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topJune 2013 


usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


A subsidiary of Israel based Elbit Systems delivered its first advanced composite component for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, marking the first composite part manufactured by a country committed to purchasing the next generation fighter.


USS Kearsarge
USS Kearsarge 

The USS Kearsarge, a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship, called on the port of Eilat last month. The docking of the Kearsarge, which carried Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Harrier jets, and V-22 Ospreys, was the largest U.S. ship in Eilat in more than 14 years.


CIA Director John Brennan made an unannounced visit to Israel, on May 16 holding consultations on a range of issues, most notably the situation in Syria.


Recently retired U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen was appointed special advisor to the Secretary of Defense focusing on security in the context of Middle East peace. Reprising a role similar to that of General James Jones in 2007, General Allen will assist in developing the U.S. position on Israeli security needs and arrangements in the context of a Palestinian state. General Allen was most recently the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. 


Lockheed Martin will reportedly establish a development center in Israel, demonstrating Israel's capacity not just as a customer but also as a developer of advanced weapons systems.


In what appears to be an accidental yet major security breach, the Department of Defense publicized the location, construction, and schematics of Israel's Arrow 3 missile defense system base. The $25 million facility, disclosed in Jane's Defense Weekly, will be based at an existing IAF base in Tal Shahar, between Beit Shemesh and Ashdod, and will include four new launcher buildings, each with six interceptors in vertical position. The Pentagon has deniYa'alon-Hageled that the material released was classified, but Israeli officials are reportedly livid over the publication of such highly sensitive information.

Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon made his first visit to the United States since assuming office. Minister Ya'alon met with Secretary of Defense Hagel and flew in a V-22 Osprey, which the Obama administration has offered to sell to Israel.


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egyptEgypt Watch


Lawlessness in the Sinai continues to mount. After surging forces into the peninsula, Egypt secured the release of seven security officers who had been kidnapped by armed tribesman. The incident marks a repeat of similar attacks on Egyptian forces last summer.


Secretary of State Kerry approved the release of $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt, despite continued Egyptian democratic backsliding.


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gulfGulf Watch 

The 2013 International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX 13), consisting of 41 countries, 35 ships, and 6,500 service members, was hailed as a success. The exercise was the largest ever of its kind and focused on maritime security across the Persian Gulf.


During a visit to Oman, Secretary Kerry announced a $2.1 billion Omani purchase of a ground based air defense system from Raytheon.


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missileMissile Defense


In light of continued Iranian nuclear progress, Israel announced it was speeding up the development of the Arrow 3 missile defense system. The system's deployment is now expected in early 2015.


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levantLevant Watch


Hezbollah in Syria The past month has seen several important developments in the Syrian civil war. First, Hezbollah publicly and irrevocably committed itself to the preservation of the Assad regime, sending several thousand fighters into Syria. Second, Hezbollah and regime forces managed to retake Qusayr, a strategic town near the Lebanese border, which had been in the control of rebel forces for over a year. In the battle, more than 100 Hezbollah fighters were killed.


The Syrian conflict continues to spill over into Israel. The firing of projectiles into the Golan Heights has increased and IDF patrols have come under direct fire. Fighting between regime and rebel forces at the Quneitra crossing threatened to escalate the border violence.


Meanwhile, international forces deployed in the region continue to come under attack. Austria is withdrawing its 377 peacekeepers from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the fourth country to do so in six months. In Lebanon, three UNIFIL troops were briefly kidnapped and a UNIFIL base was overrun and looted.


The war has also inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon. Clashes between Alawites and Sunnis in Tripoli have turned deadly as rockets continue to hit northern Lebanese villages as well as, for the first time, Shiite areas of Beirut.


Despite a personal plea from Prime Minister Netanyahu in an unscheduled visit to Moscow, Russia announced that it would fulfill its contract to deliver to Syria S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. Although the system has yet to be delivered, the S-300 would severely constrain the IAF's operational flexibility and could threaten Israeli planes even in Israeli airspace. Moscow has also shipped more Yakhont cruise missiles to Syria.


19 nations are conducting Eager Lion 2013, a two-week, annual military training exercise, in Jordan. 8,000 soldiers, including 4,500 U.S. troops, are participating in the exercise, which is taking place less than 75 miles from the Syrian border. The U.S. has also brought several Patriot missile batteries and a detachment of F-16s, both of which will remain in Jordan after the exercise.


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The IDF's Central Command announced the introduction of nonlethal, sponge-tipped bullets as a riot dispersal tool. These new bullets would replace rubber bullets by the end of the year.


Elbit Systems has won a contract to construct the Polygon, a new anchorage in the port of Haifa intended for Israel's Dolphin-class submarines.


The Obama administration is helping its Middle Eastern allies combat Iran's increasing cyberwar capabilities. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain have all suffered from Iranian cyberattacks.


Even as it waits on funding for a large expansion, Israel's navy continues to improve its capabilities. Later this year, it will introduce an enhanced, dual-engine version of the Protector, Rafael's unmanned surface vehicle. Meanwhile, Israel Shipyards has developed a new Saar-class missile boat, designed as an offshore patrol vessel. The S-72 has a 15-meter long flight deck to support medium-size helicopters and UAVs. In early June, Squadron 916 conducted a large-scale naval exercise simulating the threat of fishing vessels loaded with explosives, similarMini-Spike to the USS Cole bombing. IAI also unveiled its Mini Dvora, a multi-mission fast patrol boat.


Rafael has unveiled the mini-Spike missile, the smallest member of Rafael's family of latest-generation electro-optically guided missiles. The man-portable anti-personnel missile system weighs 26 lbs. and has a range of 1,200 meters. 


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oddsendsOdds and Ends

  • The Obama administration announced it intended to sell two C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes to Libya. The $588 million sale will help Libya's government maintain the connection to the country's outlying areas. Meanwhile, the EU approved the deployment of a 110-member civilian team to advise and train Libyan officials on strengthening security.

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