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IDF Failure Allows Hezbollah-Iranian Drone to Overfly Israeli Cities, Military Bases

The IDF displayed yet another embarrassing failure in defending the homeland yesterday regarding the Iranian drone launched under the auspices of Hezbollah from Lebanon. Yediot’s Alex Fishman, one of the few forthright Israeli defense reporters notes (print only) that the aerial vehicle was allowed to fly over Israeli airspace for 20 minutes before it was downed. If you take into account IDF spokesperson Avital Leibovich’s claim that the army was tracking the drone for 20 minutes, that means it hadn’t a clue about the drone until it crossed into Israeli airspace. Imagine the most advanced army in the Middle East cannot track a slow-moving drone launched from Lebanon and flown for a long distance over the Mediterranean. Among the Israeli sites it overflew were population centers and military bases. It was only 18 miles (he calls it “spitting distance”) from Dimona when it was felled. Several years ago, a Hezbollah balloon flew directly over Dimona before it too was shot down. Note that this is supposed to be restricted airspace.

Fishman, whose IDF sources are excellent reports that the drone was manufactured by the Iranian aviation industry and used Iranian technology.

So despite the praise offered by Ehud Barak, reassuring the population that the army had the nation’s back and that there was nothing to worry about–there is very much to be worried about. The IDF, like most armies, isn’t just fighting the last war, it’s fighting the war before that. When Sinai militants attacked Eilat last year, Israeli intelligence hadn’t a clue that this might happen. The only terror attack it planned for was from Gaza. That the attack was launched from Egypt caught the IDF with their pants down. The Israeli response was so haphazard that one of its units invaded Egypt and killed five Egyptian police officers. Similarly, last month’s Sinai attack that killed 16 police officers on the Egyptian side and brought an armored personnel carrier a mile into Israel, also represented an intelligence failure.

Israeli intelligence is afflicted with a failure of imagination. It always underestimates the enemy. It rarely anticipates what it will do, where and how it will attack. Israel is so used to fighting battles and wars on its terms, that it has stopped trying to understand the enemy in any more than a superficial way. This failure not only sells the nation’s defense short, it characterizes Israel’s inability to understand the needs and interests of its erstwhile enemies.

Israel is like a fish out of water. It sees itself, in Ehud Barak’s infamous phrase as a “villa in the jungle.” That is, an advanced western country plopped down in the middle of the Middle Eastern jungle. Yet it is nothing of the sort. Israel is rather a schizoid country with an economy that apes the west in some ways, but structurally is closer to that of the oligarchic capitalism of Russia. It fancies itself a western democracy, but behaves little better than the Iranian Islamist theocracy.

Israel as presently constituted can never integrate into the region. In fact, it doesn’t want to integrate. It believes it can maintain this charade of specialness and separateness forever. Until it can’t. These military-intelligence failures are only a symptom of that.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • JADEZ October 8, 2012, 6:26 AM

    you reap what you sow.

    there will certainly come a time when these drones will be launched with the capability of attacking any target any place on the planet.

    in fact i can see the rich arguing that in america the 2nd amendment allows the purchase of these drones by individuals.

    lol..of course that will never happen because there will be no constitutional (individual) rights remaining in this or any other country on earth.

    we must be stampeding to chaos.

    • Dave Terry October 8, 2012, 7:36 AM

      OH GREAT! Just what the peace movement needs. Another “anti-gunner” attacking the most important Amendment to the Constitution. (the only one that guarantees that the others will be honoored.

      • Richard Silverstein October 8, 2012, 5:48 PM

        Around here we’re anti-war and that pretty much makes us (or most of us) anti-gun as well. Sorry to disappoint you.

        • Dave Terry October 9, 2012, 10:36 PM

          That WOULD, indeed, be disappointing, BUT I have more confidence in the intelligence of the “dedicated’ peace activist. Just as anarchy is the best path to authoritarianism, PACIFISM is the quickest path to war!

          Dave Terry

  • Dave Terry October 8, 2012, 7:30 AM

    I suspect that the “breach” of security MAY have been intentional.
    How better to frighten compliant Israelis into demanding harsher
    measures against Iran.

    • mary October 8, 2012, 11:37 AM

      It’s no different than when they allow rockets from Gaza to get past them. They could stop those, too, if they wanted to.

  • coldwarrabbit October 8, 2012, 7:30 AM

    dear richard you have touched on a common thread with the vaunted IDF intelligence ……in 1973 the above intel service had concluded that egypt would not attack until it had long range bombers …….the result about 150 tank crews immolated alive because of the complete failure to realize what equipping ground troops with sagger missiles could do[the idf air fleet suffered even worse]
    fast forward to 2006 and we have approx 39 vaunted merkava main battle tanks knocked out completely by metsis and kornet missiles [equiv to carl gustav the weapon i trained with in the aust army reserve]. again …where was the vaunted IDF intelligence seeing as “active armour” [as used in lebanon 1982] could have largely neutralized the shaped charges used against israeli tanks above [not to mention saving the lives of not a few IDF soldiers]
    fasr forward to 2012……..un unarmed [helicopter drone according to debka] drone gets right over dimona israels nuclear weapons stockpile before being shot down
    however the IDF is keeping a lot of info very close to its chest ..how can a heli-drone fly from hizbollah/south lebanon to dimona by looping out to sea and attacking from the western approaches to gaza ??????
    range wise would suggest that it is not possible to do so unrefueled !!!
    of course reports of a monumental intel failure [right up beside 911] of this sort are naturally patchy and make it nearly impossible to discern the facts but………
    THE IRANIANS CAN LAUNCH DRONES FROM SEA PLATFORMS AND ALL ALLIED SYSTEMS WILL BE UNAWARE UNTIL
    UNIDENTIFIED RADAR RETURNS APPEAR ON THEIR SCREENS…[IF AT ALL]

    BY SEA PLATFORMS WE COULD BE TALKING FLOATING DISPOSABLE PLATFORMS THE SIZE OF DIVERS PLATFORMS TOWED OUT TO SEA IN TOURIST AREAS IE [ONE USE ONLY]
    SO HERE IS A SCENARIO…………AN IRANIAN “ATLANTIC CONVEYOR TWO” APPROACHES AN ISRAELI OR AMERICAN CITY DROPPING OFF “DIVERS PLATFORMS/FUEL STATIONS” WITH ATTENDANT PERSONNEL
    ONCE OUT OF RANGE THE HELI-BOTS ARE LAUNCHED TO THE LAUNCH PLATFORMS {COULD BE ONE COULD BE TWENTY} FUELED UP THE PLATFORMS ARE SUNK AS THE HELI-BOTS EACH ARMED WITH FOUR 7.62 mm GUNS PLUS UNGUIDED 2.75 in ROCKETS SPEED[SAME KIT AS A UH-1 GUNSHIP IN VIETNAM}SPEED AT LOW LEVEL TO THEIR TARGET CITY
    THE MOTHER SHIP PROCEEDS TO JAM PASSENGER JET IFF TRANSPONDER SYSTEMS
    THE F-16/ F-15 JETS SCRAMBLE TO INTERCEPT A POSSIBLE MASS 911 ATTACK ONLY TO REALIZE TOO LATE THAT THE HELIBOTS ARE ATTACKING THE PACKED STREETS OF THEIR MAIN CITY ALL FOUR 7.62 GUNS BLAZING low and deadly UP AND DOWN ONE STREET AFTER ANOTHER
    IMPOSSIBLE….. OF COURSE IT IS….. AFTER ALL OUR GOVERNMENTS HAVE ALL OUR MONEY WE CAN TRUST THEM COMPLETELY……..COLDWARRABBIT

    • Nimrod October 8, 2012, 9:14 AM

      Dear coldwarrabbit,
      Out of the knocked 39 out tanks, only a few were hit my Metis and Kornet-E. most AT missiles that were used were older, Spigots and TOWs.
      in 1982, the IDF did not have “active armor”, by reactive armor. as an Anti-Tanker, you should know the difference.
      Active armor in the IDF was only introduced after 2006 (even though it was worked on before of that).
      Today’s anti-tank missiles have tandem warheads, so reactive armor is not as useful.

      As for what you read in Debka – take everything you read there with a grain of salt. from the footage that the IDF spokesperson released, it looks like a plane and not a helicopter.
      And Hezbollah does not have to launch it all the way from Lebanon; They could do so form the Sinai, which has turned to some kind of a wild-west in the past year.

  • Joel October 8, 2012, 9:24 AM

    Can’t integrate or won’t integrate.

    I seem to remember the Shimon Peres ‘New Middle East’ paradigm getting a cool reception from the Arab States.

    I remember when Israel sold Israeli branded chewing gum to Egypt, the Egyptian rumor mill claimed the gum had an aphrodisiac effect on women and that was the end of that noble effort at integration.

    • Richard Silverstein October 8, 2012, 5:46 PM

      You’re neglecting the 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League offering Israel full recognition & integration into the ME. An offer spurned by every Israeli govt since Ariel Sharon. So I repeat: can’t integrate & won’t ingrate.

      • mary October 10, 2012, 6:01 AM

        Let us also not forget the occupation of Palestine, the siege on Gaza and the ongoing settlement building in the West Bank and E. Jerusalem. The neighbors are upset about this.

  • Michael October 8, 2012, 1:25 PM

    Nice to see you people questioning your own “Authorities.”
    You are all right in one sense, because the history of humanity is
    contained in your questioning. It’s all about herding. Selling you a lie
    so you go kill and or die. Hopefully everyone on the planet will begin
    to question the stories they are being told.

    You know, if Israel attacks Iran the chances of such an attack creating a
    situation where unexpected consequences happen are very high. One such
    consequence could be nuclear fall-out on a Global Scale that kills billions of
    people. Such a mistake could have consequences far beyond comprehension.
    Fall out moving to the east in to China could futher enrage the Chinese.
    I believe that such an attack on Iran will cause China to back it’s Arab Allies.
    This will be the obliteration of Israel and the start of World War Three.
    Israel will be the cause of that and no one will ever forget that Israel became
    a war like nation that destroyed our beautiful planet.

    Such a consequence has been predicted through experimental analysis
    in radical predictive linguistics. It has an accuracy rate in the 40% range.

    Nostradamus predicted WWIII would start in the East. The Chinese
    will invade and destroy Israel, they will invade Italy and all of Europe.
    The US will be invaded. The World will be at War.

    BTW, notice that Prince William is in the Falkland Islands? Handy huh?

    • Dave Terry October 9, 2012, 10:52 PM

      “Three. Israel will be the cause of that and no one will ever forget that
      Israel became a war like nation that destroyed our beautiful planet.

      IF billions of people are killed even before China obliterates Israel,
      WHO IS GOING TO BE LEFT TO REMEMBER ANYTHING???

      “Such a consequence has been predicted through experimental analysis
      in radical predictive linguistics. It has an accuracy rate in the 40% range.”

      Such statements have a lunacy level of 80%

      ” they will invade Italy and all of Europe.”

      WHY would China invade Europe, if they are pissed off at Israel?

      “The US will be invaded. The World will be at War.

      THIS is the kind of lunacy, I was referring to in my previous posts.

      Dave Terry

      L.O.L.

  • Michal October 8, 2012, 4:10 PM

    There seems to be a real dearth of military knowledge on this site. Why am I not surprised?
    Some facts–the IAF began following the drone over the Mediterranean, but didn’t try to intercept it until it reached Israeli air space. They first tried to interfere with its navigation to force it to land–that way, they could have an undamaged Iranian drone in their hands. When that failed they decided upon the location where they would shoot it down–making certain they could (a) easily recover it and (b) not endanger any civilians. Endangering its citizens is something Israel, unlike its neighbors, take into account.
    I assume Hezbollah thought they’d get some advantage from this. I suspect the gloves are now off. Look for the next drone to fly right up Nasrallah’s fat ass.

    • Richard Silverstein October 8, 2012, 5:27 PM

      The only “dearth” is in your own knowledge of this attack & your estimation of how much we know about it. If you claim the IDF tracked it over the Mediterranean then you’d be calling Avital Leibovich, chief IDF spokesperson, either ignorant or a liar. Which one is it? She says the object was tracked for 20 minutes before being shot down. It flew over Israel for 20 minutes. Hence it was not tracked over the Mediterranean. If it had been tracked there they would’ve shot it down. They didn’t.

      As for “facts,” you don’t have any.

      As for endangering its own citizens, well that’s a lie too. Israel is the only nation I know of to steal or “borrow” its own citizens passports to clone them & use them for purposes of spying or assassination of the subjects of other countries. It thereby puts them in great danger since their names will now be associated with any crime Israel’s intelligence services commit. As for endangering the lives of the citizens of other countries–well, Israel’s a champ at that. Far more than other neighboring countries.

      Your hasbara skills are a bit rusty. Better luck next time.

      As for anything flying up someone’s ass, I’d say you can put your opinions and prejudices right up there as well. Israel dropped a bunker buster on Nasallah’s HQ during the Lebanon war & then publicly crowed about assassinating him because it simply couldn’t believe anyone could survive such a hit. But guess what–he did.

      And what would happen even if Israel did kill him. After the regional war ended with hundreds if not thousands of Israelis dead from Hezbollah missiles, the movement would appoint a new leader. He’d likely be even more wily, ruthless and extremist than Nasrallah. He’s likely be an even more dangerous Israeli enemy than the guy they’d just offed. Funny thing about counter-terror strikes like this. They often create even more terrorism in the long run than they prevent. That’s why people like you are so stupid. You think you’re God’s gift to brains and military strategy. When in reality your hubris makes you vulnerable in every way. Same holds true for the IDF.

      Obama’s got a bad case of it as well. Eventually it’s gonna bite him in the ass as well (to continue your metaphorical line).

      • Shaun October 9, 2012, 3:06 AM

        “Israel dropped a bunker buster on Nasallah’s HQ during the Lebanon war & then publicly crowed about assassinating him because it simply couldn’t believe anyone could survive such a hit. But guess what–he did.”

        Do you have a link or quote?

        • Richard Silverstein October 9, 2012, 9:46 PM

          A lesson in research: if I say that something happened then it’s very likely that I wrote about it. You know the dates of the Lebanon war. Go into my archives for those dates and review my blog posts & you’ll find the post I wrote about it. You can also Google “Nasrallah” or “Nasrallah & bunker buster” or any manner of other combinations here or on the web in general & find the information.

          My job is not to be your research assistant.

    • Get real, Michal October 8, 2012, 10:37 PM

      M: “Some facts–the IAF began following the drone over the Mediterranean,”

      Then they would have shot it down when it was over the Med.
      They didn’t, ergo, they weren’t following it while it was on that part of its flight-path.

      M: “They first tried to interfere with its navigation to force it to land–that way,”

      Suuuuuuuuure they did because – of course! – the omnipotent Israelis they knew this moment was coming and so they had already prepared for it.

      Suuuuuuuuure they did.

      M: “When that failed they decided upon the location where they would shoot it down”

      Yeah, right, and so they chose a spot that was less than 18 miles from Dimona.
      You know, within spitting distance of THE most sensitive and secret site in Israel.

      M: “Endangering its citizens is something Israel, unlike its neighbors, take into account.”

      Dare I suggest that *not* endangering Dimona is Priority Numero Uno for the IDF?

      In which case waiting until that drone was within spitting distance of Dimona before taking your very first shot at it isn’t actually The Smartest Idea In The History Of Warfare.

      M: “I assume Hezbollah thought they’d get some advantage from this.”

      And I would suggest that they have achieved that aim, because I would dare to suggest that there is a flurry of late-night meeting going on at IDF HQ at this very moment.

      After all, what happens when a FLEET of these things head towards Dimona from all points of the compass?
      Can you guarantee that the IDF can take them all down? Because I certainly don’t think so….

      M: “Look for the next drone to fly right up Nasrallah’s fat ass.”

      That has been the IDF’s wet dream for at least the last decade.
      How *is* that project going, Michal?

  • Piotr Berman October 8, 2012, 5:59 PM

    Clearly, slow speed does not make it any easier for radars. What makes a difference is (a) how close the drone can fly to the ground (b) small is more difficult to spot (c) some stealth measures. As USA pioneered stealth technology and made a gift to Iran, perhaps the drone is indeed not so simple to find with radar alone.

    I would expect drones to be launched at night from a submarine in the future. Perhaps they already were?

  • PersianAdvocate October 8, 2012, 7:06 PM

    The best defense for the Jewish people is the moral high ground and clearly has been abused for decades now by a bunch who are more politically fundamentalist (NeoZionist) than like any Jews I know.

    • Davey October 8, 2012, 8:04 PM

      Yeah, but who handed them the keys to the kingdom in the first place. And why is this ethos of right wing aggression and lies, this view that any means are ok all the time, no matter what, why is this sustained?

  • Davey October 8, 2012, 8:18 PM

    Any savage act of Israeli aggression, any duplicitous self-serving rhetoric, or covert murder, etc….apparently all are undertaken in the name of saving or protecting a particular people, or a particular religion, or possibly the newer Israeli nationality, one or another or all three or maybe any two of the three, or maybe all three in one (there’s an idea) or something. Whatever it may be that is being protected constitutes the high moral ground, I think, and this is self-evident or should be. But I am new at this.

  • Linda J October 8, 2012, 9:59 PM

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