Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Iron Dome: Is Israel Pushing The Envelope--Or Just Pushing Its Luck?

Israel's missile defense uses $50,000 rockets to shoot down $100 rockets. When u look up "unsustainable" in dictionary, it says "Iron Dome."
Noah Pollak on Twitter

The question still remains as to what to make of Iron Dome--is it the next generation in military defense technology, or something...less.

Iron Dome could be a manifestation of what some in the IDF perceive as a softening in Israel's response to the increase in rockets being fired into Israel by Hamas terrorists:

"After Operation Cast Lead a very clear equation was created whereby the IDF responds disproportionately to any violation of the state of calm. This was the way and the message was conveyed to the other side," one officer said.

"Ever so often there were attempts to test us but a harsh response together with deterrence achieved by the operation had sent the message until the next time."

The officers are careful not to point any fingers at higher ranks or the government but claim that the terror organizations had succeeded in setting a new standard for attacks without being subjected to retaliation.

"Israel and the IDF are constantly being tested for their reaction and this determines the next round. Granted there are other considerations and that is why one needs to review Israel's choice of action given more time," one officer said.[emphasis added]
Activating Iron Dome, a defensive weapon, to a degree could concretize this new change in policy--changing from actively responding to terrorist attacks in order to dissuade terrorists with overpowering force, to assuming a more passive policy where Israel acts defensively, and the standard of attacks without retaliation is one step closer to being assumed.

J. E. Dyer describes another change in perception as a result of putting Iron Dome into action--undermining some of Israel's claims to security:
the defensive promise of Iron Dome could well raise expectations, both inside Israel and abroad, that its deployment obviated the need for Israel to hold key territory and keep it cleared of terrorists and their weaponry. That conclusion would be false, but I imagine most readers see how quickly it would be drawn — and how vigorously it would be advanced as a talking point against Israel’s other irreducible security requirements. This effect on expectations would be felt in the peace-process negotiations but would also be a factor in the international approach to Iran.
According to Dyer, Iron Dome would allow Israel's enemies to claim that Israel has no more excuse to carry out search and destroy missions against terrorists in Gaza--after all, Iron Dome will protect the Israeli population. Furthermore, the Arabs could claim that Israeli neighborhoods such as Ariel are no longer necessary for Israel's security and that there is no longer any justification for it to remain in Israeli hands. All this because Iron Dome will protect Israel against those rockets and missiles fired from the mountains.

One need look no further than the response of Obama, Israel's "staunch ally", to the Iranian threat: increasing the funding for Israel's missile defenses. For Israel, these systems offer no offensive force against its enemies, while at the same time deludes Israelis into thinking it need not do anything else except enjoy life behind this defensive shield.

Technorati Tag: .


Anonymous said...

Let's suppose that two $100 rockets hit and cause several hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars in damages - depends on the math used in the equations - what variables have been entered? Worth it then?

As for 100% infallibility? not happening, therefore it is only one of many methods of either protection or dissuasion.

It ain't no failsafe!!! It's a start towards a comprehensive solution, otherwise why bother trying to protect against an incoming nuclear tipped ICBM?


NormanF said...

The Iron Dome is a supplement to proactive Israeli military measures - not a replacement or a substitute for them.

The Prime Minister made it clear they are NOT the complete answer to Arab terrorism. Israelis should not delude themselves into thinking they can hide behind a screen of defensive missiles and the Arab threat will magically disappear.

It won't. Constant vigilance is need to ensure the Iron Dome system doesn't evolve into an Israeli equivalent of France's ill-fated Maginot Line.

Daled Amos said...

I thought that the potential problem of Iron Dome would be in conjunction with the tendency--whether affected by world opinion or not--to wait longer before retaliating.

After all, when we hear about retaliation, we hear how tunnels and the like are bombed--why were they not bombed earlier; why did Israel wait?

The latter point, the one made by Dyer, I think is valid as well. I can just see that claim being made by Hamas--or by the UN Human Rights Council.

Anonymous said...

I think the analysis fails to point out that if it works well enough, Israel can sell the technology to the rest of the world.

Daled Amos said...

Dyer's post explains why other countries may not be eager to use Iron Dome technology:

"Other nations seeking to defend their populations with missile shields may well run into the decision factors Israel now faces. So we should pay attention to what they are. There are downsides to keeping Iron Dome constantly deployed: one is simply that terrorist attackers will know where its components are situated and become accustomed to what it looks like. Even if the components were moved around regularly, they would be more susceptible to sabotage and easier to analyze and defeat — particularly if using them from time to time gave attackers a chance to observe them in operation. Israel’s small size only amplifies this drawback."