Wikileaks: IDF Chief of Staff Preparing for New Missile War Against Hamas, Hezbollah
A new Wikileaks cable published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, recounts a meeting between IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and a U.S. Congressional delegation headed by then-House armed services chair, Ike Skelton. The newspaper offers an overview of the meeting:
Documents of the talks between the Ashkenazi and Skelton, as well as numerous other documents from the same period of time that Aftenposten has gained access to leave a clear message: The Israeli military is in full swing to prepare for a new war in the Middle East…in the same areas where previous wars took place, namely in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip…
“I’m preparing the Israeli army in a major war since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite,” he told his American interlocutors.
“Israel is also on a collision course with Hamas,” [he warned]….In the next war Israel could not accept any restrictions on warfare in urban areas, continued Ashkenazi. During the war in Gaza…the Israeli army made mistakes, but never attacked civilians deliberately, he claimed.
Ashkenazi told the Congressional delegation he was more worried about the threat from Hamas and Hezbollah, whose rockets could blanket virtually all of Israel, than Iran. However, he did note that Iran had 300 Shihab ballistic missiles that would give Israel only 12 minutes warning before striking. All of this was designed to emphasize the IDF’s focus on missile defense in its strategic doctrine.
The Israeli general boasted of close U.S.-Israeli intelligence cooperation:
The Israeli army also has a very good cooperation with the NSA, the American intelligence organization, [he said].
In a separate briefing among Sen. Kirstein Gillenbrand, Gen. Yoav Galant, and unnamed Israeli intelligence officers, the following mendacious sophistry was offered:
Representatives of Israeli intelligence claimed that in the Gaza war [the IDF] had shown great restraint: During Cast Lead, the IDF operated with limited power and without [any intent] to occupy territory in Gaza. It was decided also not to go into the main urban areas. The result was that an operation that could have lasted three days, took three weeks, said the Israeli General Yoav Galant.
Also, the U.S. estimate of the Hezbollah rocket arsenal is half that of the IDF estimate: 20,000 compared to 40,000. There seems to be a standard IDF intelligence policy of exagrerating the threat posed by Israel’s enemies. The scary warning that a Shihab would hit Israel 12 minutes after firing seems of a piece with this alarmism. Note too, Israel’s continually moving target date for Iran to become nuclear-ready.
One wonders whether any of the U.S. elected officials privy to these meetings believed anything they were told. I presume the fact that they attended meant they attached at least some crediblity to the words of their Israeli interlocutors.
24 thoughts on “Wikileaks: IDF Chief of Staff Preparing for New Missile War Against Hamas, Hezbollah – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Of course they did. That’s why Israel received a largess of ~$200 million twice while Americans lost homes and stood in unemployment lines for an all-too-expensive White Elephant called the Iron Dome and no major media outlet in America cared to tell us about it. One wonders how US interests are advanced by giving Israel a system that makes it more comfortable pursuing bellicose policies that place our troops in danger and raise our need for homeland security.
Americans lost homes and stood in line while banks received 700 Billion dollars. Comparitively, 200 million dollars is chump change, and as the intent is to safeguard the lives of 7 million human beings, quite a moral expenditure.
As for the overall increase in Islamic animosity toward the US, are you insinuating that instead of 150 million Muslims agreeing with the notion that destrying the US is moral, there are now 150,000,001?
What? Who said I speak for Muslims? Who said Muslims are animous towards the US? That is Israeli foreign policy — to make it “us” versus them. Americans have nothing in common with Israelis. It’s a shame.
400 million plus dollars would have been better spent on Americans, along with the 3 billion per year. Get your facts straight and get better about your Islamophobia.
This blog and the comment threads will NOT be a forum for racism and other nonsense. A majority of Americans agree that Israel or the U.S. should attack Iran. Does that mean that every citizen of Iran has the right to view us as subhuman as you do the world’s Muslims? Get off it & read the comment rules if you want to continue commenting here w/o being moderated or worse.
Nice to see btw, that above you’re justifying an expenditure of $200 million by the U.S. gov’t to support covert & overt ops directly on behalf of Israel regarding Iran. Why don’t we go whole hog and announce to the world that we ARE Israel. Then we could fight on Israel’s behalf directly just like we did in Europe in WWI and WWII. Send American boys to die in Gaza, Lebanon & Iran too. Why not?
I spoke of 150 million Muslims, 10% of the Islamic world. That is hardly being Islamophobic or racist.
Aside from that, do you actually believe American died on behalf of Israel in WWI and WWII?
Again, $200 million is chump change in a $1.5 trillion dollar budget.
And what about claiming a percentage being blood-thirsty, racist, and insane infers that they are not human?
Ah, I see. Those 150 million fictional Muslims who are blood thirsty, racist & insane are NOT subhuman? What are they then? Model citizens?
This entire line of arguments bores me to tears. Can it or you’ll be moderated.
Only 347 women in France wear Burqas — FACT
They are absolutely human. I don’t see how you have any qualifications whatsoever in the determination of what makes one human or not.
Liars & scum, but still human. Nice of you to accord them that status despite yr overall low opinion of 150 million Muslims.
I don’t understand your statement about alarmism especially when it comes to the time it will take a Sheab 3 launched from Iran to hit Israel
Speed of the Sheab3 is about 5500 km/h, distance between tel-aviv to teheran about 985 miles, do the math. Consider the location of the iranien missile bases west of teheran (shorter distance), and you will get a time from launch to impact of about 12 – 13 min.
as for the israeli time-line with respect to nuclear iran, it was pushed back to 2013. Such was stated last week in an interview i think with minister moshe yalon.
as for Hezbollah rocket/missile arsenal, where did you get the number of 20,000 from ? from wiki leaks ?
It’s funny because no Iranian has threatened Israel with any missile, whether Shebab or other. The only nation threatening another with missile attack is Israel toward Iran. That’s why Ashkenazi’s histrionics are grandstanding for the sake of the U.S. Congressional audience who, he knows, have the power to approve the missile defense appropriations offered Israel by our gov’t.
That would be about the 10th time or so Israel has “readjusted” its timeline.
Didn’t you read the Aftenposten article to which I linked? It’s right there at the end. The U.S. embassy made its own count of Hezbollah’s missile stockpile and undercut Israel’s estimate by half. It’s in the cable.
Correct. Israel has even threatened to attack Iran with nukes on live television. Just google “Israel threatens Iran” with the quotations included and you will get thousands of hits.
There was an excellent summary posted a few days ago of how the Iranians have been on the brink of a nuclear weapon…for nearly 30 years.
Either they’re REALLY bad at developing nukes, or we’re being lied to. And since newspapers and politicians never lie…
one more thing, the sheab 3 is not a cruise missle, its a medium range ballistic missile, big different.
Ballistic missile follows a sub-orbital ballistic path at the end of its path gravity brings it down. A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine.
The Aftenposten article called it a cruise missile. It may’ve been a mistranslation introduced by Google. Thanks for noting that error.
The Iranians have developed cruise missiles as well as purchased them. So, this is a moot point albeit a correct one.
RE: “I presume the fact that they attended meant they attached at least some crediblity to the words of their Israeli interlocutors.” – R.S.
MY COMMENT: Would anyone fail to attend the meeting(s) [no matter how lacking in credibly they might consider the info] and risk word of their absence(s) getting back to AIPAC?
Richard, you wrote much like AFP: “A new Wikileaks cable published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten …”
I was looking for the cable to read it myself in full length, but I couldn’t find it there. I could only find a report on the cable citing some parts in Norwegian.
Is there any diect llink to the cable itself?
That’s what I’d like too. I haven’t yet found the original online. Afterposten says it has all 250,000 of the cables so it’s entirely possible it’s publishing a cable that even the Wikileaks site hasn’t yet published.
“Also, the U.S. estimate of the Hezbollah rocket arsenal is half that of the IDF estimate: 20,000 compared to 40,000.”
Was this in the Aftenposten story? If not I’d appreciate a source for this.
“There seems to be a standard IDF intelligence policy of
exagrerating the threat posed by Israel’s enemies.”
You do remember that your own defense minister claimed that Hezbollah had amassed an arsenal of rockets surpassing that of most nation states, right?
“The scary warning that a Shihab would hit Israel 12 minutes after firing seems of a piece with this alarmism.”
First of all, your story has Ashkenazi referring to warning time, not time of flight. Secondly, this is a purely technical issue. If you have a specific reason for doubting this figure, I’d like to hear it.
“Note too, Israel’s continually moving target date for Iran to become nuclear-ready.”
Some of these movements are actually the result of different definitions for “nuclear-ready”- mastering the nuclear fuel cycle vs. having enough enriched Uranium for a bomb vs. developing an operational nuclear warhead and mounting it on a launch vehicle etc.
(BTW: It’s spelled Shahab, not Shihab)
Listen everyone. Do what I did & use an online translator like Google to read the story in English (or Hebrew possibly) & you will readily find the statement at the end of the article. Is that too much to ask anyone requesting that I verify my statement in the post before you become the 2nd commenter to waste our time asking for things to be handed to you on a silver platter.
No, not a “technical issue” at all. He was using this to provoke hysteria among his interlocutors & their willingness to continue funding all manner of anti missile systems Congress might approve to defend Israel.
Google Translator translated the spelling of the missile’s name this way & I used that spelling.
Richard, below is a translation of the Norwegian article using translate.google.com
i was unable to located the number you mentioned 20,000. if you could please refer me to the right spot. in fact in my translation Hezbollah/Lebanon/ Ashkenazi aren’t even mention.
November 2009 set a high-level group of Americans and Israelis together in Tel Aviv. On the agenda was the political and military situation in the Middle East. Concern about Iran’s nuclear program dominated both the American and Israeli delegation, it appears from a document that Aftenposten have accessed via Wikileaks.
The document states that the Israeli government was looking at 2010 as a critical year, provided that the Iranians continued to increase the protection around the nuclear installations. -Both sides then discussed the upcoming delivery of GBU-28 “bunker-bombs shatter” to Israel. Mon noted that deliveries should take place in silence so that we could avoid allegations that the U.S. government to help Israel to prepare for an attack on Iran, “the document.
GBU-28 is a powerful bomb that was developed before the Iraq war in 1991. The Americans wanted then to have a bomb that could penetrate the Iraqi command centers that were under the earth and / or behind reinforced concrete. The bomb is 5,000 pounds, that is approximately 2260 kg and is laser guided. From the discussion in the leaked document from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, it seems that the Israelis have obtained the bombs, by all accounts, 100 pieces, to break the Iranian nuclear program, the day they were to become necessary.
Apart from this ascertainment in one of the leaked Wikileaks documents, it is between Americans and Israelis surprisingly small acute anxiety for the Iranian nuclear program. The Israelis take the matter up again and again and makes it clear that an Iranian nuclear bomb would be disastrous for peace efforts in the Middle East. In autumn 2009, it is nevertheless clear that both Israelis that Americans believe that they still have time before an Iranian nuclear bomb is a fact. The Israelis therefore want Americans to continue their efforts to deter the Iranians through sanctions. To get Russia and China on board, is imperative.
In a memo from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv from September 2009 says a top official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry that the EU and the U.S. together can implement hard-hitting sanctions against Iran even without Russia and China. The Israeli government also expects that, within the EU in this case will face protests from the usual “acquaintances of the police” (Usual Suspects), namely, Austria, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Sweden. In another memo from December 2009 the Israeli government expresses delight that the Swedish EU presidency draws to a close.
Yr translation above is missing major chunks of the article. Here’s the relevant sentence that you’re missing which I inlcluded in my post:
In other words, the U.S. military attache presumably provided his own analysis of Hezbollah capabilities for the sake of balancing the analysis offered by Ashkenazi, & the U.S. analysis is half the Israeli estimate.
sorry for that, was looking at the wrong article. i found it.