03 October 2008

Is the U.S. Helping Israel Prepare for War with Iran?

This is the headline Abe Greenwald of Commentary magazine has chosen for his post on the X-band radar US brought over to Israel to keep a closer watch on the missile launches in Iran. Some "technical" data courtesy of Yaakov Katz of JP:

The Raytheon Co.-built system can track an object the size of a baseball from 4,700 kilometers away. It would allow Israel's Arrow missile to engage a Shahab-3 ballistic missile about halfway through what would be an 11-minute flight from Iran, or six times sooner than Israel's "Green Pine" radar can.
Seeing baseballs flying so far away must be a definite boon for any army in the world. However, there are at least two possible Armageddon scenarios the radar does not exactly resolve. One will be where a 30 missiles of the same kind with two or three of them carrying a nuclear warhead are flying in. There is no way to insure that one of the three that really count will not get through. The second scenario is a warhead smuggled into the country in a car. Hardly a business for the radar of any kind. And in both cases the story develops with the warhead being built. To start with.

Abe Greenwald quotes an unnamed US official:
First, we want to put Iran on notice that we’re bolstering our capabilities throughout the region, and especially in Israel. But just as important, we’re telling the Israelis, ‘Calm down; behave. We’re doing all we can to stand by your side and strengthen defenses, because at this time, we don’t want you rushing into the military option.’
That's nice to know,as it is nice to know that it could be another thinly veiled warning to Ayatollahs, but for some reason it doesn't feel good enough.

Another question not yet even asked is the timing chosen for the arrival of the radar. Since, according to the most sources, it is still early times for the first Iranian nuke to be built, why had the radar to make its way to Israel now? If it is not here to help in destroying the incoming nuclear missiles, the only other reason that comes immediately to mind is that somebody is saying to IDF: don't do it now.

Well, there could be another reason, the one that doesn't come to mind immediately, and it is that the radar is here to to help in destroying the incoming conventional missiles. The ones that are certain to come after IDF's raid on the Iranian nuclear facilities.

Curiousier and curiosier...