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topIn This Issue - September 2012 


specialSpecial Report - 2012 September 11 Attacks 


Embassy Attack On the 11th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. embassies and consulates were attacked across the Arab world. In Libya, the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, possibly planned by al Qaeda, resulted in the murder of four U.S. officials, including Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, the first murder of an American ambassador in more than 30 years. Mobs stormed the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Yemen, tearing down U.S. flags, and replacing them with a black, Salafi flag associated with al Qaeda. Protesters also gathered outside U.S. embassies in Tunisia and Algeria as well as the U.S. interests section in the Swiss embassy in Iran.


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usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


Admiral James A. Winnefeld (right) seen with IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Benny Gantz (left).
Last month, the U.S. and Israeli navies completed Reliant Mermaid, a joint search-and-rescue exercise in the Mediterranean, the latest example of the tangible benefits of the strong U.S.-Israel alliance. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld visited Israel this month, further example of the close security relationship between the two countries. 


Austere Challenge 12, a joint U.S.-Israel ballistic missile drill, scheduled for last spring but postponed until October, will feature greatly reduced U.S. participation. Originally set to involve 5,000 U.S. soldiers, two Aegis-outfitted warships, and Patriot antimissile systems, the new drill will reportedly involve 1,500 U.S. servicemen, a single Aegis ship, and crew-less Patriot systems. The Pentagon has maintained that the reduction in size was planned in advance, well-known to Israel, and is a result of concurrent operations.


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missileMissile Defense


The IDF has begun testing Iron Dome batteries across the country in anticipation of the increased rocket threat. In recent weeks, it has positioned batteries in Eilat, Haifa, and Tel Aviv, cities likely to be affected by rocket fire in a potential future conflict. The developers of Iron Dome missile defense system were awarded the 2012 Israel Defense Prize as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award at the National Defense Industrial Association's Missile Defense Division Annual Membership Dinner & Awards Program, June 20.


The U.S. Army has begun soliciting the defense industry for ideas on building an Iron Dome-like system. The Army has dubbed the weapon concept as a "Multi-Role Launcher" that can take out missiles and unmanned drones that threaten U.S. installations over a 40-mile radius.


U.S. defense firms expect an expanding market for anti-missile systems, including the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow systems, from Gulf countries, to Asian states, to U.S. forward bases.


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egyptEgypt Watch

Egyptian Tanks Tensions between Egypt and Israel continue to rise following last month's terrorist attack in the Sinai that breached the Israeli border. As a result of the attack, Egypt introduced tanks and other armored vehicles into the Sinai, a direct violation of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Operation Nisr, the Egyptian crackdown on Sinai jihadists, reportedly involved up to 60 tanks and killed scores of militants. After Israel lodged a diplomatic protest, Cairo withdrew some of the armor from Sinai.


Despite facing a dire financial outlook, Egypt has agreed to buy two Type 209 attack submarines from Germany. While they are far less advanced than Israel's German-built Dolphin-class submarines, which are based on the Type 209, the deal has raised questions about Egypt's military intentions.


Last week, U.S. aircraft arrived in Egypt for a joint exercise, codenamed Eagle Arena 2012. The exercise involved air and naval forays over much of the country, including the Sinai and the Red Sea. The Administration has also offered Egypt an intelligence capabilities package that includes electronic signal trackers to help in the fight against militants in the Sinai.


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iranIran Watch


Iran has begun construction on a $300 million anti-aircraft missile base near Abadeh, in southern Iran. The announcement was shortly followed by a claim by the Iranian air defense commander that Iran's indigenously-developed air defense system, the Bavar 373 plan, is 30% complete and will be completed by March 2013. The Bavar 373 is intended to replace the canceled sale of the Russian S-300 system. Tehran also announced it would hold its largest-ever anti-aircraft exercise later this fall.


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levantLevant Watch


The Syrian civil war continues to escalate and casualties continue to rise. Rebels managed to shoot down Syrian government helicopters and control swaths territory along the Turkish border. The Assad regime, despite mounting defections, continues to control the major cities and shows no sign of ending its brutal measures. Iran continues to supply Assad's forces through Iraqi airspace, and the conflict has spilled over into Lebanon as well as Jordan.


The IDF continues to clear old landmines from the Jordan Valley area as part of a multi-year land reclamation project.


Three Chinese naval ships docked in Haifa last month for a five-day visit commemorating the 20-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and China. The visit was warmly welcomed by the Israeli navy. 


Suspected Hezbollah operatives were arrested in Mexico last week. Hezbollah's presence in Latin America has been well-documented over the years.


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gulfGulf Watch

Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Iraq last month, the highest level visit by an American official since the U.S. withdrawal last December. The Iraqi military also took possession of nine U.S. M1A1 Abrams tanks, the last of 140 it had ordered three years ago.


Saudi Arabia is seeking to purchase 10 Link-16 capable data link systems and ISR suites (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) from the United States for $257 million. It intends to install the data link and ISR suites on its four Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft, as well as an option to purchase an additional four aircraft from the United States.


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oldnewOld and New Allies 


Borisov and Peres On a visit to Israel, the Bulgarian Prime Minister signed a series of accords, boosting security cooperation between the two countries. Coming less than two months after a suicide bombing targeting Israeli tourists at a Bulgarian airport, the accords include heightened security measures for Israeli visitors, special training of Bulgarian security personnel at tourist sites, and an exchange of information on aviation security.


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In mid-August, Israel tested its national emergency notification system. The system warns of rocket attacks via text messages to Israeli mobile phones. In early September, the IDF Home Front Command hosted a weeklong international seminar, with delegates from 19 countries, on managing civilian populations during national emergencies.


Israel Military Industries announced it has developed a "bulletproof" grenade, one that does not explode when hit by bullets or shrapnel. The grenades are already in use by the IDF. The IDF is also outfitting its elite units with new, upgraded sniper rifles with improved accuracy and is Unmanned System introducing more durable next-generation, polymeric cartridges over the next several months, replacing the traditional aluminum magazines.


Israel, a world leader in unmanned systems, has deployed the Guardium, an unmanned ground vehicle, to patrol the Gaza border. 


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oddsendsOdds and Ends 


This week, culminating years of close security ties, the Morocco-U.S. Strategic Dialogue was launched in Washington, D.C. The new framework builds on the close economic and security cooperation between the two states.


U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are learning how to cope with post-traumatic stress from their Israeli counterparts as part of an initiative started by Heroes to Heroes, a non-profit organization that sponsors delegations of U.S. veterans to Israel.


The IDF, implementing lessons learned from Gilad Shalit's years in Hamas captivity, has updated its training program for soldiers taken as prisoners of war.


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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. Look for Security Digest every month in your e-mail inbox. To give us feedback, simply reply to this email.
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