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Yet Another Iron Dome Failure: Mistook Syrian Fireworks for Missiles


In this blog, I’ve regularly recounted the multiple failures of the Iron Dome missile defense system.  Yes, the very same one the U.S. has invested nearly a billion dollars in financing on Israel’s behalf.  In a fraud that is all too common for complex U.S. weapons systems, a product fulfills a political purpose and despite its operational failure continues being purchased and supported.  Iron Dome gives Israelis a false sense of protection and security that is fueled by false claims by the IDF and the system’s manufacturer.  As a result, the millions keep coming while the system doesn’t improve.

This was evident yesterday as Iron Dome fired upon a purported missile that threatened Israel.  The only problem: there was no missile.  Iron Dome mistook fireworks (Hebrew) shot off to celebrate Bashar al-Assad’s election “victory” for enemy missiles.  When IDF personnel detected the mistake they destroyed the missiles so they wouldn’t cause injuries to civilians.  So we have a massively expensive, “sophisticated” weapons system that can’t tell the difference between a cherry bomb and a missile.  Is it possible the U.S. can spend $1-billion on a product so shoddy?  And no one will be held accountable?  And Israelis will continue to be snookered into sleeping soundly in the belief they are protected.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Rain June 6, 2014, 2:19 AM

    Where did you get the idea of fireworks from? There’s no mention of fireworks in the linked article in hebrew. What it says is that Iron Dome was fired by mistake in response to Syrian fire that accidentally strayed over the border. And that there were a number of fires on the Golan causes by this stray fire. No mention of fireworks at all.

    • Richard Silverstein June 6, 2014, 12:44 PM

      @ Rain: It says Syrians were celebrating the election of Bashar al Assad. Usually people celebrate elections with fireworks. Something they did during the celebration caused Iron Dome to activate. It had to be some sort of fire or munition. I doubt bullets fired in the air would activate Iron Dome. Hence fireworks are the most likely cause. Now, if you’d like to argue that there were no fireworks, then we can suppose there was nothing that caused it to activate on the Syrian side, which would make the failure even worse. Is that the direction you’d like to go?

      • N"M June 6, 2014, 7:43 PM

        You are a very silly person.

        The missiles were fired “in error” because the system identified mortars fired from Syria to Syria as if they were going to land in Israel. No “fireworks”. The article says it could be celebratory fire that came too close to the border.

        “Usually people celebrate elections with fireworks” – in this part of the world, celebratory gunfire is more common. You don’t seem to understand Hebrew and you don’t seem to understand the customs around here, and yet you think you can talk as some kind of authority.

        • Richard Silverstein June 6, 2014, 9:53 PM

          @ N”M: First thing: look at the Nana report again. Where does it say anything about mortar fire? Nowhere. It talks about yeri pnimi (“internal fire” ie from Syria). You read a different article saying it was mortar fire, & assumed it was the Nana article & then in your superior wisdom decided I didn’t know Hebrew. Which makes you an ass. I hate asses.

          But even if we allow the article did say it was mortar fire (which it didn’t), I’ve never heard of firing mortars as “celebratory fire” after an election victory. Can you show me any example anywhere of such a phenomenon in the Middle East or anywhere else?

          The whole thing stinks to high heaven. In case you’re uncertain about this: mortars and gunfire are quite different things. Of course gunfire is quite common everywhere, not just the Middle East. But mortar fire? Not so much.

          Watch your step. Comment rules require being careful before you fling false accusations as you have. Do that again & you’ll be moderated.

          • N"M June 7, 2014, 2:24 AM

            You are, indeed, a very silly person

            1) So using multiple sources to understand a story is not kosher for you. Haha you’re funny

            2) Who said mortars were NOT fired? Your famous high source? Who’s being an ass? Are you a self-hating ass?

            3) You want people not to “fling false accusations” but you’re free to do it all day and night

            Moderate this, sucker.

          • Richard Silverstein June 7, 2014, 1:38 PM

            @ N”M: Calling me “a silly person” doesn’t constitute an argument, so drop the shtuyot.

            I never said multiple sources were treif. I said I based my post on the source I knew. YOU added a new source claiming it was my own original source which contradicted what I wrote in my post. You were WRONG. You said I didn’t understand Hebrew and were wrong about that as well. BTW, you haven’t even offered a link to the article you used which you claim referred to mortars. I’d like to see that.

            I never said mortars were not fired (though you haven’t offered any proof of it). I said my own original source did NOT say they were. I find a claim of firing mortars to celebrate an election victory to lack credibility. Do you see or hear any mortars fired on the minute long video in my post? I don’t.

            You asked for it, you’re moderated.

  • Alex June 6, 2014, 1:41 PM

    What caused the fires on the Israeli side of Golan Heights then? Fireworks?
    I also find it strange that someone would fire live munition to Israel as a “part of celebration”… But what happened remains unclear.

  • Michael Lever June 7, 2014, 1:47 AM

    Iron Dome and rockets from Gaza are part of the same narrative. The rockets have not caused mass fatalities despite their nunbers at time. But they do very effectively simultaneously inflict terror on the Israeli population, while garnering ongoing growth of international support for Palestinians at the inevitably disproportionate Israeli response. The rockets are not a real threat – but Israel needs them to be one. And how better to maximise the potential threat of one’s enemy than to assure the public only a billion dollar machine can keep them safe. Imho of course.

  • Mike July 9, 2014, 7:23 PM

    [comment deleted--major comment rule violation]

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