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usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation  


Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon visited the United States this past week. He met with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and visited the Lockheed Martin plant in Texas that is building the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation multirole fighters that will constitute Israel's first F-35 squadron


Preliminary talks between the United States and Israel over Israel's future military aid package are underway. The current agreement expires in 2017. Israel hopes that the subsequent agreement will include a legal commitment to maintain Israel's qualitative military edge (QME) as well as aid to Israeli missile defense programs, which are currently funded through a separate budget.


Elbit Systems of America, a U.S. subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd., has been awarded a five-year, $45 million contract to service and support the Night Targeting System installed on U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra Helicopters.


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missileMissile Defense


According to an Israeli newspaper, Israel's Arrow 3 exoatmospheric intercepting missile defense system is facing a funding shortfall of $55 million as a result of American and Israeli defense budget cuts. The funding cut could impact the system's development, currently scheduled to be operational in early 2016.


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egyptEgypt Watch     


After a multi-month review, the Obama Administration announced it was suspending a significant part of its military aid to Egypt as a result of the Egyptian military's seizure of power in July. The administration is delaying the delivery of F-16s fighters, AH-64 attack helicopters, M1A1 tank kits, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. It is also freezing a planned cash transfer of $260 million and withholding a $300 million loan guarantee. The Administration is predicating the resumption of the aid on Egypt's progress towards an "inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections." The announcement was met with concern by America's allies in the region and in Congress.


Three months after the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood from power, clashes between Egyptian security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue unabated. The violence has included a series of terrorist attacks, including in Cairo, even as the Egyptian military embarks on its most sustained and intensive counterterrorism operation in the Sinai. The IDF Chief of Staff has praised Egypt's Sinai crackdown, including its shutdown of the smuggling tunnels into Gaza.


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gulfGulf Watch    


Turkey and Saudi Arabia ratified a defense cooperation agreement paving the way for the export of Turkish arms to Riyadh.


Iraq has signed a $20 million deal with QinetiQ North America to purchase explosive ordnance disposal robots. Deliveries are expected by March 2014. 


Iran announced the mass production of its indigenous UAV fleet, including several with strike capabilities. In particular, the Shahed 129, unveiled last year, purports to have an operational range of 1,000 miles, can stay aloft for 24 hours, and can carry four guided missiles on two twin-launchers.


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turkeyTurkey Watch


In a deal valued at more than $3 billion, Turkey agreed to purchase a Chinese-made long-range air-defense and anti-missile system. The United States and NATO have deep concerns about the deal: the Chinese firm is under U.S. sanctions, the technology will be incompatible with other NATO assets, and Turkey spurned an American offer of the Patriot missile system. As one NATO defense attache in Ankara asked, "How could Turkey, protected by NATO assets, ignore the alliance's concerns and opt for an air defense system to be built by a non-friendly country?"


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oldandnewOld and New Allies 


Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd. and the American firm KBR Inc. signed a fifteen-year, $800 million contract to provide and support the fixed-wing flying training element of the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System program.


The Greek and Israeli air forces are conducting two sets of joint aerial exercises in October, involving Israeli F-15s, F-16s, and naval forces. In a signal to Iran, the first such exercise, which occurred last week, involved air-to-air refueling and tested the ability of the IAF aircraft to fly long distances.


Bulgaria is considering buying ten modernized Israeli-made delta-winged Kfir Mach 2+ fighter aircraft to replace its fleet of aging MiG fighters.


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techTechnology Watch 


As a result of the massive relocation of IDF assets to the Negev, Beersheba will become Israel's national cyber capital, according to Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon. Chief among the units is the IDF's Teleprocessing Corps, particularly the Lotem-C4i Technological Division, which is responsible for the military's cyber defense. The concentration of the IDF's technological units is also expected to attract private sector collaboration and investment in the immediate area. 


The Israeli Navy has ordered an additional three Super Dvora Mark III fast patrol craft, expanding its current fleet to ten. The first delivery is expected towards the end of 2014. As Israel expands its naval forces to protect its offshore gas fields, the Jerusalem Post offered an in-depth look at Israel's coastal patrol boats.


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levantLevant Watch


As part of the U.S.-Russia plan to secure, remove, and dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, inspectors are already on the ground in Syria visiting numerous sites as part of the UN-sponsored effort. It remains to be seen whether Syria will fully comply with the plan, as the Syrian civil war continues unabated.


IDF positions in the Golan plateau continue to receive sporadic fire from across the Syrian border. Last week, two soldiers were lightly wounded by mortar shells for the first time, prompting an Israeli retaliatory strike.


The United States pledged an additional $8.7 million to the Lebanese Armed Forces to help with internal stability and border security operations from the fallout of the violence in Syria.


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oddsendsOdds and Ends  

  • September saw a marked increase in the number of terror attacks in the West Bank. Most notably, two IDF soldiers were killed in separate attacks. The first was lured by a Palestinian he knew to a village near Qalqiya where he was subsequently murdered. A sniper near Hebron shot the other soldier.
  • Israel Military Industries (IMI), Israel's oldest state-owned defense company, has agreed to a long-awaited privatization plan that will net the state $5.7 billion. Under the plan, which still needs the approval of the Netanyahu government, IMI will downsize its staff, sell its 1,875 acre property north of Tel Aviv, and move to a new headquarters in the Negev. IMI has produced the Uzi, Galil, and Tavor assault weapons as well as the Merkava tank series.
  • Earlier this month, American commandos conducted raids in Libya and Somalia. In Tripoli, American forces successfully captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, also known as Abu Anas al-Libi, who had been wanted in his role for the 1998 African Embassy bombings. In Somalia, U.S. forces failed to capture a senior al-Shabab military planner, withdrawing during a firefight when it became clear that more civilians than expected were present.  

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Security Digest newsletter is a monthly bulletin covering U.S.-Israel security cooperation and much more. Distributed by e-mail, Security Digest is compiled by 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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