Showing posts with label Israel and Gaza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel and Gaza. Show all posts

9 February 2019

Israel Boosts Protection Of Gas Fields, Shipping


TEL AVIV: With over 80 percent of Israeli’s commerce carried by sea and its offshore gas fields crucial to the economy, the country is boosting spending on protecting its shipping lanes, littorals and ports with an array of weapons including underwater capabilities, heavily armed patrol boats and new submarines.

Hezbollah sees the large natural gas reservoirs and the rigs that probe them in the Mediterranean as potential targets and this puts heavy pressure on the Israeli navy to safeguard them.

David Ben–Bassat, former commander of the Israeli navy, told Breaking Defense that after Israel declared its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the maritime arena became very important and very complicated. “The navy’s task is to protect the Israeli interests in the EEZ. The protection is being performed now by the Israeli navy’s Sa’ar 5 missile boats, by autonomous boats carrying weapon stations and by UAS [drones] patrolling the EEZ to try and detect any developing hostility.”

5 February 2019

Iran's multi-front approach in the war against Israel

Yochanan Visser,

The threat Iran poses to Israel is well known and is taken seriously by everyone in the Jewish state, first and foremost by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

This threat is not limited to the so-called Iranian proxies, the terrorist organizations in Lebanon, Gaza and the territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority, or the Iranian activities in Syria, but also appears in other areas.

First, there is the Iranian nuclear threat which allegedly has decreased since the so-called JCPOA, the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, was negotiated.

Officially, Iran fulfills its obligations under the agreement which was implemented in the first months of 2016. The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicates the Islamic Republic adheres to the terms of the agreement.

27 January 2019

Israeli Strikes in Syria Reveal New Battlefield for Post-Civil War Era

Seth Frantzman

Airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria on Sunday and Monday revealed a new Syrian battlefield that is emerging as the Syrian civil war ends and the US prepares to withdraw.

For eight years, since the Syrian rebellion began in 2011, Syria has been the center of great power politics, and an attempt by various forces to control the region through proxies in the conflict. It also became a battlefield between different ideologies, and quests for autonomy amid the chaos and the rise of Islamic State. Now that era is drawing to a close and a new battlefield shift is taking place.

The Syrian conflict went through several phases over the greater part of the last decade. What began as a conflict between revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the regime, and reactionaries who sought to keep the Assad family in power, degenerated into a series of different conflicts and contests for who would control the country. Great and regional powers, such as the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey all sought a role in Syria. They did so often through backing local forces or proxies.

23 January 2019

Israel’s New Global Strategy – Analysis

By Modern Diplomacy

If we want to study Israel’s political and military positions, we must at first analyse Syria.

For Israel the problem in Syria is Russia, although it is apparently Iran.

In fact, one of the de-escalation areas is in the Golan Heights and certainly the Jewish State does not like that Iran and Hezbollah can easily and quietly operate in the Golan area, even without warlike acts but under the protection of Russia, which is also the guarantor of the whole area.

In particular, the Israeli government wants the Russian Federation to never intervene in favour of Iran.

However, if Iran and the Shiite forces leave Syria, Russia’s control to ensure Syrian stability will weaken and probably even crumble.

21 January 2019

Why Israel’s Upcoming Election Is a Show About Nothing

Avner Inbar

JERUSALEM—In three months, Israelis will head to the polls in what may become one of the most sensational yet least significant elections in their country’s recent memory. The race is already generating ample drama, with political parties forming and breaking up on what seems like an almost daily basis. But the always entertaining horse-race coverage belies a hopelessly stagnant political system, and a public discourse disinterested in policy and ideas. 

The contest will not be between different ideological approaches or policy solutions to Israel’s mounting problems, but between a few prominent figures who run political parties like private businesses and conduct themselves like media celebrities rather than public leaders. At the end of a heated and nasty campaign, one of them will carry the day. And it will almost assuredly be Benjamin Netanyahu.

20 January 2019

Israel’s Nuclear Weapons: The Worst-Kept Military Secret on the Planet

by Robert Farley

If a hostile power (let’s say Iran, for sake of discussion) appeared to be on the verge of mating nuclear devices with the systems needed to deliver them, Israel might well consider a preventive nuclear attack

Key point: There is no question that Israel could consider using its most powerful weapons if the conventional balance tipped decisively out of its favor.

Israel’s nuclear arsenal is the worst-kept secret in international relations. Since the 1970s, Israel has maintained a nuclear deterrent in order to maintain a favorable balance of power with its neighbors. Apart from some worrying moments during the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli government has never seriously considered using those weapons.

The most obvious scenario for Israel to use nuclear weapons would be in response to a foreign nuclear attack. Israel’s missile defenses, air defenses, and delivery systems are far too sophisticated to imagine a scenario in which any country other than one of the major nuclear powers could manage a disarming first strike. Consequently, any attacker is certain to endure massive retaliation, in short order. Israel’s goals would be to destroy the military capacity of the enemy (let’s say Iran, for sake of discussion) and also send a message that any nuclear attack against Israel would be met with catastrophic, unimaginable retaliation.

15 December 2018

Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success

When Ofir Schlam, the co-founder of Taranis, an Israeli agriculture tech start-up, was growing up on a farm in Israel, he would regularly wake at 5am to search through the crop for the tiniest caterpillars, pests and rot. Years later, when he joined the military and was attached to the prime minister’s office, he adapted that skillset to analyse thousands of surveillance images, looking for the smallest anomaly. 

One of his key senior executives at Taranis, Amihay Gornik, developed his expertise working at large aerospace companies, designing imaging parts for military drones. He figured out a way to make a fast-moving camera think it was standing still by nestling it inside a proprietary pod he had fitted with a gyroscope, which helped cancel out vibrations and resulted in less blur. 

27 November 2018

Six Days, Fifty Years: The June 1967 War and its Aftermath

Editors: Anat Kurz, Kobi Michael, Gabi Siboni

The Institute for National Security Studies, November 2018

The Six Day War, which broke out on the morning of June 5, 1967, was a formative event that changed the face of the State of Israel and, to a large extent, the entire Middle East. Prior to the war, Israel had been under existential threat and in six days, the Israel Defense Forces succeeded in removing the threat by achieving a decisive military victory and positioning Israel as a significant force in the region. This victory was accompanied by new complexities, and fifty years after the war, some of its implications still remain as heavy dilemmas, which the Israeli public and the state institutions must address. Five decades later, the events directly related to the war and its loni-term implications can be examined more broadly and more rationally than was possible in the period immediately after the war. The study of the past and the drawing of insights from the war and its results enable us to analyze the complex security, political, and social challenges currently facini the State of Israel, as well as assess those inherent in future scenarios. On the fiftieth anniversary of the war, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) chose to publish this book devoted to the war and its lessons, which was written by researchers from the institute and outside of it. Together these articles present a comprehensive and in-depth picture of the Six Day War, its results, and its implications.

Fifty Years since the Six Day War: A Retrospective

25 November 2018

Hezbollah Took a Gamble in Syria, Raising the Stakes for Israel

Hezbollah has taken risks in fighting for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, but those risks are paying off. Israel, however, is on the losing end of this gamble. F 

With the Syrian civil war entering its final phase, the conditions are in place for a conflict between Hezbollah and Israel that neither side wants. As Hezbollah fighters begin making their way home after a costly but apparently successful effort to help save the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there are growing signs that the status quo is about to change. 

The Israelis, whose attention is sharply focused on Hezbollah and Iranian installations along Israel’s border with Syria, are becoming increasingly concerned with Lebanon. The most recent war between Hezbollah and Israel ended in a stalemate in 2006. Israel officials believe that since then Hezbollah has stockpiled about 150,000 rockets, enough to hit every house in Israel. There is little doubt on either side of the border that another war will erupt.

War between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon may not be imminent, but it is extremely likely sometime down the line. Now that Assad’s survival is essentially assured, with Hezbollah and Iran regrouping, the outlines are emerging for a new conflict between Hezbollah, battle-hardened by its experience in Syria, and Iran, bolstered by the survival of its crucial Syrian ally, against Israel, determined to prevent them from further fortifying their positions along its border. 

24 November 2018

What Drives Israel’s Startup Success?

In October the business press reported that Israeli cybertech startup Sygnia was acquired by Singapore’s billion-dollar Temasek Holdings for an estimated $250 million. The return for the owners is over 50 times the initial investment, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. And last year, the Israeli company Mobileye, a pioneer in autonomous car technology, was purchased by Intel for a whopping $15.3 billion.

Tech startups may not be the first thing that comes to mind when many people think of Israel — the country’s political strife is what makes headlines. But Israel’s achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship are remarkable by any measure for a tiny, embattled nation of 8.8 million people that has only existed for 70 years.

At the recent Wharton Israel Conference, speakers and participants highlighted Israel’s contributions to technology, science, medicine and agriculture, as well as its entrepreneurial spirit which they said helps transform discoveries into real-world solutions.

22 November 2018

Why Israel Doesn’t Want A War With Gaza

By Mudar Zahran

The Israeli people are rarely as angry with their political leadership as they are today – and the reason for their anger is clear: they believe that their leadership has failed to take decisive military action against the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

As witnessed by the world a few days ago, Hamas began shooting rockets at southern Israeli towns and villages. In total, more than 500 rockets were launched, and in response, Israel undertook very precise, decisive and surgical military air strikes, hitting some of Hamas’s most significant facilities and military installations.

This brought about a very quick cease-fire, a cease-fire that has come as a disappointment for many Israelis – especially those who bore the brunt of the attacks. Apparently, the Israeli public wanted military actions that would either annihilate Hamas, or, at least, serve as a deterrent that would force it to stop shooting rockets into Israel.

20 November 2018

How Hamas Brought Israel to the Brink of Election Chaos

by Seth J. Frantzman

Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned on November 14 in the wake of a ceasefire agreement with Hamas in Gaza. His resignation has now plunged Israeli politics into chaos as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must juggle what’s left of his fragile coalition government and is being pressured to appoint Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, as the new defense minister. Hamas, which has been challenging Israel with six months of protests and rocket fire from Gaza, has now achieved what it sees as a victory. Despite its inability to penetrate Israel’s defenses around Gaza, it may bring down the government.

13 November 2018

Israel and the Trillion-Dollar 2005-2018 US Intelligence Budget

by Grant Smith 

The American public and think tank analysts are not supposed to know precisely how billions in taxpayer dollars flowing into the intelligence community are spent. Even the best plead ignorance. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy commenting on huge budget increases told the Washington Examiner, "What exactly that signifies, it’s hard to say. Are there new program leads? Are there new acquisitions? It could be new operations or collection programs. We don’t know and we’re not supposed to know."

Israel is one undeniably large factor behind spending surges since 2005. Israel successfully demanded enormous increases in joint U.S.-Israeli cyber warfare expenditures and benefited from related U.S. contingency planning. Due to onerous secrecy, Americans remain unable to engage in informed public debate about whether what amounts to US subjugation to the Israeli prerogatives driving these massive expenditures should continue.

8 November 2018

Israel’s Next Northern War: Operational and Legal Challenges

By Michael Hostage & Geoffrey Corn

Hezbollah has threatened Israel’s northern border for decades. Today, however, the nature of this threat has become dire, and the risks of escalation real, as Iran continues supplying Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon with game-changing weapons to devastate the Israeli homeland.

When the next conflict erupts between Israel and Hezbollah, its scale and intensity will bear little resemblance to those of recent memory. Hezbollah today is highly competent, adaptable and lethal. Its forces have gained invaluable battlefield experience in Syria and amassed more weaponry than 95 percent of the world’s conventional militaries, including at least 120,000 rockets and missiles. This is more than all of Europe’s NATO members combined, and ten times as many as when it last went to war with Israel in 2006.

Especially troubling is Hezbollah’s growing arsenal of powerful long-range precision missiles capable of striking targets throughout Israel. Unlike in recent conflicts, Israel’s missile defenses will be incapable of shielding the nation from such a threat. From the outset of conflict, Hezbollah will be able to sustain a launch rate of more than 3,000 missiles per day – as many as Israel faced in the entire 34-day conflict in 2006.

6 November 2018

Israel Silent As Iran Hit

The Times Of Israel (ToI) is reporting late today (Oct. 31, 2018) that the Government of Israel is remaining silent, as a computer virus more lethal and damaging than the Stuxnet virus/malware is hitting Iran’s critical infrastructure and strategic networks. The ToI report adds that the cyber attack began within the past few days, noting that the malware is similar to Stuxnet, but “more violent, more advanced, and more sophisticated.”

“The report comes hours after Israel said its Mossad intelligence agency had thwarted an Iranian assassination plot in Denmark, and two days after Iran acknowledged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s mobile phone had been bugged. As the ToI notes, this report “follows a string of Israeli intelligence coups against Iran, including the extraction from Tehran in January by the Mossad of the contents of a [highly secretive] vast archive documenting Iran’s [clandestine] nuclear weapons program; and, the detailing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.N. in September of other alleged Iranian nuclear and missile assets in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.”

18 October 2018

What Is a Rogue State?

by Paul R. Pillar

The concept of a rogue state (or outlaw state, or any equivalent term) cannot just refer to a state pursuing interests that we do not happen to like or do not identify with. States must be expected to pursue their interests, and every state on the globe has at least some interests that differ from those of the United States. Rather, rogue or outlaw behavior has to do with how a state pursues its interests. To be a “rogue” means pursuit through methods contrary to accepted standards of international behavior and contrary to international law. It means cheating or reneging. It often means the use of violent methods when peaceful ones are available.

17 October 2018

US-Israel Relations: A Return of Agency

U.S. and Israeli interests have diverged since the Cold War ended, but they are now bending back toward a similar path. 

From March to November 2017, Gallup conducted an annual worldwide opinion poll on the leadership of the United States. Some like the direction the U.S. is heading, some don’t, but in four of the 134 countries surveyed the U.S. approval rating rose by a whopping 10 percent compared to the previous year – Liberia, Macedonia, Belarus and Israel. That Israel was included attests to how starkly U.S.-Israel relations have changed under the administration of Donald Trump. Before he became president, bilateral ties seemed on the verge of collapse. In 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Washington to lambast President Barack Obama in front of the U.S. Congress, practically begging the government not to move forward with the Iran nuclear deal – a plea that ultimately fell on deaf ears.

12 October 2018

Will Israel and Iran Go To War in Syria?

By Daniel Byman

Israel was dealt a bad hand when it comes to regional security, and Syria is the latest—and trickiest—card in the deck. On the one hand, the weakness of the Bashar al-Assad regime diminishes a leader whose country has never reconciled its past conflicts and territorial disputes with Israel and often proved a remorseless foe. On the other hand, Iran and Hezbollah are exploiting Syria’s instability, and Israelis fear the country will become a new launching pad for Iranian influence and attacks—essentially, another Lebanon. Ehud Yaari, a respected Israeli analyst, describes the risk of war between Iran and Israel in Syria as “almost inevitable.”

Geopolitics Keeps Pushing Turkey and Israel Back Together

Turkey and Israel's strategic alliance in the Middle East, fostered by their shared aim to limit Iran and prevent Arab states from aligning against them, will preserve their relationship through most external shocks. Intensifying U.S. efforts to find regional allies it can rely on to contain Iran helps keep the two countries together. Turkey's defense of Palestinian statehood will always be a caustic wedge between the two: While it provides Turkey with important credibility in the Muslim world, it conflicts with Israel’s defense strategy. 

11 October 2018

Israel’s War with Iran Is Inevitable

by Efraim Inbar

Iran is a formidable enemy. A large country of more than 80 million people, endowed with energy riches, it has always been a regional power. Having an imperial past and revolutionary zeal (since the 1979 Iranian Revolution), Iran nourishes ambitions to rule over the Middle East and beyond. Furthermore, theologically there is no place in Iranian thinking for a Jewish state. Iran believes that Israel will either wither away following military pressure on its population or be annihilated when it is militarily weak and vulnerable.