Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Israel Alone?

Israel is building its own defense against mortars and rockets. That's odd, since a US defense is available off-the-shelf. There may be a hidden US arms embargo here - if so, the consequences will be terrible.

Palestinians have fired over 100 Kassam rockets into Israel since their "cease fire" and Israel is developing its own defense:
The system under consideration is based on two anti- missile systems being developed by Rafael: one involving a solid laser that will have the ability to intercept Kassams in mid-air, the other a small and cheap anti-rocket missile with a kinetic warhead...

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cabinet...will need to allocate additional funds to the defense budget to pay for the development of the system.
The Israelis are great weapons engineers, but even they will take over a year to build and deploy a system. Waiting for a solution is odd, since a solution - as previously noted - is readily available:
The U.S. Army has seen rocket and mortar casualty rates drop “to nearly zero” where its Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar Program (C-RAM) system has been deployed, says the manufacturer, and now the service plans to buy more.

On Jan. 16, Northrop Grumman’s Tactical Systems Division received a $78 million follow-on contract to continue systems engineering, integration and installation for the C-RAM program. Deployed last year in Iraq and elsewhere, the system uses sensors and radar to warn U.S. and coalition troops about incoming mortar rounds and rockets...

The C-RAM can detect a weapon firing “tens of kilometers” away, and quickly figure out where the munition will land...
C-RAM, in combination with automatic 20mm cannon, provides effective protection of Baghdad's Green Zone and other US bases.

It's possible this is just Israeli NIH, but that's unlikely - Israel has plenty of other weapons to spend its money on.

So maybe the Israeli cabinet faces a covert US arms embargo now that State is back in control. For sure the Israelis can have no confidence in Ms Rice's attempts to force them to talk to the Palestinians.

If the US has embargoed Israel, it has pretty well guaranteed that the next Mideast war will be nuclear.