Tag Archives: Israel nuclear weapons

How Israel Nuclear Ambiguity Benefits the United States

isreal nuclear weapons. image from wikipedia

Defense officials are fighting a three-year-old request under the Freedom of Information Act to release a 1987 report supposedly discussing Israel’s nuclear technology.  Grant Smith of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy  filed the request in 2012 and raised the issue in court after he said the request “went nowhere” for several years. He has been a critic of many U.S. policies related to Israel and of what he believes to be the inordinate influence of Israel in the American government.

In a seldom-used legal move known as optional review, Pentagon officials have asked the Israeli government to review the report before they consider releasing it.  Smith said the Defense Department has denied being able to locate the report, claimed it contained sensitive Israeli government information and cited FOIA exemptions, non-disclosure agreements and patents to intellectual property rights in its efforts to block the release of the report.

The unclassified report in question, titled “Critical Technology Issues in Israel and NATO Countries,” has surfaced in media stories and nonprofit research but has never been released to the public, according to court documents filed by Smith.  Smith’s legal complaint mentioned a 1995 publication called the Risk Report, which supposedly cited findings from the Pentagon document without referencing it by name.  The Risk Report claimed “the United States approved the sale of powerful computers that could boost Israel’s well-known but officially secret A-Bomb and missile programs” and identified the report only as “a 1987 Pentagon-sponsored study.”

Smith called the Department of Defense’s decision to seek Israeli approval a “cover-up” in the response he filed with the court Jan. 7.  “There is pressing urgency to release this report in the current context of regional nuclear negotiations which can only have a productive outcome if Americans and other concerned parties are more fully informed of the true state of affairs,” his response said.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called the likely existence of Israeli nuclear weapons an “open secret” in the international community....Israel... has never disclosed its alleged arsenal, nor has the U.S. ever formally acknowledged its existence....

Making sure that the Israelis have the ambiguity they need on nuclear issues actually boosts our nonproliferation diplomacy by preventing tensions in the region and backlashes from Israel's neighbors,” said the official, who requested anonymity.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan issued an order Jan. 8, 2015 requiring Defense officials to say whether they planned to invoke a non-disclosure provision that would allow them to keep the report secret at Israel’s request by Feb. 12. If not, Chutkan will begin the process of privately reviewing the report herself.  Defense officials said they expect the Israeli government to complete its review of the report by Jan. 16, 2015

BY SARAH WESTWOOD , Legal battle to publish unclassified DOD report on Israeli nukes nears end, Jan. 8, 2015

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Israel and its Weapons: submarines launching nuclear capable missiles

Israel's navy has taken delivery of its fourth Dolphin class submarine built by Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, giving the Jewish state the most powerful submarine fleet in the Middle East and boosting its strategic capabilities.  The new diesel-electric boat, named the Tannin -- Alligator -- was handed over during a ceremony at HDW's Kiel shipyard...The Tannin is the first of three "super-Dolphins" the Israelis will acquire from Germany.   These 1,925-ton boats will be equipped with advanced systems that greatly enhance operational capabilities, which Western sources say include a new propulsion system that makes them almost impossible to detect and a special diesel and hydrogen conversion system that allows them to produce their own fuel, thus extending range and endurance.  The Tannin is expected to be operational by mid-2013 after Israeli sea trials.

The sources say the advanced Dolphins are equipped to carry Israel-built cruise missiles with a range of some 940 miles, and nuclear warheads. This enhances Israel's second-strike capability, to respond to a nuclear attack with its own nuclear arsenal, on the oft-stated pledge by Israel that it won't be the first in the Middle East to use nuclear weapons.

The only target for such weapons, for now at least, would be Iran, which Israel and the United States alleges is driving to produce nuclear weapons that challenge Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region.  Israel has the capability, unmatched in the region, to deliver nuclear weapons by air -- on aircraft and Jericho ballistic missiles -- and sea.  By deploying Dolphins in the Arabian Sea, off southern Iran, Israel greatly extends its strategic reach and gives it the option of pre-emptive first-strike attack, using nuclear weapons if necessary.  Even if Israel is obliterated in a nuclear attack, the Dolphins could retaliate by launching missiles from the Arabian Sea.  Israel has three early model Dolphins in service, all modeled on Germany's Type 209 submarine by HDW, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. These were delivered in 1998-2000.  With the Tannin, and two more "super Dolphins" on order, Israel will be able to maintain at least one submarine in the Arabian Sea at all times. The fifth Dolphin is scheduled for delivery in 2014 and the sixth in 2016.  Most of the Dolphins' integrated systems are produced by major Israeli defense companies like Tadiran, Elbit, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rada.

The naval expansion has been made possible to a large degree by Germany's sometimes reluctant agreement to pay the lion's share of the cost for the game-changing Dolphins.  Germany has for decades sought to accommodate Israel in atonement for the Holocaust during the Nazi era, although this has been wearing thin because of the global economic downturn.  Germany agreed recently to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's request that Berlin pay one-third of the $500 million-$700 million cost of the sixth Dolphin...

Excerpts from Israel's submarine fleet gets 4th Dolphin, UPI.com, May 4, 2012

See also Iran, Israel and a Nuclear Free Midde East

Nuclear Ambiguity

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