Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Israeli "Iron Dome"

The Israelis are now putting in place the "Iron Dome" in preparation for the upcoming war with at least Hezbullah, if not also Iran. The thing with missiles is that they are the great force equaliser for armies without an enormous budget to still be able to punch above their weight. Up until now the Israeli military strength, with its carefully cultivated image of invincibility, has been unable to defend both the northern and southern inhabitants of its settlements and cities. This is very important, because if the Israeli citizen does not feel safe and does not feel like his army can defend him, he will go back to Europe or America because deep inside he knows he does not belong there. Whereas the Arabs have mostly had armies which were good at killing their own people, and of course they live under the constant threat of Israeli "non-declared" nuclear missiles.

Iran and Hezbullah recognise this simple fact, and have so far known how to squeeze Israel where it hurts the most. The Katyusha was originally used by the Soviets in Stalingrad and it is as effective today as it was against the Nazis. The Qassam rockets cost only a few hundred dollars to make, as opposed to the "Tamir" rockets that compose the Israeli "Iron" dome and which allegedly cost between $30,000 and $50,000. Now because of the cost it will probably not be feasible to have this "dome" in place over every settlement near the borders. It will probably be linked with the major cities and important positions.

Crucially, this defence network will be centered around Israeli airforce airfields and runways. In the last war with Hezbullah, Israel was soundly beaten back on the ground level. The destroying of one of its gunboats off the coast of Lebanon was also a major surprise. As this blog mentioned many times, Hezbullah needed to find a way of defending Lebanon from Israel's devastating air attacks, which are responsible for the majority of Lebanon's over 1000 civilian deaths during that conflict.

Hezbullah today has rockets like no other fighting force in history. In addition, if war erupts then it is unlikely that Iran will not be involved. Iran also has long range missiles designed specifically to reach major Israeli cities. In the event of the Israelis beginning a fresh series of attacks, it is highly likely that the next set of surprises will involve some form of neutralising of Israel's air capability. After all, a plane needs to land somewhere and if the runway has been destroyed then the jetfighter will need to land on some highway, far from resupply and rearming or repair depots.

Now Israel's top generals know this and are trying to counter the problem. It would be a serious issue for them if they find that they cannot rely on airpower and will have to send their ground troops in. Apart from a core of highly trained troops, Israel's conscript army is no match for Hezbullah in an invasion. The issue is a qualitative one. That's why it is important for Israel to have some form of shield that works. So far the tests of this Iron Dome are "said" to be positive, but remember this technology has not been used in anger before. The one advantage Israel has is that it can choose the time of battle, whereas Iran or Hezbullah rely on a defensive strategy. If Israel feels confident enough to press on with another attack because of this dome, it will be interesting to see what happens if, yet again, the IDF is unable to defend its territory from attack.

1 comment:

Lirun said...

so the death of people is interesting to you.. like a tv show or something.. tickles ur curiosity.. how nice..