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This is the very first issue of Security Digest newsletter, a monthly bulletin covering U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Security Digest, distributed by e-mail, is edited by JINSA Visiting Fellow Gabriel Scheinmann. Each issue will feature news articles covering all aspects of U.S.-Israel cooperation with a focus on the military as well as an analytical article by Mr. Scheinmann. Look for Security Digest every month in your e-mail inbox. To give us feedback, simply reply to this email. 

Don't Let Turkey Veto Effective Missile Defense 

Why Ankara might be the biggest challenge to U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation


By Gabriel M. Scheinmann - JINSA Visiting Fellow 


Iron DomeThis year, in a major breakthrough, Israeli Iron Dome batteries successfully intercepted scores of rockets and missiles fired from Gaza. The system's 85% success rate has been a major deterrent of Gazan rocket fire and has propelled heated interest in the system by NATO countries and South Korea. These successes, moreover, could not have been possible without the U.S.-provided $235 million, which Israel is using to ramp up the deployment of batteries on its southern and, perhaps, northern borders. As Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) said earlier this year, "We gave them $3 billion, they have to use 75 percent of it to buy our stuff, and then they give us improvements on all the stuff we sell them, plus all the intelligence network." "Such a bargain [for the U.S.]," he added.


That "bargain," however, is being challenged by Turkey's opposition to cooperation with Israel under Washington's missile defense umbrella. Turkey's regional realignment is threatening to insert itself directly into the deep and extensive defense cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. As the United States attempts to integrate its diverse missile defense programs into a single, regional network called the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA)-Ankara's supposed refusal to liaise with Jerusalem could inhibit the protection of NATO countries and Israel from Iran's ballistic missile arsenal.





Iran Watch


In late September, Newsweek reported that the Obama administration had finally authorized in 2009 an Israeli request to deliver 55 powerful GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators known colloquially as "bunker busters" following a request deferred by the Bush administration two years earlier. These bombs are widely cited as permitting the penetration of deep, hardened bunkers, potentially being able to successfully damage underground Iranian nuclear sites. Israel had originally requested the bombs in 2005, but was refused following the U.S.-Israeli row over the potential for Israeli transfer of unrelated military technology to China. With that dispute resolved and with Iran's continued nuclear development, the delivery of the bunker busters, and its' leak two years later, are major developments in the race to prevent Iranian nuclear capability.

Missile Defense


In addition to the announcement of stationing a X-Band radar site in eastern Turkey, Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also stated that a  similar radar would be installed in a Gulf State in the near future, but declined to give specifics. Such a development would be the third Middle Eastern country, joining Turkey and Israel, to host an X-Band radar, an integral component in standing up America's regional missile defense network.


Based on Iron Dome's stunningly successful deployment in southern Israel, Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd and the United States' Raytheon Company are teaming up to market the system in the United States. Rafael and Raytheon are already cooperating on the development of the David's Sling Weapon System, which is designed to intercept medium and long-range rockets.



MuleIsrael Aerospace Industries (IAI) is introducing a small robotic platform called REX - a larger one was unveiled two years ago - that is designed to support infantry units in operation. REX can recognize the path of the lead soldier and follow him and is narrow enough to move through doors and easily fits in a helicopter. It can carry combat loads and supplies as well as portable rockets and missiles. It is an all-terrain vehicle, weighing 330lbs., and can carry up to 550lbs., enough to support and infantry squad on a 72-hour mission and with enough fuel to move over 60 miles. REX follows simple commands, similar to those used with dogs, and can therefore be directed to "stay" or "come." It is low and light, about hip-high, and can therefore carry a stretcher, evacuating a wounded soldier on its own. It is designed to follow a virtual path left by soldiers. This past summer, the U.S. Army canceled a similar vehicle called a MULE (Multi-Function Utility/Logistics and Equipment vehicle), which weighed in at 3.5tons and was too heavy for transportation on helicopters.

Turkey Watch


This month saw the dramatic announcement that the U.S. and Turkey had agreed to station a missile defense radar system in eastern Turkey. However, it was not the only such revelation that could impact U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation. A Turkish newspaper reported that Turkey was replacing its U.S.-made identification system in its F-16s that classifies Israeli targets as "friend" with an indigenous system that would permit it to override the U.S. designation. The new electronic system is soon to be installed in Turkish planes, ship, submarines.


Turkey also announced that it was expecting a delivery of U.S.-made Predator drones in June 2012, in order to be used in its fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in eastern Turkey and Northern Iraq. Turkey's fleet of Israeli-made Heron UAVs are currently in Israel undergoing "extended maintenance," as Israel is refusing to return them to Turkey given the increasing antagonism between the two countries.


U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone announced that the U.S. would give three Super Cobra attack helicopters to Turkey to replace ones lost in anti-PKK operations. Turkey's aerial capabilities, both helicopters and drones, would be a significant factor in its stated threat of opposing Israeli and Cypriot gas exploration and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

Odds and Ends
  • In mid-September, Israel hosted the 9th International Seminar on Crisis Management, attended by representatives from the United States. Representatives from Israel's emergency services provided methods on emergency safety instructions and early warning systems implemented in Israel.
  • Jerusalem announced that it will  be building a "virtual fence" along its border with Egypt in the coming year, in light of the increasingly volatile security situation in the Sinai. Radars will be placed on high poles, permitting observation and intelligence collection from a greater distance. Israel also plans to complete the construction of a physical barrier by the end of 2012. The United States is engaged in a similar effort along its southern border.
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