I use this term to avoid including anti-tank and air-missiles that are also being developed by RAFAEL and others) are divided into three categories as per their interception range. The Iron Dome system is the newest and is intended to intercept short-range rockets (0–70 km). The David Sling system—marketed in the USA as Magic Wand—is designed to intercept medium- and long-range rockets, meaning between 70 km and 250 km, while the Arrow is designed to intercept ballistic missiles from up to 500 km. The main threats against which these weapons are being developed are Qassam rockets from Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement in Gaza, Katyusha rockets from Hezbollah, the Shiite Party of God in Southern Lebanon, and Iran's ballistic missiles. Iran and the Israeli Ministry of Defense offer different evaluations regarding the total number of missiles aimed at Israel; it seems that there are between fifty thousand and 200,000 missiles. Most of them are “dumb,” meaning they cannot be guided accurately. Here is the conundrum of the Israeli investment. The anti-missile systems are very expensive when compared to the missiles. A Qassam costs around $100; a single Iron Dome missile can cost one thousand times that. Even Rothschild won’t be able to pay for the costs of a fully operative anti-missile system. Thus even if the Iron Dome has a 100% success rate, it may turn out to be a hundred percent hits against 0.1% of the fired missiles or less.
Reality is different. All these Israeli systems are offensive and not defensive. Through the magic of fine-print manipulation, governments often succeed to sell us lies; the Iron Dome is a classic example of that. There are two points to pay attention to in the material published by Israel on this weapon. First, it is designed to intercept short-range threats up to 70 kilometers in all-weather situations. Second, as it can be seen in published pictures, it is a mobile system, similar in size to most weapons used by artillery corps. This means it can be carried around by the artillery just behind the frontline, and neutralize missiles and artillery shells fired by the other side. Thus, strictly speaking, this is not a defensive weapon, but a frontline support-weapon, as all artillery is. The imminent acquisition of Iron Dome by South Korea could have offensive implications towards North Korea. The same is true for the David Sling and Arrow 3 systems.
Until now, all the additional funding provided by the USA, was aimed for the development of the Iron Dome, in order to solve the problem of rockets being fired from Gaza. In several articles I analyzed how Israel is manipulating the performance statistics of this weapon. After the Iron Dome's first batteries were deployed, the IDF found, even with its carefully manipulated statistics, that the system shows only 75% accuracy. Why “carefully manipulated statistics?” This is because the IDF deployed the Iron Dome only in sites far enough from Gaza to provide the system with a good chance of success. Israel needs to be able to market Iron Dome as a successful weapon, thus it takes cynical care with its deployment. Analyzing raw data published by the IDF, one can calculate a success rate of less than 25% (see Israeli Iron Dome Threatens North Korea and Grad Missile Hits Beer Sheva).
Super Green Pine
The misleading Israeli announcements are paying off now. The additional American funding to be announced this week will allow further development of the David Sling and Arrow 3; which are marketed as defensive and enjoying Iron Dome’s fake stats. Oddly enough, Iran won’t be a victim of this. The Iranian army is a clearly defensive one; even the CIA and most Israeli security organizations agree that Iran has no plans to attack Israel or any other nation. Even if Arrow, David Sling and Iron Dome are used as an offensive weapon, they still need an army to confront; and Iran won’t provide an excuse to Israel for that. Even if they are never operationally used, David Sling and Arrow 3 are already pointing a magic wand at the USA military industry. The anti-missile systems industry is a complex one. In the illustration at the top of this page is a schematic presentation of an Arrow system, including its radar. The Green Pine Radar and its new variants are produced by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and can be purchased independently of the Arrow missiles. Green Pine radars have been supplied already to India, Azerbaijan, and South Korea. The military relations between India and Israel are cooling rapidly; nowadays the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization is producing a copy of the original Green pine named the Swordfish Long Range Tracking Radar. This is the main point I wanted to illustrate in this article. Israel is using American money (part of the annual American military help has been used for years for this purpose) for developing systems that damage American industry directly by selling similar components—the main competitor to the Israeli systems is the American company Raytheon–and indirectly, by spreading out the technologies acquired with American money. Israel does that systematically. One of the best known such events was the transfer by Israel of American AWACS surveillance technology to China without the approval of the American DoD. This preceded the Hainan Island incident which gave China better technology when it captured an American plane spying on its southern coasts. This Israeli activity will keep Israel afloat economically even if America's generous help is cut-off.
Can President Obama justify this to his electorate? Does the enrichment of Israel’s oligarchy—after all Iran is not threatening to attack Israel—of the State of Israel justify the sacrifice of America? Let me contribute to your campaign, Mr. Obama. I promise to publish here any logical response you send me. Until then, it is time for a coffee break.