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|During the First Gulf War, Israel deployed a secret weapon against the missiles arriving from Iraq. Whenever a launching was detected, the television and radio broadcasts were interrupted with a scary siren and an evil voice saying “Nahash Tzefa,” “cobra snake” in Hebrew, which was the military code chosen for the event. We run into the designed shelters, our gas masks treated as lifesaving devices.
Seconds later, IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Nachman Shay would appear on the television updating on the situation. A bottle of fresh water was next to him, in order to emphasize what he tirelessly repeated: “Drink water, calm down!” He showed the people how to accomplish the feat. Anti-Skud water was Israel’s best answer; after a few days, Mr. Shay was the funniest clown in the Middle East. Coca-Cola Enjoy!
At the time, I lived and taught at the Green Village, a boarding school near Tel Aviv University, where I studied. It is located one junction away from Glilot, where the Mossad Headquarters are, where a central installation of the IDF Intelligence Directorate is, and where a major gas farm was. The junction was Iraq’s main target. One of their missiles missed a gas-tank for a few meters. That hit would have been enough to seriously maim* Israel.
“Drink water, calm down!” An agitated Mr. Shay kept saying from his nuclear-shelter hide while everybody giggled at his foolishness while looking at the dangerous fireworks. Water doesn’t stop missiles!
Israel Launches Missiles
||On September 3, 2013, a few minutes after 9:15AM (Tel Aviv and Moscow times), Russia released an announcement through its news agency, claiming that its military had detected two launchings of missiles from Israel in the general direction of Syria, over the Mediterranean Sea.
Following the foolish routines used by Hebrew media to circumvent the military censor,** it immediately quoted the Russians, still claiming ignorance on the source of the missiles. Yet, the quote itself identified the event as real and related to Israel.
Minutes before 2PM local time, Israel’s Ministry of Defense acknowledged the event, saying that the Homa (“rampart”) Administration, which is part of the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (Maf’at), in cooperation with the USA’s Missile Defense Agency have successfully conducted an experiment related to the Arrow Antimissile System. Soon afterwards, the BBC dared to mention the event.
The reports did not agree. All claimed that an Arrow 3 antimissile had been shot; however, foreigner reports claimed that it had been shot at a RAFAEL Black Sparrow missile while the Israeli MoD claimed it had been shot at an “Anchor” missile which was among the systems being tested.
The involvement of the USA’s Missile Defense Agency was expected. Arrow is more American than Israeli, the latter party serving mainly for funneling American military help to Israel back to the American corporations developing Key components of the system. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are main partners in the development and manufacture of the Arrow.
Currently, Israel has two Arrow batteries deployed. The first within the Palmachim Airbase south of Tel Aviv, and the second in Ein Shemer, roughly halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The map below shows the alleged interception range.
Disguised Offensive Weapons
At first the move makes no sense. After all, the Ministry of Defense recently announced a Jericho nuclear-missile ballistic test, and a new redeployment plan of the IDF+ (Jericho Ballistic Test, Saudi Missiles, and an IDF Brave New Plan). The new plan included a downgrade on the antimissiles systems due to their recent failure during Operation Pillar of Cloud.++
Moreover, also as a warning to Syria it looks senseless. After all, antimissiles are defensive systems, aren’t they?
The Illustration shows two operational options. Action against a real missile and in drill against a fighter-fired Black-Sparrow missile
Antimissiles are not necessarily defensive. Israeli antimissile 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 up to 500 km.
Through the magic of fine-print manipulation, governments often succeed to sell us lies; Israeli antimissiles are a classic example of that. There is a key point to pay attention to in the material published by Israel on these weapons. All of them are mobile systems, 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. Thus, they have offensive implications.
Today’s test is related to the rapidly developing situation in Syria, but from a different angle. The Iron Dome is constantly developed and checked, mainly due to the occasional firing of Qassam Missiles from Gaza. The David Sling is still not fully operational. The Arrow is already deployed; yet, the MoD statement hints that the main test was the unknown Anchor Missile. What is the point of testing the missile in an antimissile system?
Poor Rothschild & Rockefeller
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 50,000 and 200,000 missiles. Most of them are “dumb,” meaning that they cannot be guided accurately.
Here is the conundrum of the Israeli investment. The antimissile systems are very expensive when compared to the missiles. A Qassam costs around $100; a single Iron Dome missile can cost one thousand times that. Even Rothschild won’t be able to pay for the costs of a fully operative antimissile system; Rockefeller is paying for much of the system, but even he is not rich enough.$ Thus, even if the antimissile system has a 100% success rate, it may turn out to be a hundred percent hits against 0.1% of the fired missiles or less.
The IDF answer to the problem was firing more than one antimissile at any detected missile, raising the costs even more. One doesn’t need to be a math wizard to understand that even if Uncle Obama pays for the toys they are not intended for civilian protection. The Iron Dome used during Pillar of Cloud are cheap compared with the Arrow. Firing the latter costs around $3 million per unit. They are not intended for intercepting cheap Katyushas fired by Hezbollah.
Israel is unlikely to use antimissiles in a defensive fashion, except for testing and developing the complex systems. The expenses of Israel during the last Gaza operation were astonishing; the Ministry of Defense published that the attacks on Gaza cost $400 million per day. The antimissiles used weren’t cheap, beginning at $50,000 per unit. They achieved a 70% failure rate.
The Grandmother of All Battles
|Two events hint at the USA-Israel intentions behind the launching.
The test of a new mock-missile, the mysterious Anchor, was designed to mimic a new threat. The most probable one is new ballistic missiles that are expected to be launched if the conflict ignites. Syria already promised surprises in such a case.
I reported the second event on August 31, in Kerry’s 1400 Lies. Israel fully deployed Artillery Brigade 282 in the Golan Heights. Armored units are being deployed in what looks as a preparation to a ground attack.
Today’s test may be related to checking the Arrow capabilities in long-range support of divisions 36 (282 is part of it) and 366 in a ground attack on Syria. Both Israel and the USA seem to ignore the artillery ratio between Syria and Israel. The first has well over ten times more artillery than the latter. Antimissiles would be of very limited help in such a battle.
A fireworks show may soon begin during the Grandmother of All Battles. “Drink water, calm down!” an ageing Nachman Shay keeps nagging, unable to perceive his own clownishness.
* A pun, “maim” sounds almost as the Hebrew “mayim,” “water.”
** Israel’s Military Censor is technically part of AMAN, the IDF Intelligence Directorate, but it works as an independent unit. Its head is appointed directly by the Defense Minister—a highly unusual step—and is only subject to parliamentary and judicial oversight. Not even the Minister of Defense can give orders to it.
The Military Censor has authority to suppress information it deems compromising from being made public in the media. Probably the most famous event ever censored was the Kav 300 picture (see Kav 300 Forever); the picture was exposed to the Israeli public only after the New York Times published it. This is typical; Israeli news outlets often circumvent the censor by reporting stories “as quoted from foreign news sources,” which are not subject to the restrictions of the Israeli military censor.
The trial of Mordechai Vanunu, the assassination attempt on Khaled Mashal (see Mossad, Sonic Weapons & Haled Mashal) and events related to Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Cast Lead were also famously censored.
A clear sign of the Military Censor power is the length of his service. A regular post of an IDF officer lasts two years. Yet, Avner Bar-On served as Military Censor in 1951-1953 and 1955-1977. Ytzhak Shani served between 1977 and 2000. The current censor has been in office since 2005. This is highly irregular and allows them to accumulate immense power. Despite what the law says, this power is not limited to Israel. If they want to target foreign media, they can use other units of Israel’s extensive intelligence corps. One of them is the diplomatic corps; diplomats all over the world are nothing but an arm of their country’s intelligence services. In the last week of April 2012, Israel attempted to censor not an unknown American blogger, but a well known CBS program named 60 Minutes (Israel Military Censor hits the USA).
+ Recently, Israel announced a long-delayed redeployment plan and started its implementation. The latest article on this was IDF Begins Redeployment Plan with an Attack on Lebanon. An important detail was the move of Division 366, the IDF’s largest, up the Golan Heights while Division 36, will remain there but be transformed into a multi-theater division. See Key IDF Rearrangement Announced.
++ Israel likes to make boastful declarations about its antimissile systems. Yet, most reports on Israeli media are about failed interceptions. Israel manipulates its antimissile system interception data; this is the result of the systems being aimed for export, mainly to South Korea and Singapore, but also due to the generous American support of the development process. The manipulation is straightforward; the system is deployed exclusively where it has optimal interception conditions. Moreover, during Pillar of Cloud, Israel shot two anti-missiles against every missile. This leads to what in Measurement Theory is known as a bad sampling of data, which becomes unrepresentative of the overall population of the studied event. With this foiled magic, Israeli media claims that the interception rate is 90%. In Pillar of Cloud ends Unfinished, I quoted the data released by the IDF following the operation. It shows that 700 missiles out of the 1,000 fired by Hamas hit Israel. This amounts to a 70% failure of Iron Dome. (Israeli Anti-Missiles Fail in Eilat Attack)
$Even the limited data available is enough to understand Israel’s strategy. First, the antimissile system’s budget originates in the American aid, thus actually the cost to Israel is much less than its nominal production cost. Israel pays its fully owned missile producer RAFAEL with American money. Moreover, Israel must spend the money in the same year it is given; otherwise it is lost. This is the cruel mechanic of the world’s largest war machine. Then, the fine print of the new deal reveals another side of Israel’s strategy.
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