Category Archives: Israel as developer of military-security products

Israel’s Weapons Sales to Europe Double Amid Refugee Crisis

Israel’s Weapons Sales to Europe Double Amid Refugee Crisis

Overall, Israel signed contracts worth $5.7 billion in sales of weapons and military technology; Official data shows a drop in sales to African nations, Asia and Latin America, and a rise in sales to Europe and the U.S.

Gili Cohen
Apr 06, 2016 11:00 PM

Israel in 2015 signed contracts worth $5.7 billion in sales of weapons and military technology – an increase of about $100 million over the previous year, Defense Ministry figures published on Wednesday show.

Sales to Europe more than doubled since 2014, reaching $1.6 billion, compared to $724 million the previous year. Most of 2015’s deals included aircraft upgrades, ammunition and unmanned aircraft sales.

Ministry data showed a drop in sales to African nations, Asia and Latin America, and a rise in sales to Europe and the U.S., in comparison to 2014. The apparent reason is the refugee crisis in Europe and the rise of terrorism on the continent.

The Defense Ministry said 2015 was “another challenging year for security industries around the world” and saw the effects of falling oil prices and the fall of currency values. According to the ministry’s military aid branch, which seeks to increase Israeli weapons exports, the number of deals is expected to remain stable in the coming year.

“The military industries have succeeded, via a series of actions, joint work and determination all over the world, to restore stability to the Israeli military exports market,” branch head Brigadier-General (res.) Mishel Ben Baruch said.

After three years of consistent rises in weapons deals with African nations, 2015 saw a drop of almost 50% in new contracts signed for the sale of Israeli defense products to African countries.

The extent of deals with African nations stood at $163 million that year, compared to $318 million in 2014 and $223 million in 2013.

African nations represent a small portion of Israeli defense exports. Similarly to other years, most of the weapons were sold to Asia and the Pacific. But there was also a drop in defense sales to Asian countries in 2015. In 2014, contracts signed with Asia totaled close to $3 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in the past year.

The Defense Ministry doesn’t detail weapons deals signed with foreign agents or bodies, or their costs, nor does it provide details on the identities of who purchases Israeli weapons or technology. In the United States, however, official deals done via the site of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) are reported.

“There is an extreme lack of transparency in the data, especially which countries are purchasing,” Meretz lawmaker Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz. “And the data, time after time, conceal shady undemocratic and not peace loving countries – despotic regimes using the weapons and technology to control or otherwise operate against civilians.

“Each time we see that Israel is unfortunately on the wrong side of history in these matters, and the most current example is South Sudan. Israel is still apparently selling monitoring equipment and various control mechanisms being used against civilians,” she said.

According to Defense Ministry data, some 15 percent of deals signed in 2015 focused on improving aircraft or aerial systems and there’s a similar figure for the sales of ammunition and gun positions. Twelve percent of the deals have to do with radar sales, and 11 percent in sales of unmanned weapons.

The Defense Ministry takes pride that Israel is “among the leading 10 defense exporters in the world,” Brigadier-General Ben Baruch said.

The quantum mechanics of Israeli totalitarianism

The quantum mechanics of Israeli totalitarianism

To understand how it feels to be a Palestinian, you need to think like a particle physicist, not a social scientist.

Mark LeVine, Al Jazeera, 7 May 2015

With the coalition government formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu easily the most ultranationalist and conservative government in Israel’s history, even the most cockeyed optimist would shrink from imagining that Oslo can still be revived, if only the right treatment were concocted.

The problem today is not that anyone but the most self-interested Israeli, Palestinian or US officials still pretends that the peace process is functioning. Rather, it’s that hardly anyone in a position of power can explain precisely when, how and especially why it died. To do so requires moving far more deeply into the dynamics of the endlessly troubled peace process than most policy-makers or commentators are willing to delve, into what I term the “quantum mechanics” underlying Oslo’s fatally flawed structures.

Israel has long claimed uniquely democratic credentials in a region besot with authoritarian regimes.

The unending occupation, the sheer chutzpah with which the Israeli government continues to expand its presence in the West Bank while sieging Gaza, the escalating protests by minorities inside the country’s 1967 borders, and the composition of the new government, all put the lie to such claims today.

Matrix of control

What’s still poorly understood by most non-Palestinians is just how deep the level of control has long been. Even if you’ve spent decades travelling through the West Bank and Gaza, the intensity of that control remains hard to grasp.

As I walked through the Jordan Valley last month near the front-line village of Fasayel, I began to understand how one reason why it’s been so difficult to explain the intensity and all-encompassing scope of Israel’s “matrix of control” over the Occupied Territories is that even its critics don’t use strong enough language to describe it.

Israel is not just an “occupier” or a “coloniser”. However democratic it may (or may not) be inside its 1967 borders, in the Occupied Territories Israel’s rule is nothing short of totalitarian.

In calling Israeli rule totalitarian, I am not arguing that the government mimics the worst policies of thought control and ideological purism practised by the 20th century’s Fascist and Communist states such as Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China (although Israel’s constant harassment and imprisonment of Palestinian activists does reflect a desire to control how Palestinians think and act, at least publicly).

Rather, I’m talking about a much deeper level of control, at what can only be described as the quantum level of Palestinian daily life.

To understand how it feels to live as a Palestinian today you need to think like a particle physicist, not a social scientist. Moving through the space of Israel/Palestine involves negotiating a host of forces that the average Palestinian has about as much control over as the average electron or proton does of the nuclear and quantum forces determining its path. And it’s through this near total control of the space that Israel is able, in George Orwell’s description of totalitarianism, to “control the past as well as the future”.

Israeli geographer Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) coined the “matrix of control” to describe these forces. The name evokes numerous overlapping layers of control, including the physical infrastructure of settlements and their security corridors and zones, bypass roads, closed military areas and even “nature reserves”. The matrix also includes the bureaucratic and legal/planning levels, and the use of large-scale violence and imprisonment to control people’s behaviour and movement.

With its matrix of control, Israel has achieved an unparalleled and uniquely successful synergy of “bio” and “necro”-politics, controlling life and death at most every scale of Palestinian existence. The matrix is continuously adjusted with as much care as Israel has adjusted the caloric intake of Gazans during its periodic intensifications of the Gazan siege.

Three, four and five dimensions

A look at the group of detailed maps created by ICAHD reveals upwards of two dozen parameters of control that can intersect at any given coordinate on the map. But the map is only a two dimensional representation of a multidimensional and multi-levelled reality. It’s not just various forces meeting on the ground. When you’re walking through the 97 percent of the West Bank that is in Areas B or C and thus under Israel security control, you realise that the matrix extends both under the ground you’re walking on and above your head.

Below ground, Israel controls all the water resources in the West Bank, and for 50 years has systematically taken most every possible well, stream, aquifer or other water source from Palestinians (in direct violation of international law, it must be remembered).

It also controls the airspace above Palestinians’ heads, as the constant buzz of Israeli fighter jets training overhead in the Jordan Valley, and the ubiquitous presence of drones and helicopters almost everywhere at any time, and the prohibitions on building new floors on existing structures makes clear.

In whatever direction Palestinians look or want to step or reach – left or right, forwards or backwards, above or below them – the land, air and water surrounding them is largely outside their permanent control.

Blink of an eye

But it is not just that most of their territory is out of Palestinian hands. The quantum physics of Israel’s matrix of control also has its own Heisenberg, or uncertainty principle.

In quantum mechanics this principle asserts that it is impossible to know with precision the exact state of a particle because the very act of observing it changes its state. In the same way, merely by changing their location Palestinians change the state of territory upon which they are moving.

On the one hand, despite the rockiness of the landscape, the geography of the West Bank can be among the most liquid on earth. It changes as one moves through it, depending on who you are – Jew or Palestinian, settler or refusnik, soldier or international. Spaces that seems open and free can suddenly be surrounded by military forces and closed off, declared off limits for any length of time for a variety of reasons merely because Palestinians moved into and through it or used it for grazing, water, or other normal activities.

Moreover, their very movement through the geography can change it not just for a moment, but permanently. At the same time, the uncertainty principle can also operate with a time lag. If Palestinians decide to walk through a Jordan Valley village, for example, or to plant trees on their land in the hills around Hebron or Jenin, it’s not at all uncommon for the Israeli military to issue demolition or confiscation orders a few days later.

In particular, the movement of Jews has an even more profound effect than Palestinians especially when establishing an outpost or settlement. Once land is claimed even on the flimsiest of pretexts the military usually moves in and declares a still larger area a security zone, making it impossible for Palestinians to access the land for months, years or even decades.

And so, it seems that land in Palestine can change states from liquid to solid almost instantly, freezing in place whatever Israel decides it wants frozen, from people to legal categories. The quantum physics of Palestinian geography can thus produce permanent changes not just in the three normal dimensions of space, but in the conflict’s “fourth dimension” as well, namely time.

But however many dimensions one considers, the goal remains the same: to achieve, in the words of the Palestinian-Israeli hip-hop group DAM, “Maximum Jews on maximum land; minimum Arabs on minimum land.”

Neoliberal policies

There is even a fifth, economic dimension in which the physics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict operates. The neoliberal policies imposed on the Occupied Territories under Oslo have ensured that when Palestinians aren’t being displaced by Israeli settlers or bombs, they are fixed in place as objects of development, whose economic life is confined to small spaces that remain largely under Israeli control. The possibility of their becoming subjects able to shape their own destinies is, it seems, outside the laws of physics operating in the Holy Land.

It is the changeling nature of the political, physical and economic geographies of the Israeli-controlled Occupied Territories that has made it so difficult for Palestinians and their supporters internationally (including in Israel) to develop effective strategies of resistance, nevermind transcending the occupation.

With Oslo’s final demise, Palestinians don’t just need new strategies for resisting an occupation without end; what’s needed is an entirely new physics as well.

Indeed, it has long been argued that Palestinians are still waiting for their Ghandi. It might well turn out that to overcome decades of totalitarian Israeli rule, a long-dead peace process, and ineptitude, corruption and authoritarianism internally, Einstein would be a far more useful figure.

Mark LeVine is a professor of Middle Eastern History at University of California, Irvine, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lund University.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
Source: Al Jazeera

How Israel built Singapore Army

A deep, dark, secret love affair

A team of IDF officers, known as the `Mexicans,’ helped Singapore establish an army. It was the start of a very special relationship.

By Amnon Barzilai, Ha’aretz, July 16, 2004

Christmas Eve, 1965, is the unofficial date of the start of the great and continuing love story between Israel and Singapore, a love affair that was kept a deep, dark secret. The international press, like the Israeli media, tried to bring the tale to light. Occasionally, scraps of information leaked out; some were published, some were denied, many were disregarded. The Israelis, as usual, wanted to rush to tell all their friends, but managed to overcome that desire. The fear that the ties would be terminated if they became public knowledge had its effect. Israel imposed a total blackout on the story and the secret was preserved. Until the other side could no longer contain itself.

In his book, “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story 1965-2000,” published in 2000, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and its first prime minister, disclosed the secret that had been kept for almost 40 years: It was the Israel Defense Forces that established the Singaporean army. The Israeli military mission was headed by Yaakov (Jack) Elazari, then a colonel, who was later promoted to brigadier general. After leaving the army, he became a consultant to the Singaporean army. Hedied 15 years ago. “To disguise their presence, we called them `Mexicans.’ They looked swarthy enough,” Lee wrote.

Singapore’s army is today considered the strongest and most advanced of the military forces in Southeast Asia. The alliance between the Israeli and Singaporean defense establishments intensified and expanded, and it now encompasses cooperation between the two countries’ military industries, as well. The scope of the deals, according to foreign sources, indicates that the Singaporean army is one of the major clients of Israeli combat means and military technology. Singapore’s aircraft industry is cooperating with its Israeli counterpart and with Elbit Systems in upgrading the F-5 warplanes of the Turkish Air Force. A few years ago, Singapore’s defense minister revealed that the Gil antitank missile, which is manufactured by Raphael (Israel Armaments Development Authority), was developed in cooperation between the two countries.

Surrounded by Muslims

Lee explained the need to maintain secrecy to his close friend in the leadership, and the first defense minister in his government, Dr. Goh Keng Swee. “We have to ensure, as far as possible, that the arrival of the Israelis will not become public knowledge, in order not to arouse opposition among the Malay Muslims who live in Malaysia and Singapore,” the prime minister summed up. That, in essence, is Singapore’s problem. The residents of the small island, which has an area of about 670 square kilometers (Israel is 30 times as large), are mainly Chinese, and they live between the two Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. Life in the shadow of the large Muslim majority and fear of a Malaysian incursion are an integral part of the history of the two countries. Until 1965, Singapore was part of Malaysia. In that year, the British government decided to withdraw from all its colonies east of the Suez Canal. In a rapid process it was decided to sever Singapore from Malaysia and to establish it as a new and separate country.

Singapore declared its independence on August 9, 1965. At the time of its creation, it had only two infantry regiments, which had been established and were commanded by British officers. Two-thirds of the soldiers were not residents of Singapore, and in any event the leaders of the nascent state had no faith in the strength of the minuscule army. The defense minister, Goh, contacted Mordechai Kidron, the former Israeli ambassador to Thailand, and asked for assistance. Kidron arrived in Singapore within days, along with Hezi Carmel of the Mossad. “Goh told us that they think that only Israel, a small country surrounded by Muslim countries, with a strong army, could help them build a small, dynamic army,” Carmel says. The two Israelis met with Lee, who writes that he “told Keng Swee to put it on hold until Lal Bahadur Shastri, the prime minister of India, and President Nasser of Egypt replied to my letters seeking their urgent help to build up our armed forces.”

It’s not clear whether Lee, in fact, believed India and Egypt were capable of, or interested in, building up Singapore’s army. Many Israelis believe the two leaders were approached only for appearance’s sake. After a few weeks of waiting, India and Egypt congratulated Singapore on its independence but did not offer military aid. Lee ordered Goh to push ahead in contacts with the Israelis.

At the same time, in the wake of reports sent by Kidron and Carmel, the Israeli defense establishment deployed to supply military aid to Singapore. In discussions conducted by the chief of staff, Yitzhak Rabin, with the participation of the deputy chief of staff and head of the Operations Branch, Ezer Weizmann, it was decided to make Major General Rehavam Ze’evi, who was then deputy head of the Operations Branch, responsible for building the Singaporean army. Ze’evi (nicknamed “Gandhi” ) paid a secret visit to Singapore and the preparatory work began on his return. “Gandhi said he wanted to create an ideal army for Singapore, something we hadn’t built here,” Carmel says. “Instead of setting up a Defense Ministry and a General Staff, Gandhi suggested an integrated organization, a more economical structure. So there wouldn’t be too many generals and too few soldiers.”

Ze’evi appointed Elazari, who worked under him in the Operations Branch, as head of the team he established. Lieutenant Colonel Yehuda Golan, then-commander of an armored division (he retired from the IDF with the rank of brigadier general), was subsequently added to the team. Some members of the team “concentrated on writing the chapters that dealt with building army bases. I wrote the chapters dealing with the establishment of an infantry,” Golan says. Initially they produced the “Brown Book,” dealing with combat doctrine, followed by the “Blue Book,” dealing with the creation of the Defense Ministry and intelligence bodies. The Brown Book was translated into English and sent to Singapore’s government for its perusal. In October 1965, a military delegation from Singapore arrived in Israel.

“The delegation arrived in order to tell us: `Well done, but to implement the book, you are invited to come to Singapore,'” Golan recalls. Prior to setting out, the members of the military mission were invited to the chief of staff’s bureau. “Dear friends,” Rabin said, “I want you to remember several things. One, we are not going to turn Singapore into an Israeli colony. Your task is to teach them the military profession, to put them on their legs so they can run their own army. Your success will be if at a certain stage they will be able to take the wheel and run the army by themselves. Second, you are not going there in order to command them but to advise them. And third, you are not arms merchants. When you recommend items to procure, use the purest professional military judgment. I want total disregard of their decision as to whether to buy here or elsewhere.”

Wake-up at 5:30

On December 24, 1965, about five months after Singapore became an independent state, six IDF officers and their families set out on an unknown mission. “Elazari and two other officers dealt with the establishment of the Defense Ministry,” Golan relates. “My task, along with three other officers, was to establish the army.”

Elazari operated according to a number of basic principles, from which the original Israeli team and those who followed did not deviate. The first was to build up a cadre of local commanders and instructors. The second was that the instructional material would be written by the cadets who would be trained as officers. And the third was that practical training would be conducted by Singaporean instructors.

“We wanted to recruit a group of 40-50 people who had some sort of military experience and would be ready to serve in a career army,” Golan explains. “We organized things so that they would appoint one of their number to serve as commander. As head of the group, the cadets chose someone of Indian origin named Kirpa Ram Vij, who would eventually become chief of staff of the Singapore Armed Forces. For three months we gave an intensified officers course.”

The first course had an IDF format: wake-up at 5:30 A.M., calisthenics, personal arrangements, parade. Training began at 7:30 A.M. and went until 1 A.M. “After a few days of training a group of cadets showed up and said, `Colonel Golan, the Arabs aren’t sitting on our heads here. What do we need this madness for?’ I called Elazari and explained the situation. He arrived a few days later with Defense Minister Dr. Goh, who told the cadets, `Do what Colonel Golan tells you to do, otherwise you will do double.'”

Parallel to conducting the course, the Israeli team supervised the establishment of the first military base, based on plans of the Israeli Engineering Corps. Construction of the base was completed in three months.

In under a year, the Israeli team conducted a course for new recruits, a platoon commanders course and an officers course, on the basis of plans that were sent from Israel. All told, about 200 commanders were trained.

Jobless instead of soldiers

Once the staff of commanders was ready, it was possible to start creating the standing army on the basis of conscription. The Israelis prepared to establish two more infantry regiments, according to the IDF model, with each regiment consisting of three companies of riflemen, an auxiliary company and an administrative company – a total of 600 soldiers. Lieutenant Colonel Moshe Shefi, who was an instructor in a company commanders course, was sent as an adviser. “We discovered that there was psychological resistance to conscription in Singapore,” he relates. “Of 10 professions, that of soldier was ranked last. In first place was the artist, followed by the philosopher, the teacher and the merchant, and the thief was in ninth place. Soldiering was considered a contemptible profession. In Singapore, conscription was considered a means to overcome unemployment.”

The Israelis faced a problem. To evade service, most of the young men of draft age (18-24) who were of Chinese origin furnished proof that they were employed. Some 70 percent of the inductees were unemployed and of Malaysian origin – the opposite of their proportion within the population. Elazari and Golan complained to Lee and Goh, but the prime minister was undeterred. “I want you to recruit the most primitive people in the country, the uneducated and the jobless,” he told them. Stunned, the Israelis tried to persuade him to reconsider, but he was adamant: “In the Second World War, I saw the Japanese and the British. All the British soldiers were intelligent and educated. But as soldiers they were worthless. The most primitive Japanese soldier gets an order and executes it, and they were extraordinary soldiers. The fact is that the Japanese army defeated the British army.”

Golan says, “Yaakov and I tried to explain to him that it’s not a question of education but of motivation. The Japanese soldier was motivated because he was fighting for his emperor, who for him was God. For him, he was ready to sacrifice his life. What motivation did the British soldier have, who fought thousands of kilometers from his home?” The explanations about the spirit of combat and about how to generate motivation persuaded Lee.

Along with the two tracks of compulsory service and career army, Singapore also adopted the IDF’s model of reserve service. Every soldier who completed his regular service was obligated to serve another 13 years, until the age of 33. A system to mobilize the reserves was established and the Defense Ministry carried out surprise call-up exercises. Because of its small size and its lack of areas for live-fire training, Singapore had to establish training bases in friendly neighboring countries.

Surprise tanks

The unquiet in Singapore, and above all the fear of an invasion by Malay forces, together with the rapid development of the Singaporean army, generated additional needs. With the creation of the infantry, the Israeli team made an in-depth study of the battles fought by the Japanese in Southeast Asia during World War II and of how they succeeded in invading Malaysia and Singapore. Shefi was given the task of delivering a talk on the subject to Singapore’s government.

On the basis of the lessons the Israelis drew from the engagements fought by Japan and Britain, they created a naval force based on sampans. “The boats were made of wood and could carry 10 to 15 soldiers, and they were appropriate for the conditions of the sea and for the jungle rivers,” Golan says. “On a stormy sea they can be operated with oars or a motor. We asked the Singaporeans to purchase 20 boats and we set up a small base where infantry companies trained in raids and navigation.”

Retired Colonel Asher Dar says, “The second team that arrived in Singapore applied what Yehuda Golan did in the form of combat doctrine. We trained in flanking maneuvers with small boats and in live fire using artillery. When the head of the training department, Yitzhak Hofi, visited Singapore, we carried out a model landing of an infantry brigade that set sail in boats at night at a distance of 12 kilometers with the aid of shore navigation only.”

The waiting period in Israel on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War was a rough time for the Israeli team in Singapore. “We were relieved the Israelis were not defeated or our SAF [Singapore Armed Forces] would have lost confidence” in the Israeli instructors, Lee writes. In January 1968, Singapore decided to create an armored corps. In great secrecy, an agreement was signed for the purchase of 72 AMX-13 light tanks from IDF surplus. It was a bold decision: Malaysia, the country’s large neighbor, didn’t have tanks.

On Independence Day, August 9, 1969, a major surprise awaited the invited guests, including the defense minister of Malaysia: 30 tanks rolled past the reviewing stand. “It had a dramatic effect,” Lee writes. Malaysia had cause for concern. Its defense minister recommended to his guests that they take steps to persuade the Malaysian government that its intentions were not hostile.

In the wake of the Israeli victory in 1967, the veil of secrecy over the ties between the two countries was lifted a bit. The Singapore delegate at the United Nations abstained in a vote on a resolution condemning Israel that was sponsored by the Arab states. Contacts began to establish full diplomatic relations. In October 1968, Lee permitted Israel to establish a trade mission and in May 1969 authorization was given for the establishment of an Israeli embassy in Singapore. The status of the Israeli military mission to Singapore was also strengthened, and the mission heads who followed held brigadier general rank. The first Israeli military delegation laid the foundations for an extensive network of relations between Israel and Singapore.

Foundations of the air force

The small Israeli team in Singapore was augmented by professional military advisers for the various corps. The chief armored corps officer, Major General Avraham Adan, arrived to give advice on procuring armored vehicles. In 1968, Adam Tzivoni, a retired colonel who had been head of the planning and weapons branch in the air force, was appointed adviser to the Singapore Armed Forces in regard to the creation of an air force.

“As compensation for the hasty departure of the British army, the British government gave Singapore a grant of 50 million pounds to acquire British-made aerial systems: planes, helicopters and surface-to-air missiles,” Tzivoni relates. “The British didn’t like me at all. My first task was to approve the deals. It turned out that the English tried to sell Singapore junk. Apart from a deal for Hunters, I vetoed all the deals.”

Under Tzivoni’s supervision, a flight school was established in Singapore, as well as a technical school, a squadron of Alouette 3 helicopters was purchased and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns were acquired.

Uzis and Israeli marching songs

After the creation of the Singaporean army’s infantry regiments, the question arose of what weapons the nascent armed forces would use. The commanding officers wanted the Uzi, the Israeli submachine gun. The Israeli team took an objective view and rejected the idea. True, the Uzi was considered a superb weapon in the 1960s, but only for short ranges. A regular army needs an assault rifle, the Israeli team asserted. Representatives of Israel Military Industries exerted pressure on the Defense Ministry to sell the new Galil assault rifle. However, the team decided that the rifle wasn’t yet full ready and recommended the American M-16.

Another major headache for the Israelis concerned the decision about which mortars to procure for the new army. Infantry regiments are equipped with 60 – 52 mm and 18 mm mortars. The weapons, which were developed and manufactured by the Soltam company, based in the town of Yokne’am, were sold to the Israel Defense Forces and exported worldwide. “Even though we thought these were the best mortars, we decided not to recommend them but to make use of an independent source in order to reach a decision,” says Yehuda Golan, a member of the team sent to Singapore.

The Israeli team asked a British firm that dealt in organization and consultation on military subjects to examine a series of mortars and recommend the best one. The report stated that the best of the lot was an 18 mm mortar manufactured in Britain. However, considering the price, the recommendation was to buy the Soltam product. The Singapore Armed Forces acquired the Israeli mortar.

“The Israelis emphasized military skills and high motivation. Smartness on parade and military tattoo, the SAF [Singapore Armed Forces] never learned from the `Mexicans.’ Whatever smartness the SAF had” derived from the British officers who commanded the army’s first two regiments, Lee writes.

“Our motto was that we would not stick our nose into what the Singaporeans could do themselves,” Golan notes. “They wanted us to organize the Independence Day parade for them. We argued that a state military parade reflects the country’s mentality and its history.” The Singaporeans didn’t make an issue of it. However, they had a problem that demanded an immediate solution – which marches to play as the soldiers marched in unison. The head of the Israeli mission, Yaakov Elazari, brought notes from Israel and the Singapore army strode to Israeli marching songs.

The jungle combat manual

The Singaporeans took the Israelis by surprise when they insisted on getting a course on jungle combat. Singapore has a tiny natural jungle of no more than five or six square kilometers, but the neighboring states have larger jungles. Yehuda Golan: “I told them they were right but that I wasn’t the right guy, because I knew nothing about jungles.” Nevertheless, the Israeli team began to find out how to cope with the subject. It was decided to send two Singapore officers as guests of the Malaysian army for a course on jungle combat.

“Three months later, the two officers returned with the knowledge they acquired in Malaysia, and we decided to conduct a course in jungle combat,” Golan continues. “Out of curiosity, I decided to join. It looked very bad – it was clear that they had taught them British methods from the Second World War period. I decided to take a group of 10 officers. We entered the jungle and started to engage in war games. We trained in navigation, deploying forces, search and assault. We went through the American training manuals on combat in Vietnam. We developed methods of night navigation. We learned how to function with a fighting company in the dense undergrowth. After a few weeks of training, I wrote the training manual of the Singapore Armed Forces for jungle combat.”

US bill ‘dramatically strengthens’ Israel alliance

US bill ‘dramatically strengthens’ Israel alliance


Bill to expand delivery of forward-deployed US weapons to Israel and help commit Congress to further funding of the Iron Dome.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that declares Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States, reinforcing the broad relationship between the two nations and laying the groundwork for more expansive strategic cooperation.

The bill would expand the delivery of forward-deployed US weapons to Israel, as well as other military technologies, and would commit Congress to further funding of the Iron Dome short-range missile defense system.

Controversially, the bill would also invite Israel into a visa waiver agreement with the US, which has been opposed by members of the intelligence community and the Democratic caucus for multiple years.

The bill passed 410-1 in the House. The Senate has taken up a similar measure, which is still in the committee process.

Just a day after its annual policy conference in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee declared the bill’s passage a victory, and characterized the measure as “dramatically strengthening the US-Israel relationship.”

“This designation lays the foundation for expanded US-Israel cooperation in a wide variety of spheres, including defense, intelligence, homeland security, energy, agriculture and trade,” AIPAC said in a statement, applauding the bill as “critical” and calling on the Senate to act with similar haste.

The second half of the bill, which focuses on US-Israel energy relationships, was authored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and aims to strengthen collaboration between the two countries on energy projects.

The United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Enhancement Bill first passed through the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on December 11, and a Senate companion bill passed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on December 20. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was responsible for the Senate companion bill, alongside Se.s Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

This portion of the bill officially determines that “United States-Israel energy cooperation, and the development of natural resources by Israel, are strategic interests of the United States,” recognizing Israel specifically as a partner in water technology, safety and security arenas. Encouraging the US National Science Foundation to collaborate with the Israel Science Foundation, the text also encourages more robust academic cooperation in a variety of energy-related fields.

Advocating “open dialogue and continued mechanisms for regular engagement,” the bill calls for continued energy partnerships among government and academic institutions as well as the private sector from both sides. Some particular topics of interest include identifying priorities for developing Israeli natural resources, discussing best practices to secure cyber energy infrastructure, leveraging natural gas to positively impact regional stability and improving energy efficiency, the bill says.

The bill also acknowledges the important role of the US-Israel Binational research and Development Foundation (BIRD) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and commits continued multiyear funding “to ensure the continuity of the programs of the foundations.”

“I am pleased this important measure was included in the legislative package and encouraged to see it received such overwhelming support,” Upton said, following the bill’s passage. “With a simple amendment to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, this legislation will help bolster the partnership between Israel and the US on energy production and help enhance energy security.”

With American assistance, Israel will be able to continue making advancements in developing its natural resources, Upton stressed. He also committed to working on future “commonsense energy solutions” with colleagues from both sides of the aisle, as occurred while drafting this legislation.

“Today the House passed an important bill that will expand the partnership between the U.S. and Israel,” Waxman agreed. “Israel is a close ally, and it is in our national interest to help the Israelis development their natural resources in a responsible way that protects the environment.”

How South Africa’s apartheid regime saved Israel’s defense industry
How South Africa’s apartheid regime saved Israel’s defense industry

In the 1980s, Israel’s defense industry was cash-starved until it struck a secret and unprecedented $1.7 billion deal to sell South Africa 60 Kfir combat planes.
By Aluf Benn | Dec. 10, 2013 | 11:30 PM | 21

South Africa under apartheid was the Israeli defense industry’s biggest customer and funded its most ambitious projects. The South Africans were in effect a “captive customer”: The South African army had huge funds at its disposal, but due to the sanctions regime, the West refused to supply it with advanced military systems. Israel, which was cash-starved and suffered international isolation of its own, had no such limitations.
The cooperation reached its peak in the 1980s, which turned out to be apartheid’s dying days. Israel shared with South Africa its technologically advanced systems. Senior officials in the Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces had excellent ties with their South African counterparts, led by Defense Minister Magnus Malan, mililtary chief of staff Constand Viljoen and heads of the South African state defense industry.

The largest deal was reportedly signed in the summer of 1988. Israel sold South Africa 60 Kfir combat planes that were no longer in use by the Israel Air Force. These were substantially upgraded and put to use by South Africa’s air force and renamed the Atlas Cheetah. The deal was worth $1.7 billion, an unprecedented sum.

The Atlas Cheetah was portrayed as a project of South Africa’s air force, which was presented as the chief contractor. Israel’s involvement was played down, even though some details were published here and there. In reality, much of the work was carried out in the Lod plant of Israel Aircraft Industries, now known as Israel Aerospace Industries. Work was also done by Israeli firms that supplied subsystems and components.

The deal helped IAI overcome a crisis following the aborted Lavi jet project in the summer of 1987. An IAI facility was converted from a plant that built new aircraft to a plant that upgraded outdated aircraft.

Israeli defense suppliers had already developed a line of products for the Lavi, like radar and electronics systems. After the IDF canceled its orders, these companies hoped to export their products. Two customers were quick to place orders. China bought Israeli technology for its J-10, which was nicknamed the Chinese Lavi. South Africa’s air force opted to purchase the old Kfir combat planes and upgrade them with Lavi systems.

The Kfir was an Israeli version of the French Mirage with a U.S.-made engine. The U.S. administration had the right to veto exports of Kfirs, since selling the engines to a third party required the Americans’ consent. Some 200 Kfir fighters were produced, but they were outdated soon enough, and the IAF wanted to offload them. The South Africans, who feared Soviet and Cuban intervention in the civil war in neighboring Angola, seized the chance to strengthen their air force.

According to foreign sources, the deal with South Africa posed a problem: The United States joined the sanctions regime on apartheid, so there was no chance it would approve the sale of Kfirs with the original engine. IAI and the South Africans found a solution by purchasing French engines that were fitted to the South African version of the Kfir. This completed the circle. The Mirage, which was designed in France and copied by Israel, regained its original engine.

Israel joined the international sanctions in 1987 but announced that it would honor existing arms deals. The Kfir deal was therefore presented as an existing deal. It seems the French, who supplied the engines, used the same excuse.

The most plausible scenario is that the deal was promoted on the Israeli side by then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Defense Ministry director general David Ivry, IAI director Moshe Keret, the deputy director of the minstry’s foreign department, Haim Carmon, and the head of the military delegation to Pretoria, Brig. Gen. Hagai Regev.

It’s unclear whether Rabin was present at the signing of the deal in South Africa, or if all meetings were held by lower-level officials. The Defense Ministry celebrated the signing of the agreement but concealed its details, fearing that U.S. pressure would get the deal canceled.

Several weeks after the Kfir deal was signed, IAI boasted another achievement with the launching of the first  Ofek reconnaissance satellite. South African participation in this project was crucial; without funding from the apartheid regime, the project, which was almost shelved for financial reasons, would never have happened.

But these huge projects didn’t save the apartheid regime. In 1991, U.S. pressure forced Israel to halt deals with South Africa, and Yitzhak Shamir’s government was forced to sign a commitment not to export short and midrange missiles. Still, the United States didn’t interfere with the Kfir-Cheetah deal and the jets were made operative by South Africa’s air force until they were replaced several years later.

Ecuador’s air force, which bought some of Israel’s Kfirs, later purchased 10 Cheetahs after South Africa’s air force stopped using them. This was the last roll of the dice in this huge arms deal.

Israeli Military Industrial Complex brewing Police State in Brazil

Israeli Military Industrial Complex brewing Police State in Brazil

April 25, 2013 By Soraya Misleh

City of Porto Alegre could become Israel’s most important foreign military research outpost

Government of Rio Grande do Sul using public money to finance arrival of Israeli military contractor Elbit Systems to the state

“PASSPORT!” demanded the Israeli security guard in English as he approached demonstrators at the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) fair, which took place April 9-12 at the RioCentro Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This surreal scene unfolded as a tiny group of activists entered the fair’s exhibition space, which contained a number of Israeli arms industry exporters. Armed with nothing but “Boycott Israeli apartheid” t-shirts and keffiyas, they first held a picket outside the entrance, during which a large Palestinian flag was held up along with signs that read, “Israeli arms embargo now!” and “President Dilma, stop buying Israeli weapons!” Dilma Vana Rousseff, the first female president of Brazil and a member of the Workers’ Party, is the successor to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

This first demand–to embargo Israeli arms–is the central aim of the Brazilian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign led by the Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP (Front in Defense of the Palestinian People–São Paulo), which is composed of dozens of Brazil’s civil society organizations.

The second–calling on President Dilma to halt the purchase of Israeli weaponry–is a condemnation of the rapid increase in military contracts between Israel and Brazil, which has solidified Brazil’s shameful standing as one of the five largest importers of arms from the apartheid regime. Both the São José dos Campos Steelworkers Union and the Brazilian labor federation, CSP-Conlutas, are endorsers of this demand.

These two organizations joined the demonstration in front of RioCentro, which also included representatives from Anel (National Free Students Assembly), Mopat (Palestinian Movement for All), Ciranda Internacional da Communicação Independente (Ciranda International for Independent/Shared Information) and PSTU (Unified Socialist Workers Party).

This year’s LAAD fair demonstrated the urgent need to end the military agreements linking Brazil and Israel. The more than 30 Israeli companies present at RioCentro were granted special privileges to dialogue at the event’s opening ceremony with Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer and Secretary of Defense Celso Amorim as official representatives of President Dilma Rousseff. Exhibitors’ sights were set on acquisition of security contracts for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both of which are set to occur in Brazil.

Following the initial demand for passports, Israeli security guards surrounded the activists, serving as an alarming example of Israel’s ability to place itself above international law. The exercise of such impunity also offers a tiny glimpse of what life must be like for Palestinians living under occupation and apartheid.

In addition to demanding passports from Brazilian citizens exercising their rights on their own soil, the security agents then proceeded to follow the activists as they moved throughout the fair. There were dozens of Israeli personnel. The activists verbally protested this discriminatory act while simultaneously denouncing the occupation of Palestinian land.

For those who have been to Palestine, it was as though the Israeli guards had reproduced, inside of Brazil, their system of segregating and expelling the “unwanted.” The demand for passports seemed an attempt to recreate a West Bank checkpoint with which the Israeli security personnel were no doubt familiar. It was as though, with the blessing of the Brazilian state and federal governments, they had staged an occupation of the LAAD event area and were completely ignoring Brazilian citizens’ democratic right to free expression and assembly.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

DESPITE ATTEMPTS to embarrass and intimidate the “unwanted” visitors at the fair, the activists were still able to get a sense of the merchandise on display–such as the Israeli-made drones recently used during the Operation Pillar of Cloud attacks on Gaza last year. Israel’s Secretary of Defense even had his own booth. For some reason, activists were not permitted to enter it.

One particularly striking exhibit by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) featured a futuristic presentation of its technologies on a giant screen. IAI, according to reports from Palestinian organizations, produces equipment used by Israeli occupation forces in their policing of the apartheid wall and illegal Jewish-only settlements.

IAI’s Brazilian subsidiary, Bedek, together with the Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Synergy have formed a joint venture called EAE Soluções Aeroespacias (EAE Aerospace Solutions). This conglomerate produces materiel for the Brazilian Armed Forces that utilizes TAP M&E Brazil’s production and maintenance centers in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre.

Another exhibitor was Rafael Defence, which boasts on its website of a “special” relationship with the Israel Defense Force (IDF). This firm–in collaboration with Netcom Malam Team International, Israel’s largest information technology group–has developed specially designed products for Israel’s occupying forces.

Israel Military Industries (IMI)–which counts Brazil’s army among its clients and enjoys a commercial partnership with Taurus, which is headquartered in Porto Alegre–was also an exhibitor. IMI manufactures the Israeli Tavor rifle.

The LAAD Fair was sponsored by Brazilian aviation manufacturer Embraer, a company closely linked to the Israeli arms industry. It maintains contracts with the Israeli company Elbit Systems, which was also a fair exhibitor. Elbit, a high-tech military firm, manufactures the aforementioned Israeli drones recently deployed in Gaza. Elbit is also one of 12 companies involved in the construction of the Israel’s apartheid wall.

In October 2012, UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights Richard Falk called for the boycotting of Elbit Systems during a UN General Assembly. Throughout the last 15 years, Elbit has maintained a presence in Brazil operates through its subsidiaries AEL, Periscope Optronic Equipment S/A and Ares Aerospace. Through Ares Aerospace, Elbit recently acquired two million-dollar contracts with the Brazilian army.

Furthermore, the government of Rio Grande do Sul–the state that is home to Porto Alegre–plans to expand Elbit’s presence in Brazil by means of privatization. If Brazil’s supporters of neoliberalism have their way, Brazil’s Porto Alegre could become Israel’s most important foreign military research outpost because it is home to AEL, which is a subsidiary of Elbit. This project, financed by public money, also provides benefits in the form of business transactions intrinsically linked to Israel’s crimes and violations of human rights.

The BDS Brazil campaign has sent a letter to federal and state governments in Brazil expressing its alarm at Israel’s presence at the LAAD Fair. Signed by more than 30 civil society organizations, the document highlights the importation of these military technologies by local governments to use in their repression of Brazil’s poor black youth.

The case of Rio de Janeiro is exemplary. The Israeli company, Global Shield, won a million-dollar contract to provide military police with eight new armored vehicles (known as caveirões in Portuguese) used in police occupations of the favelas (slums).

Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression

Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression
Researched, written and edited by members of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the new exposé, “Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression,” focuses on the role of Israel’s government military, and related corporations and organizations in a global industry of violence and repression.

IJAN’s 28-page booklet was officially released at the World Social Forum Free Palestine in Porto Alegre, Brazil and has received widespread attention in recent weeks. The project has been featured in Al Jazeera, Jacobin, La Rebelión and Jadaliyya among other publications.

The pamphlet is being used as part of a broader organizing project with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the US Palestinian Community Network, the Palestinian Youth Movement and the National Lawyer’s Guild to highlight the role Israel plays in the arms industry and political repression around the globe. The information in the pamphlet is not widely known. We seek to continue to build awareness and gather testimony leading to popular tribunals in various locations impacted by the work of Israel and its related corporations and organizations. Given state-secrecy, censorship and limited organizational resources, the information we have gathered thus far is merely the tip of the iceberg in the push for accountability.

The pamphlet is available on-line and print copies can be ordered in English, Spanish and Portuguese. We welcome translation of the pamphlet into other languages. We also urge the organizing of actions, campaigns or popular tribunals across places where Israel, often with the United States and other governments, plays a role in the repression of our movements or attacks on communities.

The pamphlets, source documents, research, ways to get involved and video from our first People’s Assembly at the World Social Forum Free Palestine in Porto Alegre, Brazil are available on-line at:

From the Introduction:
Israel’s unique skills in crowd control, forced displacement, surveillance, and military occupation have resulted in placing it at the forefront of a global industry of repression: it develops, manufactures, and markets technologies that are used by armies and police around the world for purposes of repression.

Israel’s role in this industry began with the Israeli military, which first used its weapons of war against Palestinian people in historic Palestine, and against neighboring countries. In recent years, as interest in surveillance and policing technologies and techniques has grown among governments around the world, an Israeli “homeland security” private service industry built on these field-tested instruments has emerged to exploit and export this interest.

This industry includes government agencies, the Israeli military, and a network of private corporations that grossed over 2.7 billion US dollars in 2008. This industry accounts for approximately seven percent of the Israeli economy. The Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor says on its website:

Israel has more than 300 Homeland Security (HLS) companies exporting a range of products, systems and services…These solutions have been born by the necessity of Israel’s survival and matured by the reality of the continual terrorist threat    to the country… No other country has such a large pool of experienced former security, military, and police personnel and no other country has been able to field test its systems and solutions in real-time situations.

In addition to the Israeli government, military, and corporations, a network of Zionist organizations provides political and economic support to the state of Israel. For example, in the United States, these organizations participate in surveillance and facilitate exchanges between the Israeli military and US police forces, federal agents, and armed forces.

This network of state bodies, corporations, and non-profits shares intelligence information, coordinates strategies for surveillance and repression, and collaborates for profit. The precise function of each varies according to their role.

Israel has provided arms, trained militia, and military and civilian police, developed and provided surveillance technology and repression strategies, and supplied the means for a broad array of other control techniques, from ”non-lethal” weapons to border technology. Israel has played a role in arming and training the apartheid regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia, colonial regimes in the Middle East and North Africa (otherwise known as Southwest Asia and North Africa, or SWANA), and dictators in Central and South America and Asia.

The Israeli government has assumed a major, worldwide role in enforcing limitations on the freedom of movement, policing of communities, and undermining peoples’ struggles for justice. Though well documented, this fact is rarely if ever mentioned or discussed, and even more rarely challenged.

Our movements – those in solidarity with the Palestinian people, against war, poverty, and an unjust globalized economy – need to take into account the very real ways the state of Israel contributes to violence and repression around the world.

Israel sells its weapons, technologies, training, and techniques of violence to those it considers allies and even to those whom it considers enemies. Israel sells or has sold to Islamist, communist, capitalist, dictatorial, and social democratic states. The driving force behind Israeli arms exports, in addition to the profit motive, is the need for a close and strong alliance with major imperialist powers that provide it with continuous military and diplomatic support, economic markets and access to power. Therefore, Israel has prioritized selling weapons to the allies and agents of these powers.

Israel Shahak’s 1982 book, Israel’s Global Role: Weapons for Repression, documents that “from Rhodesia to apartheid South Africa to the Gulf monarchies, Israel ties its interests not with the masses fighting for freedom, but with their jailers.”12 Despite competition and other conflicts between governments and regimes that rely on repression, those same governments and regimes have no trouble cooperating with one another against peoples’ movements.

Panama and Israel: A special relationship
Belen Fernandez
Panama and Israel: A special relationship
Martinelli’s efforts to intertwine his economy with Israel shows Panama will continue to “bank on Palestine denial”.
 03 Dec 2012 10:24

In the aftermath of the latest bloodbath, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli reiterated his country’s solidarity with the “guardians of the capital of the world” via the UN vote [EPA]

Panama recently distinguished itself by voting alongside a smattering of great powers – the US, Israel, Micronesia – against enhanced UN membership status for Palestine.

A similar smattering of great powers voted in February 2010 against a UN resolution calling for investigations into allegations of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza. Shortly after this particular vote, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli travelled to Israel to perform requisite acts of sycophancy while discussing free trade possibilities and other bilateral ventures.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Martinelli affirmed eternal Panamanian solidarity with the Jewish state based on “its guardianship of the capital of the world – Jerusalem” and assured Israeli President Shimon Peres that Panama’s diminutive size did not prevent it from having “a big heart for Israel”.

Martinelli’s pilgrimage was commemorated in May of the following year in a four-part magazine series issued by the Israeli embassy in Panama, on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s independence from the owners of the land on which the nation was built.

Titled “Israel: 63 years of constant progress”, the magazine reported that the Panamanian presidential visit and signing of various accords had prompted Israel to issue a page of postage stamps in Martinelli’s honour.

Other bits of trivia appeared in between full-page advertisements for banks, congratulating Israel on its 63 years. These included the calculation that “Israelis drink 3.5 cups of coffee per day”, that “they drink it the same way the Europeans do”, that “Israel has the most divers per capita in the world” and that the “land of Israel” was in 1947 “also known as Palestine”. Never mind that the land of Israel was not known as the land of Israel in 1947.

The 64th year of coffee and progress

Had the embassy magazine been less superficial in its selection of Israel-related factoids, it might have mentioned that, in addition to exhibiting European coffee consumption tendencies and diving at a disproportionate rate, Israelis are also known for disproportionate extermination of Palestinians.

During Operation Cast Lead, 1,400 Palestinians – primarily civilians – were slaughtered in a matter of 22 days, while 160 Gazans were eliminated last month, halfway through the 64th year of constant progress.

In the aftermath of the latest bloodbath, Panama reiterated its solidarity with the guardians of the capital of the world via the UN vote. It remains to be seen whether a new round of Martinelli postage stamps is in order.

Given Panama’s recent history under US occupation, it may seem incongruous that the country’s “big heart” would side so fervently with the occupiers against the occupied in the case of Israel-Palestine.

As the embassy magazine reveals, however, the heart’s orientation is far from a new development, and instead predates the very creation of the state of Israel.

According to the magazine’s account, Panama was represented on the five-member UN Palestine Commission by a certain Eduardo Morgan Alvarez, who “understood the injustices that the Jews had suffered” and who succeeded in “persuad[ing] smaller countries, primarily in Latin America, to support the UN [partition] resolution”.

Indeed, the current website of the Morgan and Morgan Group (MMG), an “integrated and multidisciplinary group of service companies”, boasts that “the bond between the [MMG] and Israel dates back to 1947, when our founder Eduardo Morgan Alvarez, as a member of the United Nations Committee, became instrumental in the creation of the State of Israel”.

The embassy magazine meanwhile notes additional Panamanian contributions to the fulfillment of the Zionist dream, such as the creation of an airline company, Lineas Aereas de Panama (LAPSA), for the express purpose of transferring war planes from the US to Israel in contravention of the arms embargo then in effect. The magazine reports: “The first plane arrived to Israel on June 21, 1948.”

When special relationships overlap

As only befits a nation committed to constant progress, the one-time recipient of LAPSA donations has now made a name for itself in the business of security exports, a euphemism for the propagation of insecurity in various locations across the globe.

A few years back, Panama itself became one of the target clients of Israeli private security firm Global CST, founded by the former Head of the Operations Directorate of the Israeli army. The firm’s Latin American security efforts have included attempts by an employee to peddle classified Colombian military documents to anti-government guerrillas.

Despite the sacred nature of the US-Israel relationship, Global CST’s overtures to Panama seem to have triggered the Monroe Doctrine reflex. A McClatchy article entitled “WikiLeaks: US saw Israeli firm’s rise in Latin America as a threat” specifies the following:

“At one point [in 2010], Panama’s intelligence chief threatened to rely more heavily on the Israelis out of anger that US officials wouldn’t tap the phones of the president’s political enemies, according to [WikiLeaks] cables. US officials countered that such an arrangement would threaten all security co-operation with Panama, and the Panamanians backed down.”

The cables quote Martinelli as confirming that “We don’t want to change friends” – though he stopped short of referring to US friends as the guardians of the capital of the world or the objects of Panama’s big heart.

As for world capital of a different sort, multimillionaire Martinelli’s efforts to intertwine his economy with Israel’s is a good indication that Panama will continue to bank on the profitability of Palestine denial.

Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, released by Verso in 2011. She is a member of the Jacobin Magazine editorial board, and her articles have appeared in the London Review of Books blog, Al Akhbar English and many other publications.

Israel suspends strategic “dialogue” with UK: Arrogance or bluff?

Israel suspends ‘dialogue’ with UK

Strategic dialogue postponed in protest at law that allows British courts to prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes.

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2010 

Israel has postponed all strategic dialogue with Britain in protest at a law which allows UK courts to prosecute visiting Israeli officials for alleged war crimes.

Strategic dialogue between the two countries takes place annually and focuses on defence and security issues.

“The strategic dialogue has indeed been postponed,” Yigal Palmor, a foreign ministry spokesman, said on Wednesday.

The development came as William Hague, the British foreign minister, arrived in Israel for a two-day visit on Wednesday.

“The visit by foreign minister Hague is an important phase in the ongoing exchange between the countries and the question of Israeli officials being unable to travel to Britain will be on the top of the agenda as far as we are concerned,” he said.

The law in question gives British courts “universal jurisdiction” to issue warrants against individuals accused of war crimes, including visiting foreign politicians.


Visits cancelled


Sherine Tadros, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Jerusalem, said that this issue was top on the agenda for Hague’s visit.

“This is something that is vital for Israel and they are not happy how, time and time again, its’ officials have to cancel trips to the UK because of fear of being arrested for war crimes,” she said.

“The UK has said that this law needs to be changed but the question for Israel is when will the change happen.”

Earlier this week, Dan Meridor, Israel’s intelligence minister, cancelled a trip to London over general concerns he risked being arrested, with local media speculating it was in connection with Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.

Britain’s embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed that the government was taking the issue very seriously and said that a draft amendment to the law would be put before parliament “in the coming weeks”.

“The British government understands that we have a real problem and we are dealing with it,” spokeswoman Karen Kaufman told AFP, saying it would take “several months” before any amendment was passed.

“We will present a draft (amendment) in the coming weeks with the goal of passing it in this current sitting of parliament,” Kaufman was quoted as saying.

This year’s strategic dialogue meeting, which had been expected to take place in Britain last month, did not happen, a diplomatic source said.

But a spokesman for the prime minister’s office refused to comment on the issue, saying: “We don’t talk about strategic dialogue. It’s a sensitive issue.”

Israel has been pushing for Britain to amend the legislation for five years after a number of high-profile political and military officials were forced to cancel visits over arrest fears.

Warrants issued

In January, Gordon Brown, Britain’s then Labour prime minister, pledged to change the law after Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who was foreign minister during the 2008-9 war on Gaza, cancelled a trip after a warrant for her arrest was issued, provoking a diplomatic spat.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper to coincide with his first visit to Israel as foreign secretary, Hague said it would be prudent for Israeli officials to wait for the law to be amended before visiting Britain.

“I think it would be wise to first pass this law and then invite them,” Hague said.

Hague arrived in Israel late on Tuesday for talks which were expected to focus on helping Israel and the Palestinians break the deadlock in peace negotiations.

Talks were suspended in late September after the expiry of a moratorium on Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has refused to reimpose the moratorium, while the Palestinians say they will not hold talks while settlers are building on Palestinian land, prompting a flurry of diplomatic efforts to break the impasse.

Our correspondent said that among the scheduled meetings, one was centred around the Iranian nuclear row.

“Sources are saying that Israel is trying to find out whether sanctions are biting Iran,” Tadros said.

“The Israelis will probably say that they are not and try to push for more pressures against Iran.”


Greek and Israeli airforces undertake joing manoeuvres

The MPs of KKE Spyros Chalvatzis, Thanassis Pafilis, Liana Kaneli, Giorgos Marinos and Giorgos Mavrikos addressed a question to the Defence and Foreign Ministers protesting the joint air manoeuvres of the Greek and Israeli air forces (May 2010).

The text of the question refers: 

“In a period that the protests against the ongoing brutal violation of the rights Palestinian people escalate both in our country as well as internationally, while at the same time the threats of a military attack against Iran increase, the Greek and Israeli air forces will realize until 3rd June joint air maneuvers over Greek mainland, Crete, the Aegean and Ionian sea. As they openly admit these maneuvers are held in the framework of the preparation of the Israeli air forces for the bombing of targets in Iran. This dangerous development turns against the people of Iran and all the peoples in the region and is contrary to the will of our people. Furthermore, the Greek people have condemned a similar maneuver carried out in the period when ND was in the government”. 

According to the above mentioned the MPs of KKE ask the government: what measures will it take so as to cancel this provocative maneuver that has nothing to do with the defense of the sovereignty of our country and constitutes an unacceptable direct aggressive action and active support of an aggressive action against states and people?

Additional news (BBC, Monday 31 May 2010):

Greece has withdrawn from joint military exercises with Israel in protest at the attack on the Gaza flotilla.

Athens has also barred the head of the Israeli air force from flying to Greece.

The Greeks have long had warm relations with the Palestinians and are furious with the Israelis for carrying out this raid in international waters.

The Israeli ambassador to Athens was called into the foreign ministry to provide an explanation. The deputy foreign minister, Dhimitris Droutsas, demanded assurances about the wellbeing of 30 Greeks who were on board ships in the flotilla.

Mr Yahya was told in no uncertain terms that Greece held Israel responsible for their safety. One of the vessels currently being escorted by the Israelis towards the port of Ashdod is sailing under a Greek flag.

Israel’s meddling in Africa

Meddling in Africa

Israel is forging ever-closer ties in the Arab hinterland in Africa, virtually unopposed, writes Saleh Al-Naami

All signs indicate that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman remains keen on implementing his ministry’s strategic priorities as set out from his first day in office, including pouncing on Africa. Lieberman’s interest in Africa revives former prime minister Golda Meir’s outlook in the 1950s and 1960s. She visited most non-Arab states on the continent. Israel’s current intensified moves mainly target the Horn of Africa, which includes Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.

While the Israeli Foreign Ministry is in theory in charge of Israel’s policies in Africa, there is no doubt that the party that is playing the greater role is Mossad. It maintains active agents in many African capitals, as recently revealed by Haaretz newspaper. Assigning Mossad this task is directly connected to this organisation’s routine attempts to undermine the national security of Arab states in Africa and on the Red Sea.

Indeed, there is a direct relationship between recent efforts to nurture Israeli-Ethiopian ties and threats by the government of Addis Ababa to re-channel Nile waters to the disadvantage of Egypt and Sudan. According to Israeli sources, the relationship between Tel Aviv and Addis Ababa went to a new level when Tel Aviv showed dexterity in abandoning its former ally Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki for the sake of closer ties with the Ethiopian regime. Israel and Ethiopia have signed many arms deals and are involved in training programmes whereby Israeli military units train Ethiopian forces.

Some make a connection between Tel Aviv’s cooperation with Addis Ababa and Ethiopia’s victories over Eritrea in battles that took place two years ago. Meanwhile, no one expects Israel or Ethiopia to reveal what may have been planned against Egypt behind the scenes. Lieberman once threatened to destroy Egypt’s High Dam. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz insists that Egypt is an “enemy state” despite the 1978 Egypt- Israel Peace Treaty.

It is widely known that Israel uses its relations with states and political movements that are hostile to Arab countries to undermine Arab national security, and distract influential Arab states with secondary issues. This way, the role of these Arab states in the Arab-Israeli conflict is curtailed. In a recent and unprecedented admission, Shlomo Nakdimon, adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, stated that Israel had manoeuvred since the 1950s to strengthen ties with the Kurds in northern Iraq in support of their separatist agenda to undermine the Iraqi regime and influence the priorities of Baghdad. For the same reasons, Israel drew closer to the Shah of Iran as well as the military leadership and secularists in Turkey because of their animosity towards the Arab world. Israel also built an alliance with the Maronites in Lebanon to target Palestinian resistance and Lebanese nationalist movements.

In his book Periphery Alliance, Nakdimon noted that the same reasoning was behind Israel’s move to nurture ties with the separatist Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), whereby they supplied the movement with arms and training. It is also no secret that Tel Aviv encouraged Jewish lobby groups in the US to draft agendas for expatriate Coptic groups, which are then presented to the US Congress and the US administration, specifically to include claims of discrimination and oppression of Copts.

Regarding Ethiopia, there was a time when Eritrean President Afewerki had strong ties with Israel, which had convinced him to undermine the security of Yemen by occupying Yemeni islands in the Red Sea using superior weapons supplied by Israel. But since that time Tel Aviv has felt it more beneficial to nurture relations with Ethiopia — Afewerki’s arch nemesis — and did not hesitate in cutting the Eritrean president off. In particular, Tel Aviv wants to sidetrack Egypt since it continues to be the major challenge for Israel’s regional strategy, as stated by Israel’s deputy prime minister and minister of strategic threats in Netanyahu’s government, General Moshe Yalon, who previously served as chief of staff of the armed forces.

Israel’s interest in the Horn of Africa is not limited to meddling in Egypt’s national security by interfering with Cairo’s quota of Nile waters, but also serves higher Israeli goals. The Horn of Africa overlooks the straits of Bab Al-Mandab, through which passes 20 per cent of Israel’s foreign trade. The growing power of Al-Qaeda and other groups associated with it in the region, especially in Somalia, has encouraged Israel to establish a presence in the area. As a close ally of Israel, Ethiopia’s interference in Somali affairs has facilitated Israel’s job. There are indications that Israel has used Ethiopia’s occupation of large areas in Somalia to give Mossad a foothold.

Zvi Bar expressed a widely held fear in Tel Aviv when expressing concern about the rise of Islam in Africa since it would lead to an anti-Israel atmosphere on the continent. Some analysts believe this is why Israel is redoubling its efforts in the region. When Israel approaches regimes that are in power struggles with Muslim opponents, they encourage them to rely on Israel’s experience in confronting Islamic movements. Hence, Israel has exerted much effort in drawing closer to Nigeria, and signed an agreement to supply it with military equipment.

There is also a long list of Israeli interests in Africa that it wants to protect, including controlling oil mining on the continent, whereby Israeli companies — under European cover — are in charge of oil exploration in several African countries. Israel has taken great interest in Africa’s oil reserves after UN reports confirmed them at more than 80 billion barrels. Israel also mines natural resources in African states, including uranium. In his book With the Power of Science, Israeli nuclear scientist Ariel Bakhrakh revealed that Israel had stolen uranium from African states under the pretence that its scientists were carrying out geological tests.

Third, Africa is a vast market for Israeli products, especially military products. Also, Israel monopolises many industrial and economic sectors in a number of Africa states. For example, Israeli companies have a strong hold on food products in Ethiopia. Finally, producing and exporting diamonds is a major source of revenue for Israel, and these diamonds are mined in Africa.

Historically, Israel has used several tools to strengthen ties with African countries, at times by exporting technical know-how in agriculture and at others through military training, discreetly providing medical treatment for African rulers at Israeli hospitals, and hosting African students at Israeli universities. Israel has not hesitated to participate in military coups in some African states. As confirmed by Yossi Melman, an Israeli commentator on intelligence issues, it is certain that Mossad assisted in coups that took place in Uganda and Zanzibar.

What is remarkable is that Israel is moving freely on the African continent without any Arab reaction. Arab states are failing to utilise the many tools they possess to not only stop Israel’s manoeuvres, but more importantly to halt Tel Aviv’s efforts to undermine Arab national security.

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German Chancellor Embraces Israel

Letter from Europe

Embracing Israel Costs Merkel Clout


Published: January 20, 2010

BERLIN — There are some foreign policy issues that Angela Merkel does not like to talk about. One is Afghanistan. The other is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So when she was asked about Israel’s settlement policy and the blockade of Gaza during a joint news conference here Monday with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, she minimized the issue. It was time to restart the peace process, she said, moving quickly to another topic.

German leaders find it very difficult to criticize Israel because of the responsibility Germany bears for the Holocaust and their commitment to the existence of the state of Israel. This is true of Mrs. Merkel in particular, who wants to forge a much closer relationship with Israel. The chancellor’s position has made it even more difficult for the European Union to speak with one voice on the Middle East.

But Mrs. Merkel’s policy is inconsistent. When she was first elected chancellor in late 2005, she placed much emphasis on human rights and freedom. She criticized China’s human rights policy and made the highly controversial decision to meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, in the Chancellery in 2007. China warned of dire consequences, such as severing lucrative trade contracts. Apart from the cancellation of a few high-level meetings, little happened.

When Mrs. Merkel met nongovernmental organizations that Vladimir V. Putin had tried to ban, the relationship between Berlin and Moscow became frosty. That was all.

But as far as the Middle East is concerned, Mrs. Merkel has paid scant attention to the miserable living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza as well as Israel’s settlements and detention policies. German legislators and analysts say that of all chancellors of the postwar period, Mrs. Merkel is considered the most pro-Israeli. “The chancellor is particularly close to Israel,” said one conservative legislator, Ruprecht Polenz, who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Parliament.

So close that Mrs. Merkel was muted in her criticism of Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip in late 2008, which killed many civilians. In contrast, when the Iranian authorities used force last year against the opposition, which was claiming that the presidential elections had been rigged, Mrs. Merkel took an admirable stance, becoming one of the few leaders to publicly criticize the regime, even calling for new elections.

Mr. Polenz says that every German chancellor is responsible, rightly, for defending Israel because of the Holocaust. When it comes to Berlin’s relationship with the Middle East, “we are not neutral,” he said. “But that does not mean we cannot speak our minds to our Israeli friends.”

It is different with Mrs. Merkel. As chancellor, she set herself three foreign policy objectives: better relations with the United States, a much closer relationship with Israel and the integration of the European Union. These issues, said Gerd Langguth, a political science professor at Bonn University and Mrs. Merkel’s biographer, “are what Mrs. Merkel inherently believes in.”

Since the global financial meltdown, relations between the chancellery and President Barack Obama have become strained, not least because the United States openly criticized Germany for not doing enough to stem the crisis. As for E.U. integration, which depends on France and Germany cooperating, it has gone nowhere. Mrs. Merkel and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, have proposed no new initiatives that would make Europe more coherent and credible as a global player. Mrs. Merkel has also often put German interests before Europe’s.

The only success is Israel. “Mrs. Merkel has an emotional relationship with Israel and the Jewish people,” Mr. Langguth said.

Mrs. Merkel has embarked on her own particular policy toward Israel, pursuing a special relationship even after the Gaza bombings. Against the advice of German diplomats, Mrs. Merkel, who is also leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party, which is a staunch defender of Israel, referred to Israel as a “Jewish state” in the government’s coalition agreement with the Free Democrats last October. Israelis were delighted. “It is our policy that other states recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” said Professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, near Tel Aviv.

No wonder then that the meeting Monday in Berlin was significant. It was the first time the German and Israeli cabinets ever met jointly in Germany. Mrs. Merkel initiated these special consultations, reserved only for a few countries, including France, Poland and Russia, after her 2008 visit to Israel, where she was given the rare honor of addressing the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.

Muriel Asseburg, a Middle East expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, said Mrs. Merkel’s policy toward Israel was linked to the fact that she was raised in Communist East Germany.

“It has much to do with the former East Germany. It did not recognize Israel and did not assume responsibility for the Third Reich, the Second World War and the Holocaust. Merkel has tried to distance herself from that stance and to compensate for that East German past,” Ms. Asseburg said.

So while Mrs. Merkel does say, as she said on Monday, that it is time for Israel and the Palestinians to become re-engaged in a peace process, Ms. Assenburg says Mrs. Merkel “would not publicly take a critical stance of Israel’s policies and the occupation.” Her goal is not to make the peace process a priority in Germany’s relations with Israel. It is to have ever closer relations with Israel, regardless of the conflict.

This runs against the official German position of unequivocal support for the peace process and a two-state solution so as to realize both Israel’s security and Palestinian aspirations. But analysts say that policy is not pursued. “A critical stance with regard to the occupation and settlement policies as well as active German engagement in the peace process should actually follow from Germany’s historical responsibility and not fall under the taboo of the Holocaust,” Ms. Asseburg argued.

It will not happen under Mrs. Merkel. It means that Israel, much criticized by some other E.U. countries, will always have a special ally in Europe, and Europe, for the foreseeable future, will remain unable to wield influence in helping end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


A version of this article appeared in print on January 21, 2010, in The International Herald Tribune

Rightist Israeli MKs: ‘British are dogs, who are they to judge?’,7340,L-3866929,00.html

Rightist MKs: ‘British are dogs, who are they to judge?’

After Britain accuses Israel of cloning passports used in Mabhouh assassination, threatens to expel Israeli diplomat, MK Arieh Eldad compares British to dogs: ‘Who gave them right to judge us on war on terror?’

[Note: this happened after Gordon Brown provided impunity to Israeli war criminals – The Webmaster]

Amnon Meranda

Members of Knesset were outraged with Britain’s accusations against Israel over the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai and its threats to expel an Israeli diplomat from London over the stolen passports affair. MK Arieh Eldad said on Tuesday that the British were behaving hypocritically and compared them to dogs.

Eldad also gave an interview to the British Sky network, and said that a British diplomat should be expelled in response, “maybe the military attaché”. British media has been covering the crisis since Tuesday morning.

When asked of the comparison, Eldad said, “I was just quoting what was said in Latroun 62 years ago. I think the British are being hypocritical and I do not wish to insult dogs here, since some dogs show true loyalty. Who gave the British the right to judge us on the war on terror?”

The National Union MK addressed the Passover haggadah, as passed down to him from his father, the late Lehi leader Yisrael Eldad. “When my father held the seder in Latroun before 500 prisoners he read Chad Gadya (One goat song sung at Passover) to the British prison commander. And the question was posed: If the goat is righteous, then the cat is evil, then the dog is righteous, then the stick is evil – and in the end it turns out that, heaven forbid, God Almighty is evil. What is the answer he gave to the Briton? The answer was that ‘the goat may be righteous, the cat may be evil, but you are the dog. You Briton. Who gave you the right to judge?'”

Eldad’s fellow party member Michael Ben-Ari was asked if he agrees with the comparison and said, “Dogs are usually loyal, the British may be dogs, but they are not loyal to us. They seem to be loyal to the anti-Semitic establishment.

“Unfortunately, the Israeli government and Israeli diplomacy play into their hands. We have learned that a dog must be called by its name. This is anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism.”

On the other hand, Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima) said Israel should refrain from responding to the crisis with Britain. “I believe that Israel’s abstaining from giving any kind of response at the height of the Dubai crisis was right. Now that the height of the crisis is behind us, it is certainly all the more logical to refrain from making matters worse.”

He added, “Over the years, Israel has adopted a policy of not responding to allegations made against it in such matters. This is sometimes used to accuse Israel of things it has nothing to do with.”

Earlier, it was reported that Britain plans to formally announced that Israel was behind the cloning of British passports used in the assassination of Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. It was also reported that an Israeli diplomat is to be expelled from London, with Foreign Secretary David Miliband scheduled to give a statement on the matter at 3:30 pm GMT Tuesday.

The Role of Israel in the Georgian War

The  Role of Israel in the Georgian War

August 17, 2008

by Brian  Harring

Georgia  became a huge source of income, and military advantage, for the Israeli  government and Israeli arms dealers.. Israel began selling arms to Georgia about  seven years ago, following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to  Israel and became weapons hustlers.

They contacted Israeli defense  industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively  large budgets, mostly American grants, and could be interested in purchasing  Israeli weapons.

The military cooperation between the countries  developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia’s defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili,  is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation. "We  are now in a fight against the great Russia," he said, "and our hope is to  receive assistance from the White House, because Georgia cannot survive on its  own. "

Kezerashvili’s door was always open to the Israelis who came and  offered his country arms systems made in Israel. Compared to countries in  Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the  pro-Israeli defense minister’s personal involvement.

The Jerusalem Post  on August 12, 2008 reported: "Georgian Prime Minister Vladimer (Lado)  Gurgenidze(Jewish) made a special call to Israel Tuesday morning to receive a  blessing from one of the Haredi community’s most important rabbis and spiritual  leaders, Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman." The Prime Minister of Georgia, principally  a nation of Orthodox Christians called Rabbi Steinman saying ‘I’ve heard he is a  holy man. I want him to pray for us and our state.’

Among the Israelis  who took advantage of the opportunity and began doing business in Georgia were  former Minister Roni Milo and his brother Shlomo, former director-general of the  Military Industries, Brigadier-General (Res.) Gal Hirsch and Major-General  (Res.) Yisrael Ziv.

Roni Milo conducted business in Georgia for Elbit  Systems and the Military Industries, and with his help Israel’s defense  industries managed to sell to Georgia remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs), automatic  turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems,  shells and rockets.

The Ministry of Defense of Israel had supplied the  Georgian government their Hermes 450 UAV spy drones, made by Elbit Maarahot  Systems Ltd, for use, under the strict control of Israeli intelligence units, to  conduct intelligence-gathering flights over southern Russia and, most especially  into a Iran, targeted for Israeli Air Force attacks in the near future.

Two airfields in southern Georgia had been earmarked for the use of  Israeli military aircraft, intended to launch an attack on identified targets  relating to Iranian atomic energy projects. This attack was approved by  President Bush in an undertaking with the government of Israel signed in  Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2006.

The thrust of this top secret  agreement was that the Israeli government would have "free and unfettered use"  of unspecified Georgian airfields, under American control, onto which they could  ferry fighter-bombers which then could fly south, over Turkish territory (and  with clandestine Turkish permission) to strike at Tehran. The distance from  Georgia to Tehran is obviously far less than from Tel Aviv.

No one  expected that these attacks would completely destroy Iranian military or  scientific targets, but there would be the element of complete surprise coupled  with serious property damage which might well interdict future Iranian atomic  development and certainly serve as a serious warning to Iran not to threaten  Israel again. Using Georgian bases, with the consent and full assistance of, the  United States, would make such an attack much more feasible that attempting to  fly from Israeli bases with overflights that might have serious regional  diplomatic consequences.

Now, thanks to the irrational actions of the  thoroughly unstable Georgian president, all of these schemes have collapsed and  it is now believed that the Russian special forces have captured, intact, a  number of the Israeli drones and, far more important, their radio controlling  equipment.

In the main, Israeli military and intelligence units  stationed in Georgia were mostly composed of Israel Defense Force reservists  working for Global CST, owned by Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, and Defense Shield, owned  by Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch. "The Israelis should be proud of themselves for the  Israeli training and education received by the Georgian soldiers," Georgian  Minister Temur Yakobashvili.

By this manner, Israel could claim that it  had a very small number of IDF people in Georgia "mainly connected with our  Embassy in Tiblisi." The Russians, however, were not fooled by this and their  own intelligence had pinpointed Israeli surveillance bases and when they went  after the Georgians who invaded South Ossetia, units of the Russian air force  bombed the Israeli bases in central Georgia and in the area of the capital,  Tbilisi. They also severely damaged the runways and service areas of the two  Georgian airbases designed to launch Israeli sir force units in a sudden attack  on Iran.

Israel is currently a part of the Anglo-American military axis,  which cooperates with the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East  and Central Asia.

Israel is a partner in the Baku-Tblisi- Ceyhan  pipeline which brings oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean. More than 20  percent of Israeli oil is imported from Azerbaijan, of which a large share  transits through the BTC pipeline. Controlled by British Petroleum, the BTC  pipeline has dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean  and the Caucusus:

"[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of  the region’s countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken the  pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has practically set up a new bloc with  Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)

While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel oil  to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the oil from  the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards Israel, via Georgia. In this  regard, an Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has also been envisaged which would  link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel’s main  pipeline system, to the Red Sea.

The objective of Israel is not only to  acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key  role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red  Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea  oil are far-reaching

What has been planned, is to link the BTC pipeline  to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline,  from Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon.

The Isreali unmanned  surveillance drones

The unmanned Israeli clandestine surveillance  drones are a favorite of intelligence agencies world-wide. Their most popular  drone is the Hermes 450 drone aircraft.

The Hermes 450 is a large,  capable 450 kg spy drone manufactured by Elbit Systems of Israel. Able to stay  airborne for a maximum of 20 hours, it has a 10.5 metre wingspan and is 6.1  metres long. It can carry a variety of different surveillance packages,  including the CoMPASS (Compact Multi-Purpose Advanced Stabilised System), which  is a combined laser marker and infrared scanner.

Elbit also offers  Hermes with the AN/ZPQ-1 TESAR (Tactical Endurance Synthetic Aperture Radar)  from Northrop Grumman of the US, a ground-sweeping radar which can detect  objects as small as one foot in size and pick out those which are moving from  those which aren’t. Radars of this type are essential for full bad weather  capability, and help a lot with scanning large areas of terrain. Electro-optical  scanners such as CoMPASS tend to offer a "drink-straw" view of only small areas  in detail. The TESAR is the same radar used in the hugely successful "Predator"  drone, in service for several years now with the US forces.

The U.S.  Army has a drone trainng school located at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, an  intelligence center located 10 miles from the Mexican border and the home of  massive telephonic intelligence intercept units, aimed at Central and South  America. At present there are 225 soldiers, reservists, and National Guardsmen  training at this school. And on the faculty are three Israeli specialists.   This unit is not destined for the middle east or even Pakistan; it has  been set up to conduct surveillance of northern Mexico. There are two reasons  for wanting to watch our southern neighbor. The first is to watch for great  treks of illegal aliens but the second, and most important, is to conduct  reconnaissance of territory over which American military units might be  traversing in any punitive actions that could very, very well be triggered by  the growing political instability in Mexico, caused by a growing struggle  between the central government and the very powerful Mexican-based drug lords,  who are wreaking havoc in that very corrupt country.

If a highly irate  CIA employee, complaining of "excessive Israeli influence" in his agency, had  not passed on files of information to the Russians late last year in Miami, in  all probability, we would be reading about a stunning Israeli attack on Tehran.  Now, the Iranian anti-aircraft missile batteries, supplied and manned by Russian  "technicians," have the probable coordinates of such an Israeli surprise attack,  from the north, which would give the defenses of Tehran a vital heads-up.

This is a tale of US expansion not Russian aggression

War in the  Caucasus is as much the product of an American imperial drive as local  conflicts. It’s likely to be a taste of things to come

August 14  2008 by Seumas Milne

The Guardian,

The outcome of six  grim days of bloodshed in the Caucasus has triggered an outpouring of the most  nauseating hypocrisy from western politicians and their captive media. As  talking heads thundered against Russian imperialism and brutal  disproportionality, US vice-president Dick Cheney, faithfully echoed by Gordon  Brown and David Miliband, declared that "Russian aggression must not go  unanswered". George Bush denounced Russia for having "invaded a sovereign  neighbouring state" and threatening "a democratic government". Such an action,  he insisted, "is unacceptable in the 21st century".

Could these by any  chance be the leaders of the same governments that in 2003 invaded and occupied  – along with Georgia, as luck would have it – the sovereign state of Iraq on a  false pretext at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives? Or even the two  governments that blocked a ceasefire in the summer of 2006 as Israel pulverised  Lebanon’s infrastructure and killed more than a thousand civilians in  retaliation for the capture or killing of five soldiers?

You’d be hard  put to recall after all the fury over Russian aggression that it was actually  Georgia that began the war last Thursday with an all-out attack on South Ossetia  to "restore constitutional order" – in other words, rule over an area it has  never controlled since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nor, amid the outrage  at Russian bombardments, have there been much more than the briefest references  to the atrocities committed by Georgian forces against citizens it claims as its  own in South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinvali. Several hundred civilians were killed  there by Georgian troops last week, along with Russian soldiers operating under  a 1990s peace agreement: "I saw a Georgian soldier throw a grenade into a  basement full of women and children," one Tskhinvali resident, Saramat  Tskhovredov, told reporters on Tuesday.

Might it be because Georgia is  what Jim Murphy, Britain’s minister for Europe, called a "small beautiful  democracy". Well it’s certainly small and beautiful, but both the current  president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and his predecessor came to power in  western-backed coups, the most recent prettified as a "Rose revolution".  Saakashvili was then initially rubber-stamped into office with 96% of the vote  before establishing what the International Crisis Group recently described as an  "increasingly authoritarian" government, violently cracking down on opposition  dissent and independent media last November. "Democratic" simply seems to mean  "pro-western" in these cases.

The long-running dispute over South Ossetia  – as well as Abkhazia, the other contested region of Georgia – is the inevitable  consequence of the breakup of the Soviet Union. As in the case of Yugoslavia,  minorities who were happy enough to live on either side of an internal boundary  that made little difference to their lives feel quite differently when they find  themselves on the wrong side of an international state border.

Such  problems would be hard enough to settle through negotiation in any  circumstances. But add in the tireless US promotion of Georgia as a pro-western,  anti-Russian forward base in the region, its efforts to bring Georgia into NATO,  the routing of a key Caspian oil pipeline through its territory aimed at  weakening Russia’s control of energy supplies, and the US-sponsored recognition  of the independence of Kosovo – whose status Russia had explicitly linked to  that of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – and conflict was only a matter of  time.

The CIA has in fact been closely involved in Georgia since the  Soviet collapse. But under the Bush administration, Georgia has become a fully  fledged US satellite. Georgia’s forces are armed and trained by the US and  Israel. It has the third-largest military contingent in Iraq – hence the US need  to airlift 800 of them back to fight the Russians at the weekend. Saakashvili’s  links with the neoconservatives in Washington are particularly close: the  lobbying firm headed by US Republican candidate John McCain’s top foreign policy  adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has been paid nearly $900,000 by the Georgian  government since 2004.

But underlying the conflict of the past week has  also been the Bush administration’s wider, explicit determination to enforce US  global hegemony and prevent any regional challenge, particularly from a  resurgent Russia. That aim was first spelled out when Cheney was defence  secretary under Bush’s father, but its full impact has only been felt as Russia  has begun to recover from the disintegration of the 1990s.

Over the past  decade, NATO’s relentless eastward expansion has brought the western military  alliance hard up against Russia’s borders and deep into former Soviet territory.  American military bases have spread across eastern Europe and central Asia, as  the US has helped install one anti-Russian client government after another  through a series of colour-coded revolutions. Now the Bush administration is  preparing to site a missile defence system in eastern Europe transparently  targeted at Russia.

By any sensible reckoning, this is not a story of  Russian aggression, but of US imperial expansion and ever tighter encirclement  of Russia by a potentially hostile power. That a stronger Russia has now used  the South Ossetian imbroglio to put a check on that expansion should hardly come  as a surprise. What is harder to work out is why Saakashvili launched last  week’s attack and whether he was given any encouragement by his friends in  Washington.

If so, it has spectacularly backfired, at savage human cost.  And despite Bush’s attempts to talk tough yesterday, the war has also exposed  the limits of US power in the region. As long as Georgia proper’s independence  is respected – best protected by opting for neutrality – that should be no bad  thing. Unipolar domination of the world has squeezed the space for genuine  self-determination and the return of some counterweight has to be welcome. But  the process of adjustment also brings huge dangers. If Georgia had been a member  of NATO, this week’s conflict would have risked a far sharper escalation. That  would be even more obvious in the case of Ukraine – which yesterday gave a  warning of the potential for future confrontation when its pro-western president  threatened to restrict the movement of Russian ships in and out of their Crimean  base in Sevastopol. As great power conflict returns, South Ossetia is likely to  be only a taste of things to come.

Six days that broke one country – and  reshaped the world order

August 16, 2008

by Ian Traynor

The Guardian

Pity Georgia’s bedraggled First Infantry  Brigade. And its Second. And its hapless Navy.

For the past few evenings  in the foothills of the Southern Caucasus on the outskirts of Joseph Stalin’s  hometown of Gori, reconnaissance units of Russia’s 58th Army have been raking  through the spoils of war at what was the Georgian Army’s pride and joy, a shiny  new military base inaugurated only last January for the First Infantry, the Army  Engineers, and an Artillery Brigade.

A couple of hours to the west, in  the town of Senaki, it’s the same picture. A flagship military base, home to the  Second Infantry Brigade, is in Russian hands. And down on the Black Sea coast,  the radars and installations for Georgia’s sole naval base at Poti have been  scrupulously pinpointed by the Russians and destroyed.

Gori and Senaki  are not ramshackle relics of the old Red Army of the type that litter the  landscape of eastern Europe. "These bases have only recently been upgraded to  NATO standard," said Matthew Clements, Eurasia analyst at Jane’s Information  Group. "They have been operationally targeted to seriously degrade the Georgian  military."

"There is a presence of our armed forces near Gori and  Senaki. We make no secret of it," said the general staff in Moscow. "They are  there to defuse an enormous arsenal of weapons and military hardware which have  been discovered in the vicinity of Gori and Senaki without any guard  whatsoever."

The "enormous arsenals" are American-made or  American-supplied. American money, know-how, planning, and equipment built these  bases as part of Washington’s drive to bring NATO membership to a small country  that is Russia’s underbelly.

The American "train and equip" mission for  the Georgian military is six years old. It has been destroyed in as many days.  And with it, Georgia’s NATO ambitions. "There are a few countries that will say  ‘told you so’" about the need to get Georgia into NATO," said Andrew Wilson,  Russia expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "But many more will  want to walk away from the problem. And for the next few years, Georgia will be  far too busy trying to pick itself up."

If Georgia and NATO are the  principal casualties of this week’s ruthless display of brute power by Vladimir  Putin, the consequences are bigger still, the fallout immense, if uncertain. The  regional and the global balance of power looks to have tilted, against the west  and in favour of the rising or resurgent players of the east.

In a  seminal speech in Munich last year, Putin confidently warned the west that he  would not tolerate the age of American hyperpower. Seven years in office at the  time and at the height of his powers, he delivered his most anti-western tirade


To an audience that included John McCain, the White  House contender, and Robert Gates, the US defence secretary and  ex-Kremlinologist, he served notice: "What is a unipolar world? It refers to one  type of situation, one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of  decision-making. It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. This  is pernicious … unacceptable … impossible."

This week, he turned  those words into action, demonstrating the limits of US power with his rout of  Georgia. His forces roamed at will along the roads of the Southern Caucasus,  beyond Russia’s borders for the first time since the disastrous Soviet  occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

As the Russian officers sat on  the American stockpiles of machine guns, ammunition, and equipment in Gori, they  were savouring a highly unusual scenario. Not since the Afghan war had the  Russians seized vast caches of US weaponry. "People are sick to the stomach in  Washington," said a former Pentagon official. And the Russians are giddy with  success.

Celebrating the biggest victory in eight years of what might be  termed Putinism, the dogged pursuit by whatever means to avenge a long period of  Russian humiliation and to deploy his limited range of levers – oil, gas, or  brute force – to make the world listen to Moscow, the Russian prime minister has  redrawn the geopolitical map.

In less than a week, Putin has invaded  another country, effectively partitioned Georgia in a lightning campaign,  weakened his arch-enemy, President Mikheil Saakashvili, divided the west, and  presented a fait accompli. The impact – locally, regionally, and globally – is  huge.

"The war in Georgia has put the European order in question," said  Alexander Rahr, one of Germany’s leading Russia experts and a Putin biographer.  "The times are past when you can punish Russia."

That seems to be the  view among leading European policymakers who have been scrambling all week to  arrange and shore up a fragile ceasefire, risking charges of appeasing the  Kremlin.

"Don’t ask us who’s good and who’s bad here," said Bernard  Kouchner, the French foreign minister, after shuttling between Tbilisi and  Moscow to try to halt the violence. "We shouldn’t make any moral judgments on  this war. Stopping the war, that’s what we’re interested in."

His boss,  President Nicolas Sarkozy, went to the Kremlin to negotiate a ceasefire and  parade as a peacemaker. Critics said he acted as Moscow’s messenger, noting  Putin’s terms then taking them to Tbilisi to persuade Saakashvili to capitulate.  Germany also refused to take sides while Italy warned against building an  "anti-Moscow coalition".

That contrasted with Gordon Brown’s and David  Milliband’s talk of Russian "aggression" and Condoleezza Rice’s arrival in  Tbilisi yesterday to rally "the free world behind a free Georgia".

The  effects of Putin’s coup are first felt locally and around Russia’s rim. "My view  is that the Russians, and I would say principally prime minister Putin, is  interested in reasserting Russia’s, not only Russia’s great power or superpower  status, but in reasserting Russia’s traditional spheres of influence," said  Gates. "My guess is that everyone is going to be looking at Russia through a  different set of lenses as we look ahead."

In Kiev certainly. Ukraine’s  pro-western prime minister, Viktor Yushchenko, Saaksahvili’s fellow  colour-revolutionary, is chastened and wary. His firebrand anti-Russian prime  minister, Yuliya Tymoshenko, has gone uncharacteristically quiet.

Invasion of the Ukraine?

"An invasion of Ukraine by  ‘peacekeeping tanks’ is just a question of time," wrote Aleksandr Sushko,  director of Kiev’s Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation. "Weimar Russia is  completing its transformation into something else. If Russia wins this war, a  new order will take shape in Europe which will have no place for Ukraine as a  sovereign state."

All around Russia’s rim, the former Soviet "captive  states" are trembling. Even Belarus, the slavishly loyal "last dictatorship in  Europe", went strangely silent, taking days before the regime offered Moscow its  support. "Everybody’s nervous," said Wilson.

The EU states of the Baltic  and Poland are drumming up support for Georgia, with the Polish president Lech  Kaczynski declaring that Russia has revealed "its true face". That divides the  EU since the French and the Germans refuse to take sides and are scornful of  east European "hysteria" towards Russia. Rahr in Berlin says the German and  French governments are striving to keep the Poles and the Baltic states well  away from any EU-led peace negotiations. It was the Germans and the French who,  in April, blunted George Bush’s drive to get Georgia into NATO. They will also  resist potential US moves to kick Russia out of the G8 or other international  bodies.

There are many who argue that Putin’s gamble will backfire, that  he has bitten off more than he can chew, that Russia remains weak, a "Saudi  Arabia with trees" in the words of Robert Hunter, the former US ambassador to  NATO.

Compared to the other rising powers of China, India or even Brazil  – the companions referred to as the BRIC – Russia does indeed appear weak. Its  economy struggles to develop goods or services, depends on raw material exports  and on European consumption and the price of oil for its current wealth.


But Putin’s talent is for playing a weak hand well,  maximising and concentrating his limited resources, and creating facts on the  ground while the west dithers.

"There is a lack of a clear and unified  European policy towards Russia," said Clements. In the crucial contest over  energy "the Russian strategy of keeping control of exports and supply is  outpacing any European response".

Putin may now calculate he can call  off the dogs of war, having achieved his aims and able to pocket his gains very  cheaply. The Georgia campaign becomes the triumphant climax of Putinism.

"In politics, it is very important to know one’s measure," wrote Aleksey  Arbatov, director of Moscow’s International Security Centre. "If Russia  continues to inflict strikes on Georgian territory, on facilities, on population  centres, we may lose the moral supremacy we have today."

But Wilson and  many in eastern Europe worry that rather than being the climax of Putinism, the  Russians in Georgia signal the start of something else. "This may not be a  culmination, but only step one," said Wilson. "If you don’t stop this kind of  behaviour, it escalates."       

It was the pro-Israeli  crowd in the Republican Party that pulled the old switcheroo and refocussed on  the Middle East rather than Eurasia. Now, powerful members of the US foreign  policy establishment (Brzezinski, Albright, Holbrooke) have regrouped behind the  populist "cardboard" presidential candidate Barak Obama and are preparing to  redirect America’s war efforts to the Asian theater. Obama offers voters a  choice of wars not a choice against war.


Strategic partnership between Israel and India


Volume 2, No. 2 – May 1998

By P.R.Kumaraswamy

Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's January 1992 decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel was partly influenced by potential security cooperation. The threats facing India and Israel are different but the rationales behind their arms modernization, buildup, or exports are similar.

Without outside help India's key defense projects would incur cost and time overruns and, even if completed, would likely be quickly obsolete. Likewise, without exporting its expertise or procuring external funding for its research, Israel's long-term plans are in jeopardy. U.S. aid has peaked and may well decline in the future.

The study argues that India and Israel could develop a strong, mutually beneficial security cooperation in which joint research, development, and production could be more attractive and profitable than arms sales alone.

I. Background: Indo-Israeli Political Relations

In September 1950 Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-64) granted de jure recognition to Israel. (1) A few months later Israel opened a trade office in Bombay which gradually became a consular mission and the first Israeli consul took over in June 1953. (2) Largely due to financial constraints and scarcity of personnel, India was reluctant to open a mission in Israel though when Israel's Foreign Ministry Director-General Walter Eytan visited India in early 1952, Nehru expressed his willingness to establish diplomatic relations.

But gradually a host of regional and international developments prevented any meaningful interaction and understanding between India and Israel. The 1956 Suez crisis and Nehru's new friendship with Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser inhibited progress. Indian leaders began to argue that "time is not ripe" for normalization. Its initial willingness and subsequent reluctance to establish relations remain one of the most controversial aspects of India's foreign policy.

Following his 1984 electoral victory, Rajiv Gandhi (1984-89) initiated a few contacts.(3) This process became an integral part of the pragmatic, non-ideological approach to foreign policy pursued by Narasimha Rao (1991-96). The Cold War's end, relaxation of international tension, willingness of Arab countries to negotiate peace with the Jewish state, and the Madrid peace process enabled Narasimha Rao to pursue a new policy toward Israel. The opening of embassies in late 1992 was followed by a study flow of political and commercial visits.

One cannot ignore security inputs into Rao's decision. The absence of diplomatic relations had not inhibited India from seeking Israeli assistance and obtaining limited quantities of small arms and ammunition during crises such as the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani wars in 1965 and 1971. (4) These weapons' military impact was marginal but signaled a certain shared security.

There was also prolonged cooperation between Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and its Israeli counterpart, Mossad. Such cooperation existed even when Indira Gandhi, generally considered unfriendly toward Israel, was Prime Minister (1966-77 and 1980-84). According to one account:

"RAW sent its personnel to Israel for specialized training and in late 1984, in the wake of Indira Gandhi's assassination, it also invited a senior Israeli security specialist to advise on the Prime Minister's security systems. RAW probably also buys electronic intelligence equipment from Israel."(5) Even when the political leadership was adopting a less than friendly policy toward Israel, a different trend prevailed in the Indian military/security establishment's professional appreciation of Israel's military expertise. Israel's military adventures and successes such as bombing the Osiraq nuclear reactor near Baghdad in 1981 and destruction of Syrian MiGs over Lebanon the following year were closely followed by the Indian security establishment. For instance, with MiGs constituting the backbone of the Indian air force, the decimation of Syrian MiGs in dog fights with no Israeli casualty, raised alarm bells. Tension in the air headquarters was further heightened by the U.S. decision around that time to supply F-16 fighters (proved successful in the Bekaa Valley operation) to Pakistan.

II. Mutual security concerns

Presently any Indo-Israeli security cooperation does not revolve around a common enemy. India is unlikely to share Israeli concerns over Iran and Islamic radicalism, nor Israel of India's concerns over China. Due to traditional political relations, geographic proximity, dependence on petroleum supplies and labor migration to the Middle East, India is unlikely to abandon its close ties with the Arab world. Indian Muslims have been sympathetic toward the Islamic countries and their perceived opposition significantly contributed to the prolonged absence of political relations between India and Israel.

The violence in Kashmir and periodic bomb blasts in various places throughout the country indicate India is not immune to Islamic radicalism. However at least in the foreseeable future, Islamic fundamentalism is likely to be a less salient international issue for India than for Israel. On the contrary for domestic as well as regional considerations, India would continue and consolidate cooperation with Iran, as a principal ally in countering Pakistan's anti-India campaign in the Islamic world. It also looks to Iran as a major transit route for economic relations with Central Asian republics.(6)

For its part, Israel is unlikely to abandon its two-decades'- old military ties with China to ameliorate Indian concerns.(7) Contrary to public expression of Israeli concerns over India's suspected nuclear cooperation with Iran, there are no indications to suggest that India has raised the Chinese issue during bilateral discussions.(8) This silence should not be taken as a sign of India's acquiescence or endorsement. Israel's involvement and participation in projects such as the F-10 fighter are bound to undermine India's long-term security interests. India is bound to view security-related dealings with apprehensions. Both India and Israel need to dilute their external security dependency.

Their dependence on Russia and the United States for weapons, technology and financial assistance, substantially undermines their political and diplomatic maneuverability. (9) Even commercial decisions such as purchase of civilian aircraft are subject to political pressures. For example, India's granting the MiG-21 upgrading contract to Russia. If technology is an impediment for India, limited domestic market is a major hurdle for Israel. While prevailing economic conditions prevent complete technological independence, a well-designed cooperation would significantly reduce their defense-related dependency upon Russia and the United States respectively.

It is essential to remember that military relations between India and Israel are unlikely to be a cash-and-carry affair. There is no cash in India and Israel does not have too many complete systems that India requires. Normalization came at a time when the Soviet Union's disintegration and the multiplicity of suppliers made India extremely vulnerable and any military confrontation at that period would have been disastrous.(10)

The position of the Israeli military industries is not encouraging either. The recession following cancellation of the Lavi fighter in 1987 continues and the dismissal of a third of the work force has not improved the situation.(11) Even after nearly $2 billion worth of sales (mostly exports) in 1997, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) had to depend on government assistance to pay its work forces' salaries. As the IDF orders dwindle, Israel's ability to economize production, develop special weapons, or continue research and development, are in jeopardy.

In short, neither side can generate enough internal sources to continue some of the sensitive and vital projects, nor do they enjoy a generous benefactor's largesse. This precarious situation ironically presents the best scope for a strategic partnership. It is essential for both countries to look for unconventional solutions to challenges and opportunities such as, the vast domestic Indian market, difficulties facing Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO, the prime force behind India's defense projects), India's great power aspirations, Israel's lead time in a number of areas and its need to reduce the unit cost of production through exports or external assistance.

III Areas of Cooperation

From visits and high level contacts reported in the media but rarely discussed by either governments, one can identify certain broad areas of security-related cooperation. They revolve around India's ambitious attempts to design, develop and produce major platforms. India is pursuing a number of special projects and has made significant progress in some of them. Western concerns over and determination to prevent exports of dual-use technologies and the Soviet Union's disintegration have exacerbated the importance of indigenous technological progress. India shares the view that Western concerns over non-proliferation is often a camouflage for sound commercial considerations.(12)

Defense-related research in India is conducted by the DRDO, which comprises of 50 laboratories and establishments spread across the country.(13) The approximate Indian equivalent of Israel's Rafael, it is involved in design and development activities "in a variety of disciplines such as aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, naval technology, rockets and missiles, computer sciences, electronics and instrumentation (including communication, radars and electronic warfare), artificial intelligence, robotics, engineering, terrain research, explosives safety, materials (metallic, non-metallic and composite), life sciences (including high altitude agriculture, high altitude and desert physiology, and food), nuclear medicine, psychology, camouflage, avalanche forecast and control, work study, systems analysis, training and information systems" (14) As a result the DRDO would be in the forefront of any security partnership between India and Israel.

A. Light Combat Aircraft

Developing a light combat aircraft (LCA) remains the most ambitious military program currently undertaken by the DRDO. The need for a new fighter aircraft cannot be overstated. As a middle- sized air power,, the desire to keep its defense requirements free from external pressures encouraged India to pursue the LCA option. With sufficient domestic market it need not depend on exports to economize the cost of production. For instance India currently has over 300 MiG-21s (including the 125 slated for upgrading) which would have to be replaced within a decade. In the post-Cold War era the cost of replacing these and other aging fleets with imports without generously low prices, has become prohibitive.(15)

With the declared intention of replacing the license-built Ajeet (British Gnat Mark I) and MiG-21 fighters by 1991, the DRDO launched the LCA program in 1983.(16) The launching coincided with India's eagerness to seek non-Soviet options for its military needs and to gradually reduce its dependence on Moscow for military supplies. Though not as acute as Israel's, lndia's dependence on a single supplier has been enormous and in certain key areas almost total. (17) The LCA has been projected as the most cost-effective and relatively inexpensive alternative for the air force in the early part of the next century. (18) The first technology demonstrator rolled out on 17 November 1995 and the first flight test is re-scheduled for late 1998 with steps having been taken "to accelerate pace of development, fabrication, flight testing and flight clearance leading to induction of LCA into the Indian Air Force by the year 2003."(19)

From the beginning, like many other projects, the LCA program has been plagued by technological and financial constraints. Having opted for technological independence, the DRDO found itself to be dependent on foreign technology for the LCA. According to some estimates as much as 70 percent of the LCA components are imported.(20) Delays in production schedule not only escalate costs but also add to the technological obsolescence of the finished product. If the present time table of 2005 is maintained there would be a time gap of 23 years since the project was conceived. The air force's preference for a modern aircraft over a local product modeled on earlier versions, partly contributed to the slow progress. India's decision to purchase multi-role combat aircraft from Russia in the wake of the Hank Brown amendment that enabled Pakistan acquire advanced weapons and platforms from the US, has put further pressures on the resources available for LCA. (21)

In numerous ways the difficulties confronting the LCA are not different from the hurdles that Israel endured in pursuing and eventually abandoning the Lavi project.(22) Doubts have been raised both inside and outside India over the wisdom of developing a complete system as important as a fighter aircraft. The government's inability to find regular and continuous funding has slowed down the project and even before the first test flight, the LCA project has cost about $600 million and has come under severe criticisms from the parliamentarians.(23)

Israeli experience would be particularly useful in areas such as avionics, airframes and incorporating engine and weapons into the airframe. A substantial portion of technologies developed during the Lavi phase is owned by Israel and can be easily exported to or shared with India.

B. Aircraft Upgrading

Upgrading the aging air force is linked to the LCA as India still would have to wait for nearly a decade before acquiring the first batch of LCA. Acquiring new aircraft would be costlier and such a move would further reduce the budget for LCA. As a result India signed a $400 million contract with Moscow for upgrading 125 MiG-21s and prolonging their life-span by 15 years. Although Israel lost the main MiG-21 BIS contract to the Russians, the upgrading market in India is still large and would involve at least over 100 later versions of the MiGs before the arrival of first LCA.

C. Missiles and Satellites

Launched in 1983, the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program is another ambitious yet relatively successful defense program currently being undertaken by the Indian defense establishment.(24) The program involves designing, development and production of five missile systems: Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni, battlefield support surface-to-surface missile Prithvi, short range surface-to-air missile Trishul, medium-range surface-to-air missile Akash and anti-tank missile Nag. (25)

The first stage of Agni is based on India's successes in satellite launching and the second stage is "a shortened Prithvi stage, modified for high-attitude operations." (26) Since its inaugural launch in May 1989, Agni had completed three successful test flights and following pressures from the United States the Indian government appeared to have quietly stopped the program. No Agni tests have been conducted since 1994. Adopting a missile-in-the-basement posture, Indian leaders noted that if a political decision were to be taken, Agni could be made operational within two years.

For its part, Israel has an impressive arsenal of indigenous missiles, including the ship-to-ship Gabriel, air-to-air Python, air-to-surface Popeye, and the surface-to-surface Jericho-I and IRBM Jericho-11. (27) They were developed and some even deployed before India began its guided missile development program in the early 1980s and hence they are more advanced and battle-tested.

For quite some time there were suggestions in Israel's media that foreign countries have expressed interest in purchasing Arrow missile technologies, and countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, South Korea and even UK were mentioned as potential clients. As a project substantially funded by the United States, such a move would not be easy and, in May 1996, Head of the Arrow Project in the Ministry of Defense Uzi Rubin disclosed that Israel and the United States had signed an agreement arranging "division of rights" on Arrow project.

This move is aimed at avoiding controversies that Israel had illegally and without authorization sold or transferred American technology to third parties such as China. In February 1997 the Indian media suggested that India was negotiating with Israel to purchase components and technology of Arrow and the issue was believed to have been discussed during the visit of a senior Ministry of Defense official earlier in the month.

The issue of UAVs and RPVs is closely related to the missile program. The DRDO began work on a pilotless target vehicle, Lakshya. Following launch trials in 1983, it is currently undergoing limited series production. Another aeronautical venture, Nishant RPV, made its first test flight in 1995 and was scheduled to be inducted into the army by late 1996/97.(28) However, production delays and technical snags led the army to look to Israeli-built Searchers to compensate for the delays. It is essential to remember that while Israel has been using and exporting UAVs/RPVs since 1982, India is a late entrant in the field.

If Israel has more experience and expertise in missiles and RPVS, India enjoys lead-time in space technology.(29) Established in the early 1950s, the Indian Space Research Organization has been primarily concerned with the civilian space program. The use of space technology for military purposes has been a recent phenomenon and the Agni missile is based on a successful civilian satellite launch vehicles.

D. Main Battle Tank (MBT)

For over two decades the DRDO has sought to design, develop and produce the Arjun battle tank. The design phase, completed in 1996, was 11 years behind schedule..(30) Finally, though, in June 1997 the army opted for 100 Arjun and the first tank is due in 2002. Besides Arjun, which would eventually replace 1,700 Vijayanta tanks, India is planning to upgrade a similar number of T-52 tanks. (31)

In all these four areas–LCA, aircraft upgrading, missiles and MBT–India is pursuing some of the most ambitious, expensive and technology-oriented programs ever undertaken by a developing country. If one adds the plan to launch a satellite by the year 2000 capable of placing a two-ton satellite in orbit, the ambitions of the DRDO are astronomical.(32)

Unlike the Lavi there is no foreign option for the Indian military establishment and it cannot argue that imports are possible and would be cheaper than indigenous endeavors. Even those not satisfied with the DRDO's projects, progress and achievements are unable to offer a cost-effective alternative. As such, these endeavors enjoy widespread political support inside the country and from the Communists on the Left to the Nationalists on the Right various political parties view them vital to national security.

The ambitions DRDO provide a real, meaningful long-term challenge and opportunity for Israel. But instead of looking India as a market for exports to subsidize its defense research and weapon development, Israel can exploit the opportunities provided by India's unprecedented quest for technology and modernization.

IV. Preconditions for Strategic Partnership

Any attempt to establish a strategic partnership between India and Israel, would have to address and meet at least some of the following preconditions.

A. Overcoming past blinkers

It is essential for both countries to adopt a realistic attitude towards security cooperation. Since the early 1920s India viewed Israel primarily through an Arab and Islamic prism. In so doing it failed to perceive the value of normalization with Israel in promoting its own interest in the Middle East. Though everyone is not happy with it, normalization ceased to be a contentious issue in India and even those parties such as Janata Dal which opposed the move in 1992 came to terms with the reality to endorse and encourage bilateral cooperation.

It is impossible for India to be immune to the vagaries of the peace process and its impact upon security cooperation. Even the most pro-Israeli government in New Delhi cannot remain indifferent to India's historical ties with the Arab world, its growing economic relations with the Middle East and domestic pressures to support the Arabs. Succumbing to the temptation of linking it to the peace process would however, severely undermine any strategic partnership with Israel. Furthermore, most of the joint cooperation in areas suggested in this study would materialize only in the early part of next century, long after the mid-1999 deadline set by the Oslo process.

For its part Israel still remains indifferent toward India and the latter draws media attention only in times natural calamities and disasters. Security cooperation with India hence requires, an Israeli ability to understand contemporary India and its willingness to recognize India's military potential and progress in defense research. Past stereotypes and romanticized understanding are great impediments to a better appreciation of each other's expertise and potential.

B. Joint Research and Production

The Indian market is not small. In the early 1990s its annual defense budget hovered around 2.5 percent of GDP and in 1996-97 the budget was close to $10 billion, of which five percent went to defense research. India is committed to increasing the indigenous content of defense equipment from 30 percent at present to 70 percent by 2005. India however does not have the financial resources for its enormous military needs and modernization programs. Its indecisive stand on acquiring Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) for over a decade and the time overruns faced by a number key projects such as LCA, MBT or MiG upgrading, are partly contributed by the military's inability to find sufficient and uninterrupted financial resources. Even the decision concerning MiG-21 upgrading was taken only after the air force resorted to cannibalization. As a result, in spite of the number of visits and regular contacts, Israeli exports to India are unlikely to be massive. Soviet/Russian inventories constitute a vast segment of the Indian inventories. Even it is able to find a willing supplier, India's financial ability to replace this dependency with non-Russian weapons is rather bleak. The indirect costs such as spare parts, training, repairs, over-hauling and organizational coordination would be gigantic.

Likewise the nature of Indian demands rules out Israel as a prime supplier in certain areas such as LCA where it is primarily concerned with designing and developing a platform. Another major arena that draws attention and funding is the development of Kaveri engines for the LCA. Israel's capabilities in exporting finished products are limited to Merkava, RPVs and missiles such as Gabriel, Python AAM, Jericho-I and 2, and Popeye. Among them Gabriel, Python and Popeye are attractive because India does not appear to be developing these types of missiles. Even if Israel is willing export, both Jericho missiles are an advanced version of the Prithvi and Agni missiles and hence are unlikely to be included in India's shopping list. The RPV is somewhat different. Pressing demands from the services coupled with production delays brighten prospects of importing a limited number of Israeli RPVs and UAVs, but substantial imports would be opposed by the DRDO as well by the parliamentarians.

Moreover, India's prolonged dependence upon Moscow for military supplies was largely influenced by attractive financial terms such as 'friendly prices', long payment schedule and barter and credit arrangements. Given the financial difficulties faced by Israeli military industries, such attractive financial terms are unrealistic.

A number of defense projects currently underway in India began in early 1980s when there was no serious threat to supplies. Coming after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that it refused to condemn, India was assured of continuous supply of advanced Soviet weapons, systems and platforms. Yet Mrs. Indira Gandhi consciously opted to produce main battle tanks, light combat aircraft and a series of guided missiles. If modernization and reduction of dependency on Moscow were the prime considerations she would have opted for imports and even dove-tailed some of her policies to suit Washington. These financially exorbitant, some might view prohibitive, projects are aimed at acquiring substantial technological experience and independence.

As such, in spite of time and cost overruns and technological impediments, India is unlikely to abandon its high profiled programs. Though undertaken without any external financial support, successful and early completion of a number of these projects would require an influx of foreign technology and expertise, an ideal condition for Israel. Technology and improvisation are not only in the realm of Israeli expertise, they also are available for export.

These three considerations — Indian drive for technological expertise and independence, its financial constraints and Israel's operational deficiencies — make joint research and development an attractive proposition. Facing similar challenges in a number of fields, both countries can coordinate and compliment their experience, expertise and demands. A number of on-going programs in India are not radically different from their Israeli counterparts including LCA (Lavi), Arjun (Merkava), Prithvi (Jericho-1) and Agni (Jericho-11). The same can be said about a number of other Indian programs such as UAV/RPV, airborne early-warning system, anti-ballistic missile system or cruise missile technology.

Irrespective of the ability of the DRDO to deliver the LCA by 2005, India would not be able to replace its entire fleet overnight and would have to upgrade the existing MiG fleet including MiG-21 as well as MiG-27 and MiG-29. One cannot be sure that Russia would again be chosen for such an endeavor. Instead of competing for the contract, it would be worthwhile for Elbit and IAI to explore the possibility of collaborating with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and jointly bid for the upgrading contract. Upgrading Soviet fighter aircraft is not alien to India. HAL has been a licensee producing, repairing, over-hauling, refurbishing and upgrading MiGs and, like Elbit and IAI, it unsuccessfully sought the MiG-21 contract. Given the high labor cost in Israel, a joint venture with the HAL would significantly reduce cost thereby making the offer financially attractive and competitive. Such joint ventures can also be extended to third- party contracts.

Factors such as access to more advanced Western technology, a pressing security situation and early commencement of research have given Israel technological superiority over India. A number of Israeli inventories have undergone substantial improvements and modernization based on the battlefield experiences of earlier models. For instance, Jericho-I was introduced in the early 1970s, nearly two decades before India's Prithvi. Merkava tank introduced in the late 1970s and since then had seen two additional models and likewise the fourth generation of Popeye is currently being used by Israel. Collaboration with Israel would thus significantly reduce time and cost overruns for India and enable it overcome some of the technical bottlenecks. Arjun could benefit from the battlefield experiences and competence of three generations of Merkava tanks.

Israel's success in maintaining a technological edge amidst growing Arab conventional and non-conventional power depends entirely on its ability to fund special projects. For a variety of reasons, commercialization of technology appears the only realistic alternative. With a shrinking defense budget, exploring collaborative ventures with India makes economic as well as strategic sense. Even if third-party exports are ruled out, India presents a large market for Israel. For instance, within the next decade India has to replace most of its over 2,000 MBTs and to upgrade and replace around 400 MiGs. When more advanced Western countries are pursuing joint ventures, it would be difficult for India or Israel to solely pursue vital programs.

C. The U.S. component

Even though it was consistently pressing India to move closer toward the Jewish State since 1948, one cannot be sure that Washington would completely endorse and encourage Indo-Israeli security cooperation. For strategic as well as commercial reasons, the United States is apprehensive of some of India's ambitious plans and at regular intervals sought to impose economic and political sanctions to slow down and even throttle some projects.

A strong security cooperation in areas underlined in this study especially in anti-missile, cruise missile or Lavi technology is bound to bring the United States into the picture. Some of them are transferred or funded by the United States and hence would be subject to end-user conditions. Having vehemently opposed the testing of Agni or the deployment of Prithvi, United States is unlikely to be indifferent over Israeli willingness to transfer its Jericho expertise. American criticisms of Israeli export of Lavi technology to China become hollow if it is indifferent toward similar ventures with India. The American ability to override sensitive Israeli commitments to India would be much larger than those exhibited over Russia's attempts to sell cryogenic engines in 1993. Political proximity has not immunized Israel from American displeasure and threats of sanctions.

Hence, Indo-Israeli security relations would have to be coordinated with the United States. Prior understanding and transparency with Washington becomes essential. Direct or indirect involvement of American companies in Indo-Israeli joint ventures might partially ease the situation.

D. Institutional Framework

As democracies, the political leadership in both countries confronts a host of pressing domestic and regional concerns which limit their attention in promoting bilateral security cooperation. The picture is further complicated by frequent political changes in India, which bad as many as four prime ministers during 1996-97. In the words of one Indian commentator, "At the political level, India remains tentative in seeking deeper cooperation with Israel. At the administrative level, the wheels of Government grind far too slowly for New Delhi to get its act together and generate a policy momentum in any direction."(33) For its part, Israel is primarily concerned about its relations with the United States and its immediate neighbors.

Establishing a non-political professional arrangement responsible for security partnership is essential for the elimination of some of the difficulties such as political instability, procrastination in decisionmaking, absence of continuity, bureaucratic entanglement and lack of professional input. Though the appointment of Defense Attache is a significant move, he would be confined to providing professional inputs and would have very little say in decisionmaking.

Hence it would be appropriate that both countries establish a permanent body headed by the Scientific Adviser to the Defense Ministry (India) and the Director-General of the Defense Ministry (Israel). (34)

From the very beginning it is essential that the Indian parties are informed of weapons requiring third-party clearance. Otherwise Israel would be raising false and unrealizable expectations. For instance during President Weizman's visit Israel offered to sell Kfir fighters to India and it was not clear whether Israel sought and obtained American permission before making this offer. If denied permission, Israel would have to sell less powerful version than the original offer.

Likewise any weapons or systems not used by the IDF are unlikely to find favors in India. For example, it would be difficult for IAI to sell Phalcon radar as the state-of-art system, when the IDF is reluctant to use it. In the long run overselling would be a bad strategy.

For its part, it is essential that India expedites the decision making process. Frequent personnel change and the web of bureaucracy greatly undermine the trust and confidence.

E. Greater circumspection

Premature disclosures have become a major operational impediment to Israeli arms exports, leading to controversies and even cancellation of certain deals. Likewise official or non-official portrayal of Indo-Israeli security cooperation being directed at third countries such as China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan or Syria would put severe pressures on bilateral relations. If the cooperation between the two non-Islamic countries is portrayed as a conspiracy against the Islamic world, even the most pro-Israeli government in New Delhi would find it difficult to endure domestic pressures to abandon securities ties with Israel.(35) While total blackout is not possible, military/security cooperation has to be handled with greater care. Though normalization ceased to be controversial, a sizable section of the population is not totally reconciled to the idea and vehemently opposes military cooperation.

V. Conclusion

The intense and diverse nature of contacts since 1992 indicate that prolonged absence of political relations has not inhibited India and Israel from seeking security cooperation. Largely revolving around the air force, they cover areas such as intelligence cooperation, naval patrol and anti-terrorism. They however share the common objective of seeking technological independence and qualitative superiority. The success of numerous strategic programs currently undertaken by both countries provide the best possible framework for strategic partnership.


1. P. R. Kumaraswamy, "India's recognition of Israel, September 1950", Middle Eastern Studies, (London), vol. 3 1, No. 1, January 1995, pp. 124-13 8.

2. In spite of the junior position and non-diplomatic status, the Israeli Consul often had direct access to the Indian prime ministers, a privilege normally not accorded even to accredited ambassadors resident in New Delhi. On other occasions however, his activities were confined to the State of Maharashtra of which Bombay is the capital.

3. P.R.Kumaraswamy, "India and Israel: Prelude to normalization", Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, (Villanova, PA) vol. 19, No.2, Winter 1995, pp.5 8-70.

4. A detailed and provocative discussion can be found in Subramaniam Swamy, "The secret friendship between India and Israel", Sunday,(Calcutta), 28 November 1982, pp. 18-24.

5. Manoj Joshi, "Changing equations: The coming together of India and Israel", Frontline, (Madras), 4 June 1993, p. 1 13. For a first-person account of Dayan's visit in August 1977 see, Moshe Dayan, Break-through, A Personal Account of the Egypt-Israel Peace Negotiations,(London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 198 1), pp.26-32.

6. P. R. Kumaraswamy, "The Strange Couple", Haaretz (Tel Aviv), 26 July 1995.

7. P.R.Kumaraswamy, "The star and the dragon: An overview of Israeli-PRC military relations", Issues and Studies (Taipei), vol. 30, No. 4, April 1994, pp.36-55; and "The military dimension of Israel-China relations", China Report (New Delhi), Vol. 31, No. 2, April-June 1995, pp. 235-42; and Bates Gill and Taeho Kim, China's Arms Acquisitions from Abroad. A Quest for 'Superb and Secret Weapons', (London: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp.81-86.

8. P. R. Kumaraswamy, "Israel-China military relations: India's red lines", Strategic Analysis, (New Delhi), vol. 1 8, No.6, September 1995, pp.781-792.

9. For an interesting discussion of Israel's dependency see, Klieman and Pedatzur, Rearming Israel.- Defense Procurement Through 1990s, (Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Post, 1991), pp. 139-202. For a background discussion on India's dependency see P.R.Chari, "Indo-Soviet military cooperation: A review", Asian Survey (Berkeley, CA), vol.19, No.3, March 1979, pp. 230-244; Jyotirmoy Banerjec, "Moscow's strategic link with New Delhi: An interim assessment", China Report, Vol. 19, No. 1, January 1983, pp.7-20; and J. Mohan Malik, "India copes with the Kremlin fall", Orbis, (Philadelphia, PA), vol.37, No. 1, Winter 1993, pp. 69-87.

10. For a narration of India's woes see, Shekhar Gupta, et al, "A middle-aged military machine", India Today, (New Delhi, international edition), 30 April 1993, pp. 22-31.

11. P.R.Kumaraswamy, "Israel's defense industries and recession: The economic cost of self-sufficiency", Strategic Analysis, Vol. 18, No. I 1, February 1996, pp. 1 523-43.

12. In a blatant use of non-proliferation concern for commercial consideration, the United States successfully blocked Russia's sale of cryogenic rocket technology to India. Initially General Dynamics offered to sell the engines but due to more attractive financial terms India opted for Russia. Shahid Alain, "Some implications of the aborted sale of Russian cryogenic rocket engines to India", Comparative Strategy, vol. 13, No.3, July-September 1994, pp.287-300; and P.R.Chari, Indo-Pak Nuclear Standoff. The Role of the United States, (New Delhi: Manohar, 1995), pp.63-67.

13. A comprehensive discussion can be found in Roy-Chaudhury, "Defense research and development in India", Asian Strategic Review, 1994-95, pp.223-55. See also Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, "Defense industries in India", Asian Strategic Review, 1993-94, (New Delhi: IDSA, 1994), pp.232-273,

14. Roy-Chaudhury, "Defense research and development in India", p.233.

15. It is estimated that the Su-30 that India is obtaining from Moscow "costs around $35 million as against the $1.1 million worth of MiG-21 that it will replace." Jasjit Singh and Swaran Singh, "Trends in defense expenditure", Asian Strategic Review, 1996-97, (New Delhi), p.55.

16. Eric Arnett, "Military Technology: The case of India", SIPRI Yearbook 1994, (London: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp.349-50; and Chris Smith, India's Ad hoc Arsenal. Direction or Drift in Defense Policy, (London: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 169-77.

17. For instance at the time of its disintegration the Soviet Union's share in the India's arsenal was extremely high and especially in air defense missiles (96 percent), submarines (85 percent), fighter and ground-attack aircraft (60 percent), fighters AD (85 percent) and Transport aircraft (70 percent). Sandy Gordon, "Australia's perspective on Indian Ocean", in Jasjit Singh, ed., Maritime Security, (New Delhi: IDSA, 1993), p.68. For Eastern Economic Review, 15 October 1992, p. 16.

18. Roy-Chaudhury, "Defense research and development in India", p.233. For technical details about the LCA see, Muhammed Ali Malik, "LCA: India's answer for a cost effective fighter", Defense Journal, reproduced in Strategic Digest, vol.26, No.10, October 1996, pp. 1500-6.

19. Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Defense (1996-97) of the Ministry of Defense, (New Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat, 1997), p. 10

20. Arnett, "Military technology", p.349.

21. In November 1996 India has signed a $1.7 billion deal with Moscow to supply 40 SU-30 MK multi-role fighter aircraft. Rajiv Nayan, "India purchases Sukhoi-30", Strategic Analysis, vol. 19, No. 12, March 1997, pp. 1759-1761.

22. For a first person account of the American attempts to the Lavi see, Dov S. Zakheim, Flight of the Lavi: Inside a U.S.-Israeli Crisis, (Washington: Brassey's, 1996). See also, Duncan L. Clarke and Alan S. Cohen, "The United States, Israel and the Lavi fighter", Middle East Journal, vol. 40, No. 1, Winter 1986, pp. 16-32.

23. Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Defense (1995-96), Ministry of Defense, (New Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat, 1995), pp. 19-22.

24. For serious and details discussion see, Timothy V. McCarthy, :India: Emerging missile power", in William C. Potter and Harlan W. Jencks, The International Missile Bazaar: The New Suppliers' Network, (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1994), pp.201-33; and Raj Chengappa, "The missile man", India Today, (International edition), 15 April 1994, pp.38-45.

25. Strategic Comments, January 1997; and Jane's Defense Weekly, 15 October 1997, p. 15.

26. McCarthy, "India", p.208.

27. Steinberg, "Israel: Case Study for International Missile Trade and Non-Proliferation", in. Potter and W. Jencks, The International Missile Bazaar, pp.235-53.

28. Roy-Chaudhury, "Defense research and development in India", p.235.

29. Gerald M. Steinberg, Dual Use Aspects of Commercial High-Resolution Imaging Satellites, (Ramat Gan: BESA Security and Policy Studies No.37, 1998), pp. 16-18. A detailed discussion on India's endeavors in space can be found in Mohan Sundara Rajan, India In Orbit, (New Delhi: Publications Division of Government of India, 1997).

30. Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Defense (1995-96), Ministry of Defense, (New Delhi: Lok Sabha Secretariat, 1995), pp.24-26.

31. Ibid. Because of the cost factor the army is more inclined towards T-72 which costs a third of Arjun. The Hindustan Times, 16 August 1996. Roy-Chaudhury, "Defense research and development in India", pp.237-8; and The Hindustan Times, 16 August 1996.

32. Ian Anthony, "The 'third tier' countries: Production of major weapons", in Herbert Wulf, Arms Industry Limited, (London: Oxford University Press, 1993), p.376. Furthermore in 1989 the DRDO found itself saddled with as many as 989 projects and out of them 618 were shelved following an intense review. This astronomical number of projects came under severe criticisms from the parliamentary committee on Defense. Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Defense (I 995-96), p. 10

33. C. Raja Mohan, "A source of high technology", The Hindu (Chennai), 22 July 1997.

34. David Ivry who held the post for a decade is presently a special adviser to the Defense Minister and likewise the Indian government still utilizes the services of Abdul Kalam's predecessor V. S. Arunachlam.

35. One such portrayal of conspiracy can be found in Muhammad Hamid, Tize Unholy Alliance: Indo-Israeli Collaboration Against the Muslim World, (Lahore: Islamic Book Center, 1978).

Dr. P.R.Kumaraswamy is a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. The author is grateful to the BESA Center for Strategic Studies for its support for this study.

Israel suspends missile defense deal with Venezuela

Israel suspends missile defense deal with Venezuela under pressure from U.S. / Israel focuses on upgraded air refueling capability for long-range, deep-strike missions (GeoStrategy-Direct) MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 1 December 2006)


TEL AVIV ? U.S. pressure has forced Israel to freeze military projects for Venezuela worth more than $50 million. Sources said the Bush administration has determined that

Germany sells Israel nuclear submarines

The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel’s fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported…Israel is believed to have the world’s sixth-largest stockpile of atomic arms, including hundreds of warheads.

Israel buys 2 nuclear-capable submarines

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 25,2006 4:52 AM ET
JERUSALEM – With the purchase of two more German-made Dolphin submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads, military experts say Israel is sending a clear message to Iran that it can strike back if attacked by nuclear weapons.
The purchases come at a time when Iran is refusing to bow to growing Western demands to halt its nuclear program, and after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel’s fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defense analyst.

Israel is already believed to have that ability in the form of the Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, which are buried so far underground they would survive a nuclear strike, he said.
"The Iranians would be very foolish if they attacked Israel," Beaver said.
German officials have said the contract for the new submarines was signed July 6, and the Jerusalem Post reported this week the subs will be operational shortly. Israel, operating on a policy of nuclear ambiguity, has never confirmed or denied whether it has nuclear weapons. It is believed, however, to have the world’s sixth-largest stockpile of atomic arms, including hundreds of warheads. Iran so far has resisted calls by the U.N. Security Council to halt uranium enrichment, which can produce, among other things, the material for atomic bombs. The council set an Aug. 31 deadline that is accompanied by the threat of sanctions. The dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program revolves around Iran’s insistence it wants to master the technology simply to generate electricity. Critics say Iran wants to make nuclear weapons.
The Dolphin submarine could be one of the best deterrents, Beaver said. The technology on the subs makes them undetectable and gives them defensive capabilities in the case of attack, he said.
"They are very well-built, very well-prepared, lots of interesting equipment, one of the best conventional submarines available," Beaver said. "We are talking about a third string of deterrence capabilities."
Michael Karpin, an expert on Israel’s atomic weapons capabilities who published a book on the issue in the United States, said nuclear-armed submarines provide better second-strike capabilities than missiles launched from airplanes.
"Planes are vulnerable, unlike nuclear (armed) submarines that can operate for an almost unlimited amount of time without being struck," Karpin said. "Second-strike capabilities are a crucial element in any nuclear conflict."
In Germany, members of two opposition parties criticized the deal. Winfried Nachtwei, national security spokesman for the Greens, said the decision was wrong because Germany had obtained no guarantee the submarines would not be used to carry nuclear weapons.
"This red line should not be crossed," Nachtwei was quoted as saying by the newspaper Taz. "Otherwise it is a complete renunciation of Germany’s policy of non-proliferation."
David Menashri, an Israeli expert on Iran, said Tehran is clearly determined to obtain nuclear weapons and "the purchase of additional Dolphin submarines by Israel is a small footnote in this context."
What also makes Tehran dangerous, Beaver said, is that it may not understand the consequences of carrying out a nuclear strike.
"They (Iran) have a belligerent leadership and that’s why Israel is prudent in ensuring that it has that deterrent capability," Beaver said. "What they (the submarines) are is a very good insurance policy."
from Yahoo! News

Israeli firm tried to smuggle drones to China

The police and the Defense Ministry are conducting an investigation into suspicions that an Israeli company sought to smuggle defense-related reconnaissance drones to China.

Mon., May 22, 2006 Iyyar 24, 5766 | | Israel Time: 17:15 (EST+7) Ha’aretz

Last update – 17:04 22/05/2006

Probe: Israeli firm tried to smuggle drones to China

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

The police and the Defense Ministry are conducting an investigation into suspicions that an Israeli company sought to smuggle defense-related reconnaissance drones to China.

The company under investigation, Amit, manufactures Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) for reconnaissance purposes.

Police detectives searched the company’s factory, accompanied by the firm’s owner and his attorney.

Police later questioned the owner as well as employees of the plant, based in Kadima in the Sharon district of central Israel.

The company and its owner are suspected of having transferred an RPV to a foreign nation, ostensibly for the purpose of displaying it at a weapons show. The transfer was allegedly carried out without a permit from the Defense Ministry.

Police suspect that the RPV was ultimately intended to be shipped to China, along with additional RPVs produced by Amit.

The deal under investigation was in the range of several million dollars.

In 2002, Amit signed signed an agreement with a firm in the foreign nation for joint development of an RPV. The internal security chief of the Defense Ministry suspected that the intended goal of the RPVs was China.

Ensuing checks led to a joint investigation of the Defense Ministry, the police national fraud squad and customs officials.

The issue of security imports to China is of particular sensitivity. In recent years, there have been revelations of RPV export to China without the permission from the United States.

The matter prompted a crisis in relations with the United States, and in its wake, it was decided to establish a special branch within the Defense Ministry for defense exports.

Until recently, the Amit company employed some 60 workers, selling its products to Europe and South America.

Following the investigation, however, the number of workers dropped to 20, and the Defense Ministry rescinded the permits which had allowed the company to conduct sales negotiations and to export defense-related equipment.

Israel, Croatia sign $80 million arms deal


RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 31, 99-02-15

Croatian Defense Minister Pavao Miljavac and Israel’s Moshe Arens signed a military cooperation agreement in Tel Aviv on 15 February. Unnamed Israeli officials told AP that the deal is worth at least $80 million and possibly as much as $120 million, "depending on which options Croatia chooses." He did not elaborate. The deal will enable Elbit Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries to modernize Croatia aging MiG-21 aircraft (see "RFE/RL Newsline, " 4 February 1999). Israeli critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Croatia has failed to confront its fascist legacy from World War II and that the Israeli government is "cynical" for making a deal with Zagreb. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the government has accepted President Franjo Tudjman’s apology for some allegedly anti-Semitic remarks. The spokesman added that "Israel…sees no difference between Croatia’s relations with Israel and its relations with the rest of the world." PM