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U.S. Radar Base in Israel

Posted: 2008-10-07
From: Mathaba
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The radar is to be installed at Israel`s Nevatim Air Base1 in the Negev desert in the south of the country, making it the first time that U.S. Army personnel will be permanently stationed in Israel.


by Ardeshir Ommani

At a cost of $89 million to the American taxpayers, the U.S.  Senate, with no hesitation, passed a bill that was attached by Republican Senator Joe Kyle, to the federal defense budget to  deploy another sophisticated long-range radar system to the Jewish  state of Israel.

If this fraction of the tax money was proposed to reduce the pains  in the hearts of one thousand owners of the foreclosed properties  in the working class neighborhood of Chicago or for improving the  educational quality of the pathetic school systems in the South  Bronx, Bed Stuyvesant of Brooklyn or Spanish Harlem, to cite just  a few examples, no doubt the same senators who enthusiastically  and unanimously voted for the bill, would have rejected it  outright with no hesitation or mercy.  The currently dominating  political condition in the United States shows the nature and  quality of the so-called democratic principals, drilled daily into  the heads of the masses by the media, and also the non-existent  influence of the working class on the governing institutions of  the land.

What was the rush that the U.S. military amid the countryís  financial and economic crisis had to speed up the deployment of a  most powerful and therefore expensive system, called AN/TPY-2  forward-based X-band, a year earlier than it was scheduled  previously?  The X-band system, deployed to Israel on September  26th, was originally scheduled for delivery in 2009 for joint  training exercises, according to the U.S. European Command mission  (EUCOM).  For reasons not explained by the U.S. Senate  Intelligence Committee, the ownership of Army/Navy Transportable  Radar Surveillance remains with Washington and will be installed  and operated permanently by 120 U.S. military personnel drawn from  U.S. units stationed in Germany and across the rest of Europe.

The well-revealed secret of this rush delivery of the X-band radar system lies in the fact that the U.S. has finally come to the  realization that with two active wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at hand and an explosive situation in Pakistan, with 170 million  population and a large atomic arsenal, not to mention the ever- deepening financial and economic stranglehold canvassing not only  the housing but also the banking and industrial sectors of the Western capitalist economies, it has, though unwillingly, resigned  itself to a situation where it has to take the war-on-Iran option  off the table and begin a dialogue with an ever-stronger and confident Iran.

It is also a well-known fact that the U.S. is quietly engaged in preliminary fact-finding talks with Iran which has become a huge  source of anxiety for the Zionist ringleaders in Tel Aviv who, like egotistical servants, feel abandoned by the masters in  Washington or cheaply sold for the benefit of the U.S. empire. The delivery of an important element of the U.S. Ballistic Missile  Defense Shield to Israel a year earlier plays the role of relaxing  and calming down the sense of anxiety and desperation with regard  to the current U.S.-Iran dialogue and could be considered as  compensation for Israelís loss of its junior role in shaping  American foreign policy in the Middle East region.

The radar is to be installed at Israelís Nevatim Air Base1 in the  Negev desert in the south of the country, making it the first time  that U.S. Army personnel will be permanently stationed in Israel. The type of X-band radar proposed by the U.S. Army works on the  same wavelength as a microwave oven.  Its tremendous power gives  it impressive precision and velocity.  It can locate an object the  size of a baseball 2,900 miles (4,700 kilometers) away.  The X- based radar is designed to track ballistic missile warheads moving  through space and provide ground-based missiles with the data  needed to intercept them.  But serious concerns have been raised  for the safety of the communities living near the radar.  For  example in the Czech Republic where a similar type of radar is  planned to be installed, 60% of the population remains opposed to  the U.S. project, many due to public health concerns.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the radar would serve not  only Israel, but also the U.S. military forces in the hemisphere. The radar will be integrated with both the Israeli and the U.S.  Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) networks. It is prudent for U.S. citizens to know that prior to the present $89 million U.S. gift  of radar to Israel, writes stratfor.com that ďThe now-operational  Israeli Arrow Ballistic Missile System (BMD) in all likelihood would not have been possible without U.S. assistance and aid.Ē On one hand, the link between Israelís currently operational Arrow  Missiles through the medium of the X-band radar with the U.S. offense and defensive missile system suggests a broad integration  of missile defense shields of the two countries.  On the other  hand, the fact that the U.S. deployed the new radar in separate  parts and under the radar shows that the U.S. gave lip-service to  Iran, trying to avoid antagonizing it at a time with which it is  engaged in complex negotiations.  

As to the needs, uses and introduction of such radar systems into  the Middle East, various scenarios have already been advanced by  the U.S. and Israeli sources, some of which are misleading.  For  example, one story depicts the installation of the radar system  and the permanent presence of its American crews as intended to  restrain Israel from taking a unilateral military attack against  the Iranian nuclear facilities and military establishment.  The  converse scenario, mostly sponsored by pro-Zionist mouthpieces try  to argue that the system is intended to strengthen Israelís  defensive ability against Iranian retaliation should Israel/or the  U.S. decide to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, cities and vital  command centers, including water reservoirs, communication  centers, electrical grids and sewer systems.  The last and most  plausible scenario is that the U.S. intends to add one more  strategic military base to the other 1,000 military bases that it  operates around the world for containing and intimidating the  independent countries in the region like Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

1 Nevatim Air Base

An underground strategic air command post is reportedly located at  Nevatim Air Base. Located south east of Beersheba on the edge of  the Negev, this facility was originally built in 1947 as landing  strip known as Malhata. In September of 1978 Israeli and Egyptian  negotiators met with US President Jimmy Carter at Camp David to  negotiate the terms of peace. An agreement was signed in March of  1979 which called for the phased withdrawal of all Israeli troops  for the Sinai by 1982. The Camp David Accords were matched by  American pledges for security assistance for both Israel and Egypt  totaling nearly $3 billion. A new airbase, planned and built by  Israel with US funding opened October 1983 with two runways 3,050  meters and 2,440 meters in length. Three of the IDF's key air  bases - Ramat David, Tel Nof and Nevatim - are all located close  to the pre-1967 cease-fire lines, known as the "Green Line."

In July 1998 it was reported that Turkish warplanes are based at  Nevatim on a regular basis as part of an agreement between Turkey  and Israel. In return, Israeli jets are based in Turkey. The Elrom  Company has prepared a study examining the possibility of  establishing a second international airport for Israel at Nevatim.  An unusual coalition of mayors and citizens of the Dan  Metropolitan area and the Negev has been formed to lobby for  developing Nevatim.

Tens of F-16 fighter jets, originating from a base in the south of  the country, landed March 31, 2003 at the Nevatim Air Force base.  A ceremony for the transfer of the squadron was held in the  presence of the Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General  Dan Halutz. The new squadron will be known as the "Flying Wing." A  decade earlier, the IDF chain of command raised the question of  whether or not to close the base at Nevatim as a result of  budgetary woes. However, with reception of the new squadron and  additional changes in the offing, Nevatim has been transformed  into one of largest bases in the country. In June 2003, an  additional squadron of F-16's arrived at the base, and plans have  been made to receive transport planes. F-16's were introduced to  the Israeli Air Force in 1980, and serve as the backbone of the  IAF. A year after their arrival, the planes were deployed to bomb  the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Several of the planes that were moved  participated in the attack.    (globalsecurity.org/)  

-- Mathaba author Ardeshir Ommani is a writer and an activist in  the anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for many years,  including against the Vietnam War.  Ardeshir is a co-founder of  the American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) which strives to  build a movement promoting peace and preventing a U.S.-led war on  Iran.
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