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Misunderstanding Clausewitz

Why the Obama Administration's Policies have Undermined Israel's Security


By Gabriel M. Scheinmann - JINSA Visiting Fellow 


It Carl von Clausewitz, the renowned Prussian military theorist, famously wrote that war is merely a continuation of politics by other means. If so, then the Obama Administration has disastrously misunderstood the Clausewitzian dictum when it comes to Israeli security. By misconstruing the relationship between policy and security, the Administration has undermined rather than bolstered Israeli security.


 Repeating a line he first test-drove last June, President Obama has been touting that his "administration has done more in terms of the security of the State of Israel than any previous administration." The Obama Campaign even released a seven-minute video, detailing the unprecedented nature of the president's policies. At the State of the Union, the President declared that "Our ironclad commitment-and I mean ironclad-to Israel's security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history." Obama Campaign surrogate and former Congressman Robert Wexler, after cataloguing all that the president has done for Israeli security, caustically asked "But for President Obama joining the IDF, what more could he possibly do?"


Click here to read the full op-ed 


The above article originally appeared in The Daily Caller  



usisraelcoopU.S.-Israel Cooperation  


The United States and Israel postponed a long-planned joint missile defense exercise. While the two countries stated "technical reasons" for the delay, speculation mounted as to whether the cancellation was related to the escalating war of words between the U.S. and Iran over the Strait of Hormuz. Austere Challenge 12 will instead be held in October.


Dempsey-GanzDespite the cancellation, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, completed his first official visit to Israel.


The IAF has informed the U.S. Air Force that it will do its own maintenance on new F-35 fighters and will not send them to a U.S. base in Europe. Until now, the U.S. has demanded that all servicing of F-35s bought by regional countries be done at a center in Europe and it has yet to respond to the Israeli demand. Moreover, the U.S. is opposing the installation of an Israeli radar on the stealth fighter, which would be the first time Israel will have done so on a U.S. plane.


During a panel at the Herzliya Conference, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro gave an unambivalent defense of Israel as an American strategic asset. "What makes Israel a strategic asset for the United States is that it brings unique capabilities to the table to pursue those common interests," Shapiro said. Shapiro highlighted his recent visit to Kibbutz Sasa, home to the Plasan factory, which has delivered thousands of armored kits to U.S. soldiers in combat. "It's no exaggeration," Shapiro said, "to say that thousands of American service members have been saved by the work and the technology that's been developed at Plasan.


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iranwatchIran Watch


As speculation about a prospective Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites reached its zenith, Iran announced a series of military developments. First, it heralded the addition of two new domestically-built light submarines that are capable of operating in the shallow Persian Gulf waters. Second, it revealed that the IRGC naval forces had been equipped with cruise missiles. Third, it unveiled that it had manufactured laser-guided artillery shells. Fourth, it announced that it had started manufacturing the "Jamaran 2" destroyer, a 1,420-ton ship with modern radar, electronic warfare capabilities, and anti-aircraft systems. Lastly, two Iranian military ships docked in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, feeding speculation of possible Iranian military operations near the Horn of Africa.


Iranian forces have been reported to be actively aiding the Syrian regime in maintaining its increasingly slipping grip on power. Early in January, Turkey announced it had intercepted and impounded Iranian trucks containing military materials bound for Syria.


Earlier this month, Iran launched its third satellite into space.


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turkeywatchTurkey Watch


As part of the gradual stand-up of the U.S. missile defense shield, the early warning radar system deployed in eastern Turkey became operational on January 1. Washington has strenuously denied that the site, manned by 150 U.S. personnel, will be commanded by Turkey and subject to Turkish political whims. NATO expects to "switch on" the full system in May.


Turkey's first domestically-developed drone will be deployed this summer, making it the third country, after the U.S. and Israel, capable of producing unmanned aerial systems. As a result of Turkish-Israeli political tensions, Israel is no longer willing to sell Turkey such systems. Moreover, Turkey vetoed Israeli participation in a NATO maritime mission, Operation Active Endeavor, which patrols the eastern Mediterranean to prevent the movement of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. It would have marked Israel's first formal participation in a NATO mission.


F-35Turkish officials announced that they intended to build a medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,500km.


Turkey is negotiating with the United States the flight codes to the 2 F-35s it ordered in January. It also hinted it may purchase up to 100 of the aircraft, making it the third largest customer after the United States and the United Kingdom.


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oldandnewalliesOld and New Allies


Israel has continued to rapidly upgrade its military relationship with Cyprus. Prime Minister Netanyahu will visit the island in mid-February, marking the first-ever visit by an Israeli premier. During the visit, the two countries are expected to sign an agreement on search and rescue cooperation around their abutting gas fields. It has also been rumored that during the visit Prime Minister Netanyahu will formally request to station Israeli fighter jets at Paphos, on the southwestern tip of the island. If approved, it would mark the first ever foreign station of the IDF and a major geostrategic event.


On a visit to Israel, the Indian Foreign Minister pledged greater counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries. 


Bulgaria and Israel signed two military agreements upon the visit of the Bulgarian Defense Minister to Israel, the first providing for joint military drills between the two militaries and the second providing for greater cooperation between the two defense industries.


The commander of the Finish Air Force visited Israel in mid-January, marking the first such visit by a Finnish Air Force chief. He visited the Ramat David air base and took a flight in an F-16.


Colombia was identified as the buyer of $50 million in Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems built by Elbit. 


The Israeli government is now allowing Israeli defense companies to sell certain Israeli weapons technology to Indonesia. 


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Combining green efforts with security, the IDF has started planting 8-meter high eucalyptus trees around Israel border towns in order to make it more difficult for terrorists from Gaza to target them.


Rafael has developed an 11-meter long Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), a smaller version of which has been in operation for several years. It is equipped with a mini-Typhoon cannon that enables target acquisition and identification from long distances.


HackersThe IDF has massively upgraded its cyber-warfare capability, recruiting hundreds of young computer experts into Military Intelligence and the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) Directorate. This comes as the Israeli Defense Ministry is expected to establish a new cyber warfare administration. Israel was recently rated as one of the most "secure" countries in the world in terms of cyber defense security.


An Israeli Heron TP UAV known as the Eitan, whose range in capable of reaching Iran, crashed during a test flight in late January.


Elbit Systems has designed a hyperspectral imaging technology that will enable UAVs to determine identify the material as well as the shape of an object.


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missiledefenseMissile Defense     


In early February, Israel conducted a successful test of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system. The Arrow's radar and detection system, as well as the U.S. X-band radar, successfully tracked an imitation Iranian missile. In related news, Israel announced that Boeing had joined Israel Aerospace Industries in jointly developing the Arrow 3, continuing their cooperation from the Arrow 2. Budget cuts, however, have forced the IDF to suspend future Iron Dome purchases. Israel will delay the purchase of its fifth and sixth batteries, despite the Iron Dome's great operational success.


Several buyers have emerged to purchase Israel's various missile defense systems. South Korea has offered to buy the Iron Dome system, assuming Israel agrees to purchase South Korean fighter jets, although it is reported that the IAF has suggested buying them from Italy. South Korea is also reportedly interested in obtaining the Arrow system, in a $1billion deal between the U.S. and South Korean governments, with India another rumored customer.


Israel has reorganized its air and missile defenses into a single force better designed to intercept enemy missiles and fighters. The new "active defense", combining work done previously by the Home Front Command and the Israel Air Force, will integrate the various missile defense and air capabilities in order to improve interoperability and streamline what is becoming a crowded security environment.


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levantwatchLevant Watch  


As Syria descends into civil war, Russia has continued to sell arms to the Assad regime. Russian arms ships have reached Syrian ports and Moscow has agreed to sell 36 fighter jets to Damascus at the cost of $550 million. In the United States, calls have grown for Washington to begin arming the Syrian rebels in an attempt to remove Assad from power. Israel has expressed worry that Assad's stockpile of chemical weapons could end up in Hezbollah's hands in Lebanon.


UN Bombing After several roadside bombs that injured French peacekeepers in Lebanon last year, Paris was expected to cut its UNIFIL deployment force from 1,300 to 900 soldiers.


Concerned that it may be targeted by Hezbollah or other terrorist groups, Israel has ordered that energy companies will have to increase security surrounding the natural gas buoys off the coast of Hadera.


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gulfwatchGulf Watch  


The Czech Republic was looking to sell dozens of Czech-made subsonic fighter jets to Iraq, following a visit to Prague by Iraq's acting Defense Minister.


During a visit to Saudi Arabia, South Korea's president vowed to massively strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries. Closer ties are seen as an attempt to wean Seoul of Iranian oil imports.


Saudi Arabia has signed a deal with Boeing, making it the launch customer for 36 AH-6i light attack helicopters, as part of the massive $60 billion arms deal Saudi Arabia signed two years ago.


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oddsandendsOdds & Ends
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Security Digest newsletter is a monthly bulletin covering U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Distributed by e-mail, Security Digest is edited by JINSA Visiting Fellow Gabriel Scheinmann. Each issue features 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.
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