Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm so sick of windows.

* Guardian (via laura):
"The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources."
I'm so sick of windows.

* NYT:
"The power and sophistication of the missile and rocket arsenal that Hezbollah has used in recent days has caught the United States and Israel off guard, and officials in both countries are just now learning the extent to which the militant group has succeeded in getting weapons from Iran and Syria.

While the Bush administration has stated that cracking down on weapons proliferation is one of its top priorities, the arming of Hezbollah shows the blind spots of American and other Western intelligence services in assessing the threat, officials from across those governments said.

American and Israeli officials said the successful attack last Friday on an Israeli naval vessel was the strongest evidence to date of direct support by Iran to Hezbollah. The attack was carried out with a sophisticated antiship cruise missile, the C-802, an Iranian-made variant of the Chinese Silkworm, an American intelligence official said.
But neither Jerusalem nor Washington had any idea that Hezbollah had such a missile in its arsenal, the officials said, adding that the Israeli ship had not even activated its missile defense system because intelligence assessments had not identified a threat from such a radar-guided cruise missile.
* lind:
" (I question Israel’s claim that the weapon was a C-801 anti-ship missile, which should have sunk a small missile corvette)"

* lind:
"I think the stakes in the Israel-Hezbollah-Hamas war are significantly higher than most observers understand. If Hezbollah and Hamas win—and winning just means surviving, given that Israel’s objective is to destroy both entities—a powerful state will have suffered a new kind of defeat, again, a defeat across at least one international boundary and maybe two, depending on how one defines Gaza’s border. The balance between states and 4GW forces will be altered world-wide, and not to a trivial degree.
The critical question is whether the current fighting spreads region-wide. It is possible that Hezbollah attacked Israel not only to relieve the siege of Hamas in Gaza but also to pre-empt an Israeli strike on Iran. The current Iranian government is not disposed to sit passively like Saddam and await an Israeli or American attack. It may have given Hezbollah a green light in order to bog Israel down locally to the point where it would not also want war with Iran."


noise said...

A.Q. Khan. Black market weapons deals. Perle. Feith. Turkey. Cheney doing deals with IRAN & IRAQ. Rummy w/North Korea.

I'm sure the NYT is working on an expose as I type. Surely, they will connect all these dots.

lukery said...

you'd think.

i often think that the corpmedia deserves to get rounded up on RICO charges.

noise said...

This quote comes to mind: What is happening does not benefit 99.9 percent of Americans – just a very small elite."

Sibel Edmonds in a Deliso interview.

From the NYT article: While the Bush administration has stated that cracking down on weapons proliferation is one of its top priorities...

To be briskly followed by cracking down on war profiteering and reducing the military budget.

The whole thing seems to be about making sure everybody has enough weapons to keep the cycle of violence going until the economies crash and then the militaries can be used to protect the governments from the starving Korea as a model.

Don said...

Re: Lind's question of the missile used on the Israeli corvette. The C-802s launched (not the earlier model C-801) are in the same class, with a similar warhead, as the Exocet missiles that sank the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands campaign and disabled the USS Stark in '87.

The INS Hanit ("Spear"), a Sa'ar 5-class missile boat, has 1/3 of the Stark's displacement, 1/4 of the Sheffield's. I'm inclined to think if a C-802 hit her, she would have been toast.

That said, Bill Roggio at the Counterterrorism Blog was skeptical for another reason. The C-802 is radar-guided, but reports mention no emissions detected by the Hanit from the 2 missiles' onboard radar or from the ground launch vehicle. Nor were any radar signals reported picked up by orbitting Phalcon AWACS/ELINT aircraft, which would have detected the actual launches as well. Whether or not Israel expected Hezbollah to have the missiles, that's a big oversight for a military on war footing.

lukery said...

thnx Don.

"the Israeli ship had not even activated its missile defense system "
struck me as being absurd. it reminded me of Star Trek.

question: why on earth are they telling this story?

Don said...

From the WikiPedia entry on the Hanit linked above:

According the the Israeli Navy, the ship's sophisticated automatic missile defense system was intentionally disabled. This was done for two reasons, one, there were many Israeli Air Force aircraft conducting operations in the vicinity of the ship and it was feared that the system may accidently be triggered by a friendly aircraft, potentially shooting it down. Second, there was no intelligence pointing to the fact that such a sophisticated missile, roughly equivalent to the American Harpoon, was deployed in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

Reason one is vaguely plausible. The Sa'ar 5s use the Phalanx system for missile defence with a range of around 5-8 km. It doesn't recognize IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) transponders and has, on one occasion, accidentally engaged a friendly plane and shot it down. If the Hanit was 10 nautical miles off shore, plausibility here depends on the mission profiles of IDF/AF fighters and whether they would have been in range.

Reason two, on the other hand, reminds me of disbelief that terrorists would ever hijack an airliner. While they might not have known about antiship missiles, the Phalanx can be used for rocket defence, and they knew Hezbollah had rockets with 15+ mile ranges.

lukery said...

thnx don. i really don't know enough to comment.

the idea that these systems cant deal with IFF is remarkable.

1. do you buy the story that they didnt have the system activated?
2. do you buy the story that it was a C-802?
3. if not, why the lies?

if they are lying about these things, then i don't think i'd get on a boat outta lebanon.

Don said...

I'm just this side of buying that they didn't have the defence system activated, at least for the first of the two reasons. The Israelis are cagey about this stuff and new F-16s are more expensive than the A-6 the USN lost when a Phalanx on a Japanese destroyer accidentally shot it down in '96.

As to the second reason for turning it off, not so much. Israel's been on the tail end of several unpleasant surprises during this campaign because they became too reliant on their toys and too dismissive of Hezbollah's capabilities, but I'm leaning more and more towards the C-802 story being bullshit for several reasons beyond those noted above.

It reads like a new twist on the idea of man-portable SAMs taking down airliners, except that you're looking at a much more expensive weapon system than a $5-10,000 disposable missile launcher. For a target to be fired on from a certain distance, it has to be acquired by a radar with the requisite range (for this missile, 120 km). Hezbollah having an expensive piece of kit like that's a hard proposition to swallow, particularly if simply acquiring a target exposes the launcher. Also, while Iran can manufacture the missiles, they're pricey, too. With the neocons rattling sabres, how many of their own supply (est. 60-100 rounds plus mobile launchers) is Iran really going to want to donate for PR if a launcher (with 2-4 missiles) could potentially be taken out immediately after 1 use?

As for why they're telling the story, terrorists with guided antiship missiles that threaten shipping 70 miles offshore are a much bigger threat than those with unguided 50-mile rockets. Worse if they should fire them at sea from another boat (I'm just waiting for someone to suggest it).

After all, if this group of terrorists can get their hands on them... (da-da-da-DUM) [insert scary scenario here]

lukery said...

thnx mate.

i guess they are trying to do a funky dance - because they appear to be wanting to 'prove' that hezbollah is being supplied by iran - and yet they want to appear to be militarily superior to hezbollah

what a complex web we weave...