the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city—Joshua 6:20
by Roy Tov
Israel doesn’t even try to hide its launchings anymore. Air Force Palmachim Base—launching site for satellites and ballistic missile tests—is too close to Gaza for that being feasible. “Denizens of Gaza please close your eyes for a second,” is an unlikely order to be obeyed.
Instead, the launchings are mentioned in a minor tone, details and pictures delayed for a while.
On July 12, 2013, Chanel 7 reported that the IDF carried out successfully a test flight of a new ballistic engine. The only additional details provided were that it can carry a warhead of one metric tone for 5,000km.
To put this in proportion, lthe distance between Tel Aviv and London is just 3,500km. The new engine belongs to the Jericho missiles series, capable of carrying warheads far away from Tel Aviv. Honorable Queen of London and its Most Immediate Surroundings, please don’t worry, friendly Netanyahu even participated in Margaret’s Thatcher slightly disguised State funeral. You are safe; after all where else can Sarah Netanyahu purchase trendy fascinator hats?
American or Chinese military officers will assume that the launching timing was decided upon weather considerations. It is not their fault, their continent-sized countries are located on regions with unstable weather. Missiles tests are conducted there when the launchings can be monitored; after all we are talking about R&D projects.
Yet, the Middle East is different. Israelis use “July-August Heath” as a phrase meaning “stagnation.” The weather doesn’t change. It is hot during the day and hot during the night. Hot at weekdays and hot at weekends. July-August Heath.
Moreover, such a launching is approved by the political level. Its calculations are simple. It doesn’t matter which day would be chosen, the weather would be fine. Within the window of opportunity, it would choose a specific day according to the political weather. Today’s launching came two days after the British Telegraph disclosed* that Saudi Arabia is aiming missiles at Tel Aviv. Bingo! Not July-August Heath, but Tel Aviv-Saudi Arabia Heath.
Israelis say “Sa’udiya”
Israel and Saudi Arabia don’t have diplomatic relations, though it is not secret that the two countries maintain low level relations in an attempt to avoid misunderstandings.
The most dramatic event in the common history of this two almost neighbors took place in the 1980s when an Israeli “Satil” (missile ship) found itself on Saudi ground following an embarrassing error. Israeli soldiers surrounded the ship, aiming their guns at a much larger Saudi force while the clumsy ship commander tried to fix his navigation error.
Hours later, both forces separated without any damages.
Sa’udiya Shifts Suppliers
Saudi Arabia—as much of the civilized world—is shifting away from American technologies and friendship. The abovementioned disclosure by The Telegraph was based on an analysis performed by IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, which had spotted in satellite photos of the Al-Watah base—around 125 miles south-west of the Saudi capital—launching, storage and administrative facilities of Chinese DF 3 missiles. They have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload.
The image below shows the site. The missiles were designed in the 1980s and are not remotely-guided. Thus, their trucks must be positioned in the direction of their target before firing. That is the reason for the circle-shaped launch pads with odd compass drawings seen; they help the troops to align their toys.
Al-Watah Saudi Missile Base
“One appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth (bearing) of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations,” said the IHS Jane’s report.
The picture shows two circular launch pads, one pointing in direction of Israel, and the second towards Iran. A vehicle-mounted ballistic launcher drives to the launch pads and directs itself along the thick dark line pointing at the target. At the bottom of the image an underground bunker built into the hillside with two entrances, one 12 metres wide and the other 15 metres wide, can be seen, where missiles and their warheads are stored. Administrative and residential buildings are located at the centre.
Shifting strategy was essential. In an extraordinary example of political recycling,**current Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon declared Plan “Te’uza” (Bravery). The Key IDF Rearrangement Announced a few days ago, namely Armored Division 366 becoming the Regional Division on the Golan Heights and Division 36, which fulfilled until now that role, becoming on of the five multi-theatre divisions of the IDF, was the first part of the plan made public. More was disclosed since then.
A New Brave IDF
On the same day the new Jericho engine was launched, Minister of Defense Ya’alon disclosed that the new plan was named “Te’uza” and added a few more details. The plan includes the cut of almost $2 billion of the army budget, over 10% of it, and its shifting towards hi-tech weapons. Old weaponry and its units would be finally taken out of service.
Not everything was disclosed, but much can be deduced from the ministry’s phrasing. A substantial rearrangement of the armored forces will take place. Old Magach tanks (Modified American Peton 48 and 60) would disappear. Obsolete Tiran tanks (modified Soviet T34 tanks) would probably be transformed into trendy toasters and given as gifts to needy reservists.
The regular artillery would be downgraded in size. The navy will renounce to its oldest ships. Several air force squadrons would be dismantled or merged (see First Super-Hercules Delivered to IAF). The anti-missiles system, which proved to be little else than expensive fireworks+ during the recent Operation Pillar of Cloud would not be expanded. The IDF wanted to deploy 10 Iron Dome and 4 Magic Wand batteries this year; it won’t happen. The regular army will be reduced in 5,000 soldiers.
The image created is the same reported in Key IDF Rearrangement Announced; the IDF is shifting its deployment from a defensive one into a clearly offensive one. “Sa’udiya, Iran, Nuke Them All!” is the new IDF motto being considered these days.
full version and subscription page at http://roitov.com/articles/teuza.htm
* Saudi Arabia ‘targeting Iran and Israel with ballistic missiles’ by Colin Freeman, July 10, 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/10172463/Saudi-Arabia-targeting-Iran-and-Israel-with-ballistic-missiles.html
* Ehud Barak was IDF Chief of Staff between 1991 and 1995. Having served as soldier, officer and commander of Sayeret Matkal, the army’s top commando unit, he was the first Chief of Staff with enough power to tackle the Princes. While entering office he promised to transform the IDF into a “small and smart” army. When he left, the IDF was larger, fatter, and definitely not smarter. Yet, he made order in the commando units scene, his monster-baby. Until he arrived, high quality infantry brigades were controlled directly from the large Commands (North, Central and South) instead of being part of a regular division. Commando units could be found randomly placed in the army’s hierarchy, with Sayeret Matkal being controlled directly by the General Command Headquarters (the Matkal).
Media reports on the structure of IDF commando and reconnaissance units (adding to the confusion, both enter under the Hebrew term “sayeret,” which can be loosely translated as “wanderer”) are fuzzy due to the intentional operative matrix, adopted by these. These units overlap in their capabilities, adding flexibility to the General Command in their use. Barak kept this functionality but changed the chain of command. For example, Infantry Brigade #1, Golani, was downgraded from the North Command to Division 36 on the Golan Heights. Beyond adding order, it added confusion to media reports.
+ Israel likes to make boastful declarations about its antimissile systems. Yet, most reports on Israeli media are about failed interceptions. Israel manipulates its antimissile system interception data; this is the result of the systems being aimed for export, mainly to South Korea andSingapore, but also due to the generous American support of the development process. The manipulation is straightforward; the system is deployed exclusively where it has optimal interception conditions. Moreover, during Pillar of Cloud, Israel shot two anti-missiles against every missile. This leads to what in Measurement Theory is known as a bad sampling of data, which becomes unrepresentative of the overall population of the studied event. With this foiled magic, Israeli media claims that the interception rate is 90%. In Pillar of Cloud ends Unfinished, I quoted the data released by the IDF following the operation. It shows that 700 missiles out of the 1,000 fired by Hamas hit Israel. This amounts to a 70% failure of Iron Dome. (Israeli Anti-Missiles Fail in Eilat Attack)
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.