Strategists call for Israeli strikes against expanding WMD threat

Friday, May 14, 2004

TEL AVIV Leading strategists in Israel have proposed preemptive strikes against the expanding threat posed by weapons of mass destruction arsenals in the Middle East.

A report, entitled "Israel's Strategic Future," called such strikes an option in preventing the formation of a WMD coalition. The report said the Jewish state has been threatened by a biological or nuclear first-strike that seeks to exploit Israel's small space and high population density.

"To meet its ultimate deterrence objectives that is, to deter the most overwhelmingly destructive enemy first-strikes Israel must seek and achieve a visible second-strike capability to target approximately 15 enemy cities," the report, presented to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said.

The report marked the last phase of Project Daniel, published by the Ariel Center for Policy Research. The contributors to the report included [Res.] Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, the former director of research and development at Israel's military and Defense Ministry, Middle East Newsline reported.

The report also urged the Israeli military to reduce the priority assigned to conventional warfare without impairing its superiority over any enemy coalition. The report said Israeli strategy must be revised to address the expanding threats from what it termed terrorism and long-range WMD attacks.

One option, the report said, would be to target an enemy WMD regime.

"The tools for preemptive operations would be novel, diverse and purposeful; for example, long-range aircraft with appropriate support for derived missions; long-range high-level intervention ground forces; long-endurance intelligence-collection systems; long-endurance unmanned air-strike platforms," the report said.

"Ranges would be to cities in Libya and Iran, and recognizable nuclear bomb yields would be at a level sufficient to fully compromise the aggressor's viability as a functioning state. All enemy targets should be selected with the view that their destruction would promptly force the enemy to cease all nuclear/biological/chemical exchanges with Israel."

The report called on Israel to operate a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system as well as establish a second-strike capability. Such a missile defense should include a Boost Phase Intercept capability as well as enhanced real-time intelligence acquisition, interpretation and transmission.

The report said that despite the prospect of a WMD attack, the principal existential threat to Israel was a conventional war mounted by a coalition of Arab states along with Iran. But such a war, the report said, could be facilitated by the development of WMD and result in nonconventional weapons strikes against the Jewish state.

"Irrespective of its policy on nuclear ambiguity vs. disclosure, Israel will not be able to endure unless it continues to maintain a credible, secure and decisive nuclear deterrent alongside a multi-layered anti-missile defense," the report said.

The report said advanced weaponry would enable Israel to reduce its defense expenditure while enhancing effectiveness and lethality in conventional warfare. The report cited the need for increased weapons range, precision, warhead efficiency; electronic warfare, reduced infrared and radio frequency signatures.

The report also stressed the need for real time tactical and strategic intelligence within a command, control, communications, computer and intelligence [C4I] system. The technologies cited to combat strategic threats included ballistic missile defense, early-warning satellites, combat unmanned air vehicles and deep-strike forces.

"There is no operational need for low-yield nuclear weapons geared for actual battlefield use," the report said. "There is no point in spreading and raising costs Israel's effort on low-yield, tactical nuclear weapons given the multifaceted asymmetry between Israel and its adversaries."

Israel must also maintain its policy of refusing to acknowledge nuclear capability, the report said. The report said such a policy should be revised in the future if an enemy state turns nuclear.

The report asserted that the development of an Arab and Iranian nuclear weapons program required 20 years while that of a long-range missile would need 12 years. But once development is completed, the report said, the production and acquisition of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles would entail a short process. Any country could build an arsenal of 100 atomic bombs within four years of the assembly of its first nuclear weapon.

"Israel will have to maximize its long-range, accurate, real-time strategic intelligence," the report said. "Israel will have to maximize the credibility of its second-strike capability. Israel will have to develop, test, manufacture and deploy a BPI [Boost Phase Intercept] capability to match the operational requirements dictated by enemy ballistic missile capacities -- performance and numbers."

The report also called on Israel to deploy recoverable and non-recoverable stealth UAVs to suppress enemy air defenses, electronic warfare, intelligence-gathering and strikes. The military was also urged to develop a second-strike land or sea nuclear capability.

To finance such an effort, Israel must cooperate with the United States, make better use of U.S. military aid and eliminate obstacles to U.S.-Israel defense trade. One option was for Israel to consider revising its defense strategy to account for an expanded U.S. military presence in the Middle East.

The report urged Israel to seek U.S. cooperation for a joint BPI project, something the Defense Department has refused. Another option was for the United States to "participate technologically and financially in Israel's multi-layered missile defense efforts as fully as possible."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts

Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives