The regional implications of the planned US-Israeli missile defense command-and-control center

Israel/Palestine
on 9 Comments

The Israeli Ministry of Defense is in the process of integrating four “of the anti-missile defense systems developed in the country [plus the US's Patriot system] into a national command and control center for the interception of enemy missiles.” Defense News quotes a US official as saying the effort will not only aid Israeli defense but that of “US allies that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.”

The faulty logic of relying upon such missile defense systems has both left- and right-wing critics. To this we can add another problem, the forward deployment of a US missile defense network over its protectorates in the Middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc.). Many governments in the region are wary of Iran’s drive to regional hegemony (given the authoritarian structure of a most regional governments, popular opinion is less important to policy, but public opinion is mixed on the matter 1, 2 for example) as are, most vocally, the US and Israel. This regional missile defense system produces further dependency on the US to counter Iranian hegemony. Importantly, the dependency is not just on the US, but on the US-Israeli relationship.

The US alone developed the Patriot (Raytheon) missile system, one of the five to be integrated into the new command-and-control system. The US and Israel jointly developed the Arrow 2, Arrow 3 (Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing for both Arrow models), and David’s Sling (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems & Raytheon) systems. And the US is helping to fund the Iron Dome (Rafael) system. The absence of official diplomatic relations between nations potentially covered by the system and Israel is irrelevant to the power dynamic being developed. The US-Israeli missile defense system facilitates regional bellicosity towards Iran by removing the perceived need for other nations to be neighborly and it applies only to those nations who are friendly to the US (and perhaps, not entirely unfriendly to Israel).

That no serious military analysis offers a likely situation of Iranian attack is also irrelevant. The threat Iran poses has never been a military one. It had and continues to offer a strictly defensive military posture [PDF]. Instead the threat is a political one. Iran’s differences with the US are often hard to find when it comes to economic policy and political and civil freedoms in the region (a point all too often glossed over by many activists who pose a US-Iran binary with one good and one bad when they both offer generally terrible and surprisingly similar regional programs). But the nation has been deeply opposed to US regional designs since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This is especially threatening to those nations aligned with the US that have disenfranchised Shia populations (Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are the most prominent examples).

Iran’s important offensive capabilities are almost exclusively its ballistic missile program. The US-Israeli anti-missile program thus gives license to take a more aggressive posture towards Iran with less concern about infringing upon Iranian interests (valid or not). It is a step towards creating further dependency by Persian Gulf governments on the US-Israeli military posture towards Iran and the US-Israeli relationship itself. And it’s an example of how the US-Israeli arms trade and military diplomacy has profound and deeply problematic impacts at a regional level.

This post originally appeared in Neged Neshek, a website for news, data and analysis focusing on Israel’s arms industry with a secondary focus on militarism in Israeli culture, society and politics.

9 Responses

  1. seafoid
    June 22, 2011, 12:54 pm

    At some point post 1948 the Zionists decided to put their faith in weapons and technology over building connections to the people and societies of the region.

    This goes back to the way they think from the very first constructions of defensive buildings in the landscape of Palestine back in the 1890s. Everything flows from this.

    So they believe in their weapons, in missiles, in defence shields, in war. they could have sent poets and chefs and musicians and educators to the neighbouring countries in peace but they always sent soldiers in hatred.

    And one day they will regret this.

    • Citizen
      June 22, 2011, 3:50 pm

      Who needs an actual mutal-defense treaty/pact with Israel when US defense systems are totally enmeshed with Israel’s by scores of US memorandums dedicated to Israel’s security, and every one of them
      lucrative as hell for the combined military-industrial-security community of both countries? It parallels the fact the US congress never has to actually declare war to have it, and endlessly. This “special relationship”
      is truly a sick enmeshment in the Freudian sense–nothing like rich mad men!

      • radii
        June 22, 2011, 6:40 pm

        brilliant comment Citizen – succinct

  2. Bumblebye
    June 22, 2011, 2:01 pm

    My neighbor:
    link to guardian.co.uk
    Less than a handful of miles up the road.
    Wonder what part they’ll be playing?

    • DICKERSON3870
      June 22, 2011, 3:57 pm

      RE: “My neighbor” – Bumblebye
      COMMENT –
      Christo does North Yorkshire: “Big White Stationary Boobs!”
      P.S. Dagmar bumpers – link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Bumblebye
        June 22, 2011, 5:09 pm

        I did once work in an office with someone nicknamed “Torpedo T*ts” as a result of her upholstery. It was Ministry of Defense. :D

    • Citizen
      June 22, 2011, 5:45 pm

      The same song Obama is playing; here’s some more lyrics additional to the ones you linked to, Bumblebye: link to bdsmovement.net

      Seems the Palestinians are the guinia pigs for test-proving every advanced contemporary means of controlling/oppressing people–some lemonade stand Israel is operating–the US, England, Canada, Australia appear to be the best customers; they even operate franchises.

  3. ToivoS
    June 22, 2011, 9:50 pm

    Missile defense systems don’t work. They all are based on a model where the incoming missile is on a parabolic trajectory. The Russians solved that problem three decades back. Their only virtue is that they are extremely expensive and the defense industry just loves those kinds of weapons.

    Let the Israelis waste its precious resources pursuing this kind of defense. It is certainly better that they do that then arming themselves with more cluster bombs, high explosives and white phosphorous. At least anti-missile missiles do not kill people, even if they do not kill missiles.

    • Chaos4700
      June 23, 2011, 9:37 am

      OK, TovioS, but the real problem is what happens when this joint “defense” system fires something into Iranian territory? I be so quick to assume that because this system can’t actually block missiles, that it doesn’t have ulterior applications in killing people. This “anti-missile” system is still full of missiles of its own.

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