Monthly Archives: September 2008

Sweeet! – New Year / Shana Tova

Shana Tova from the Hashmonean to one & all
Let’s look forward to nothing but honey this year!

In the mean time, all the best this year – Until then I need to go pump out a quick load of laundry before the holiday kicks in, lest I spend the bulk of the new year without underpants..

SuperBase: Nevatim hosts all sorts of goodies beyond the X-band

Radar joins IAF mother of all bases

The X-band has arrived, along with a large contingent of US personnel in what will be a fully enclosed mini US base complete with PAC-3 air defense. The additon of the X-Band gives a few more minutes lead time for the Hetz / Arrow 2 in Shahab & scud interceptions pushing them out beyond Israel itself and into neighboring atmospheres, extending Israel’s own Green Pine radar system which is welcome.

The x-band radar itself while certainly useful is eclipsed by the second detail, the global network it is hooked up to known as JTAGS which is the US global satellite / radar system for Ballistic Missile launch detection, and ground / strike targeting of related assets. The X-band and ground control station is deployed at the IAF’s new superbase in Nevatim. The IDF facility is about a month old and will house the bulk of the IAF going forward, including strike fighters & transports. It’s quite a consolidation into the heart of the Negev desert featuring some of Israel’s latest & longest air strips, as evidenced by the monstrous C5 Galaxies that brought the US gear and support personnel this week.

Strike prevention? Not so quick there Tanto..

The popular interpretation of the Xband arrival is that it prevents Israel from striking without US permission, that there was some form of quid pro quo given on its delivery. Of course this is nonsense on numerous levels. Firstly Israel would never agree to place its defense solely in the hands of another country USA or not, the notion is absurd. The xband is a bolster to Israel’s missile defense, it is not the end all by far in Israeli defense. It is truly ludicrous to suggest Israel needs permission to carry out its own self defense. The man most responsible for getting the system into Israel and ramping US House support, Congressman Mark Kirk agrees. When asked about this allegation floated in the media primarily by those opposed to strikes this was his response..

[...] “There is no quid pro quo,” he said.

“You mean that the US did not say that in exchange for deploying the X-Band system Israel needs to receive US permission to attack Iran?”

“No, the US made no such demand,” Kirk said.

“The basic idea is that a US ally getting nuked is a bad thing. The X-Band system increases the likelihood that such an attack would fail,” he continued.

Moreover, far from sending a message that the US would work to block an Israeli preemptive attack against Iran, Kirk argued that the deployment of the X-Band system manned by a US crew “will send a message to Iran, that Israel has powerful political support from its ally against any Iranian threat.”

Kirk also argued that the US will support a decision by Israel’s government to attack Iran. As he put it, “If the Israeli government makes the difficult decision [that it must launch a preemptive attack against Iran], that is when Israel will need its allies the most. And that is when the US will be called in to show what it means to have us as an ally.” [...]

History is not on the side of absurdity either

Israel has through historical precedent acted with a US red light, and no light previously. The six day war was totally opposed by the US as a pre-emptive strike, as reported famously from the era. The Osirak Iraqi reactor strike was a surprise to the Reagan administration which opposed the effort (miss ya Gipper), and even the recent Syrian reactor strike was carried out without full blessing according to reports. Not too mention the Lebanon war II which had US support but which rolled far too quickly to suggest any massive US Israeli coordination and quickly devolved to full scale war. If anything Israel seems to chart its own course more often than not. I would chalk this up as yet another wishful dream for those opposing Iranian strikes as a last resort to a nuclear Iran.

Everything a strike package needs in one convenient spot

As mentioned, Nevatim is the new IAF / IDF superbase, the new command center for Israel’s air force. Now it also houses a US mini base on site as well the 1st of its kind – a  Joint Tactical Ground Station. The system ties all US sat, radar and sensor information together in order to paint a real time view of the full war theatre. Useful for spotting & tracking incoming missiles, but also the system used to direct offensive forces on precision strikes, guiding fighters to targets in real time (right to the cockpit as necessary) to take out defenses & missile launchers.

That could be handy indeed it seems not just to report and intercept incoming missiles, but to pre-empt them as well before they launch via strikes. If anything the xband arrival spells coordination, between Israel and US assets in the Gulf, Med, & Red Sea, tying in the US Aegis ABM & THAAD systems across the theatre. This was done to bolster Israel’s strengths and defenses, not tie its hands.

Fine Wine: Pounding Obama on Israel has never looked this good

Better than Six Flags!!

Yes, I hassle the Democratic nominee to no end. Seeing as he pretty much gets a free ride everywhere else I’m figuring somebody’s gotta do it. In any case, surely the big foreign policy debate on Friday deserves giving Obama another shot or two, No? Though McCain hitting him with that classic ‘oh please’ line in reference to negotiating with Iran was pretty classic.. I wasn’t hooked up to any of Frank Luntz’s fancy dialometers but I felt my favorables shooting up for McCain nonetheless : )

Capturing my worldview

It was Kinda like the feeling I got when I read this by Yoram Ettinger, which captures my thinking on these matters so succinctly I’m kinda wishing I wrote it.. I skipped some of the intro but captured the meaty stuff below.

Obama, McCain and Israel – Who really stands by Israel? Obama’s, McCain’s worldviews provide the answer.

[...]

1. According to McCain, World War III between Western democracies and Islamic terror/rogue regimes is already in process. According to Obama, the conflict is with a radical Islamic minority, which could be dealt with through diplomacy, foreign aid, cultural exchanges and a lower US military profile. Thus, McCain’s worldview highlights – while Obama’s worldview downplays – Israel’s role as a strategic ally. McCain recognizes that US-Israel relations have been shaped by shared values, mutual threats and joint interests and not by frequent disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Right away while reading this I was thinking this is not standard fare, my second thought was I’ve been wasting a lot of time and effort, this worldview motif is the way to go and Ettinger is clearly a genius.

2. According to Obama, the US needs to adopt the worldview of the Department of State bureaucracy (Israel’s staunchest critic in Washington,) pacify the knee-jerk-anti-Israel-UN, move closer to the Peace-at-any-Price-Western Europe and appease the Third World, which blames the West and Israel for the predicament of the Third World and the Arabs. On the other hand, McCain contends that the US should persist – in defiance of global odds – in being the Free World’s Pillar of Fire, ideologically and militarily.

After this second paragraph my love for all things Ettinger was blossoming, because the only thing possibly more fun than slamming Obama in America.. is slamming the US Department of State! This man does both those things in one go, while still elevating America itself to its rightful pedestal of awesomeness – Poetry Yoram, poetry.

3. According to Obama, Islamic terrorism constitutes a challenge for international law enforcement agencies and terrorists should be brought to justice. According to McCain, they are a military challenge and should be brought down to their knees. Obama’s passive approach adrenalizes the veins of terrorists and intensifies Israel’s predicament, while McCain’s approach bolsters the US’ and Israel’s war on terrorism.

The over the top bring them to their knees bit? Loved it. To say nothing of the plain truths here. Terrorists understand only one thing, force. NO NEGOTIATIONs, no court rooms, no rules of civic law. These are not deterrents, there is no room for Law & Order ‘technicalities’ with terrorists - In Israel this is plainly understood.

4. Obama and his advisors assume that Islamic terrorism is driven by despair, poverty, erroneous US policy and US presence on Muslim soil in the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, McCain maintains that Islamic terrorism is driven by ideology, which considers US values (freedom of expression, religion, media, movement, market and Internet) and US power a most lethal threat that must be demolished. McCain’s worldview supports Israel’s battle against terrorism, demonstrating that the root cause of the Arab-Israel conflict is not the size – but the existence – of Israel.

The Liberal apologist blame the West 1st worldview, and its relation to Israel neatly tied up here. You would think these simple concepts would be obvious, sadly that is not the case. Despite 300+ advisors Obama just doesn’t get it.

5. Contrary to McCain, Obama is convinced – just like Tony Blair – that the Palestinian issue is the core cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western Islamic terrorism, and therefore requires a more assertive US involvement, exerting additional pressure on Israel. The intriguing assumption that a less-than-100 year old Palestinian issue is the root cause of 1,400 year old inter-Arab Middle East conflicts and Islamic terrorism, would deepen US involvement in Israel-Palestinians negotiations and transform the US into more of a neutral broker and less of a special ally of Israel, which would drive Israel into sweeping concessions.

We certainly can’t have any of that, it is never ending with the concessions & appeasement. These failed Iraq Study Group concepts blow chunks – Failed, dis-proven, and flawed. Even if we conceded all of Israel it would bring about no change in the Global Jihad. The appeasers tried to play that tune in Iraq but AEI, McCain, Bush, Lieberman and Petraeus along with about 20,000 extra US forces proved them quite wrong. The road to Baghdad does not pass through Jerusalem after all it seems huh Baker? Ooops.

Obama’s worldview would be welcomed by supporters of an Israeli rollback to the 1949 ceasefire lines, including the repartitioning of Jerusalem and the opening of the “Pandora Refugees’ Box.” On the other hand, McCain’s worldview adheres to the assumption that an Israeli retreat would convert the Jewish State from a power of deterrence to a punching bag, from a producer – to a consumer – of national security and from a strategic asset to a strategic burden in the most violent, volatile and treacherous region in the world.

The writer is a Middle Eastern and American affairs expert

You can say that again, Ettinger captures the essence of the race, the Israel US relationship, the global menace, the threat of terrorism, as well as everyone’s role (Israel’s included) concisely in one power packed opinion piece. I’m impressed and I’m I’m pretty jaded guy over all, I don’t impress easily.

Diminishing Returns: US Jewish support for Obama at historic lows

Obama pulling only 57% of those polled, While an astounding 76 to 80 percent supported the Democratic candidate in 4 previous elections..

It’s not looking too good in the US Yid department.

Despite near Messianic fervor on the far left for Mr Obama, the one term, one year serving Senator who has been hounded by much weaker foreign policy views; Including welcoming talks with Iran & Syria, waffling on Jerusalem’s unity, being endorsed by Israel’s enemies, and mentoring for 20 years under a wildly anti Semitic Church - is struggling to pull American Jewish voters according to the latest polling. There’s shocker, huh?

One Man’s loss is another man’s gain

On the flip side McCain is pulling strong numbers for the Republicans at 30%, with an alarming for Obama 13% still undecided. Perhaps they will run home to papa as they say, but if they don’t and if say 8-10% went McCain’s way he would set a monumental Jewish American support record for the GOP, perhaps cracking a whopping 40% – Unheard of.

From JPOST below (also at Haaretz)

Obama leads 57 percent to 30% among those polled in the American Jewish Committee’s 2008 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, with 13% undecided, but he significantly trails the Jewish vote for recent Democratic presidential candidates.

By contrast, John Kerry received 76% of the Jewish vote four years ago against George W. Bush, and in the three prior presidential elections, Democrats won 78% to 80% of Jewish votes. [...]

Jpost goes on to note that Palin is not very popular with those polled at only 37% approval while Biden weighs in with a strong 73%. Palin’s not very well known, I’m less surprised by the VP numbers, she still bests McCain overall. But illuminating is this..

The economy was seen as the most important issue. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that was the one issue they would “most like the candidates to discuss,” with 11% answering health care, 6% the war in Iraq and just 3% answering Israel.

How would you explain those numbers? Perhaps like this..

Obama has already lost on the foreign policy issue, and those polled perhaps want to weigh still outstanding views on the economy, or they just don’t factor much for Israel. Which makes less sense when you view Obama’s historic lows and the juicy 30 McCain pulls in the poll. He’s already 6 points HIGHER than Bush, who in 2004 was seen as a very close friend to the Jewish State only 3 years after 9/11 yet, and who himself upped that Jewish support number by 4 or 5%.

In any case, that low 57% support number polled could spell disaster in key swing states. I expect Obama to lay it on thick re: Israel in tonight’s debate if it stays on the Foreign Policy topic, thicker than we have ever seen. He could backtrack fully on a number of issues (Iran), and mirror his strong sounding but fleeting AIPAC speech the day after he won nomination. I believe they call it pandering in America lol.

What choice does he have? Have you seen these numbers? No wonder the NJDC & J Street behaved like depraved lunatics this past week, they are likely in a frothy panic.

Alaskan Palin Warms Hearts: Israelis should know I am a longtime friend

American & Symbolic Israeli Flag of Friendship Grace Governor’s Office

Shimon Peres our own symbolic President has been busy lately for a sprite 82 year old, Gd bless him.

He delivered an address at the UN General Assembly rebuking Assmad from Iran, presided over deliberations with Knesset factions over forming a new Government, gave a speech at the Clinton Initiative, and met with both McCain & his running mate Sarah Palin. This is in the past three days alone! Thankfully for international relations purposes, Peres didn’t try to french kiss Palin like our last President Katsav might have (unceremoniously dumped from office over sexual assault allegations).

On the contrary, Ynet reports the meeting between allied leaders was great, friendly & warm. Further putting the Palin question on Israel (which was only in doubt in Obama advisors’ minds) squarely away for good.

[...]
Upon meeting the Israeli president, Palin told him she has wanted to meet him and get to know him for years. She added that the only flag in her office, aside from the American flag, is the Israeli flag, stressing that she wants Israelis to know that she’s been a longtime friend of the Jewish state, and will remain such. Peres also took the opportunity to briefly speak to Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, who referred to the Israeli president as a longtime friend. [...]

VP Nominee Palin & GOP nominee McCain warmly greet President Peres (Israel Govt Press Office)

VP Nominee Palin & GOP nominee McCain warmly greet President Peres (Israel Govt Press Office)

Indeed, we already knew. I’d like to let the Governor know that Israelis having lived and wrestled our own wild Middle Eastern frontier are big fans too, other than the fact Israelis consider 15 degrees celcius near freezing, Alaska seems pretty darn super.

  • We have Ibex, you have Caribou
  • We have sand, you have snow
  • You are running against a Hussein, We make the Husseins run from us
  • You hunt Moose, we hunt Terrorists
  • You border Russia, We room & board millions of Russians!
  • You have indigenous peoples, heck we are indigenous peoples!!

Clearly, there are strong parallels. But seriously, let’s hope this is the 1st of many great friendship meetings between Israelis & Alaskans.

Eye in the Sky: IAI Heron UAV to fly with Canadian troops (Video)

Via the Jewish Tribune:
Canada ends absurd Israeli military ban, chooses to arm Canada with the best..

Israel had loaned drones to NATO allies previously in Afghanistan, and Iraq. I believe even to Canadian armed forces in the Afghani theatre. The reports from the field have been glowing, the hardware was making a huge difference. The little hand launched Skylark drone was rumored to be in great favor with American forces and Israeli hardware was quickly being looked at in greater quantity by the US DOD. Now this success in the field may have broken open a Canadian dam, the ban on purchases of hardware from the holy land..

TORONTO – Canada’s decision to supply its troops in Afghanistan with two Israeli models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), starting in February 2009, brings to an end a long-standing policy in the defence ministry that had prohibited the purchase of Israeli equipment. Indeed, the policy was so rigorously enforced that even camping equipment that could be used for military purposes had been banned.

Two years ago, at a meeting between B’nai Brith Canada leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of the organization, had asked why Canadian troops weren’t being supplied with the absolute best military equipment available. The prime minister indicated he would look into the matter.

As a result of the new policy coming into effect after considerable debate among Canadian parliamentarians, the French Sperwer that’s currently in use will be replaced by the Israeli Heron and Skylark drones, which are designed to better withstand Middle Eastern weather and environmental conditions, in particular the heat, wind and sandy dust, known as hamsin.

According to analysts, it also has a quieter engine, flies higher, carries more weight and can operate for a longer period. Some MPs have questioned the decision after more than $250 million had been spent on the French product.

“As Canadians, we are now relieved knowing that our frontline soldiers will have the best equipment, and we’re pleased that a biased policy has been removed from the government,” Dimant said. Canada’s decision came at the end of a year of negotiations with Israel Aircraft Industries (AIF), and the deal could total $125 million over six years.

The 998-kilogram Herons – Israel’s first long-rage UAV with an estimated range of up to 3,300 kilometres – will be delivered to the Canadian air force, while the Skylark mini-UAVs – launched by hand and used for close-range surveillance and reconnaissance – will be used by ground troops.

The Heron is deployed and tested by Israel, a newer version known as Eitan that is based on the huge Heron platform is now also in use by Israel with even more advanced electronic systems. Both platforms may be able to do more than just look around, rumored to be able to uhh.. deliver payloads.

The tiny Skylark looks like a model airplane, while the Heron is nearly the size of a small fighter. Good news for brave Canadian forces taking the fight to terrorists far from home, and yet another fine example of Harper’s responsible leadership – Putting Canadian forces above previous Liberal government idiocy which slashed budgets, gave little moral support, and evidently kept top notch hardware out of Canadian hands. One can only hope this is the start of a fruitful relationship benefiting both nations going forward.

Video of the Heron & capabilities