20 April 2024

Contenders vie for Gulf’s growing UAV market

Albert Vidal Ribe

The United States sparked interest in uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Gulf region with the extensive use of such systems in the early 2000s, but concerns in Washington about transferring the technology opened the door to Chinese and Turkish exports and, more recently, home-grown solutions.

After a period of selective purchases, some of the Gulf states have become among the most active buyers of UAVs. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone has placed orders for around 500 UAVs in recent years. Those include deals with Baykar for 60 Bayraktar TB2 medium and 60 Akinci heavy UAVs and with Swiss-headquartered Anavia to supply 200 rotorcraft UAVs. International Golden Group and ADASI, subsidiaries of UAE defence conglomerate EDGE, are also on contract for uninhabited systems.

Saudi Arabia placed the largest-ever order by value of Turkish UAVs last year in a deal valued at around USD3 billion. And the number of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members buying is also growing. Until around 2017, only the UAE and Saudi Arabia had made purchases, but since then, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar have also ordered Turkish or Chinese UAVs, even if in lower numbers.

US military says it destroyed dozens of drones fired from Iran, Yemen

The United States has destroyed dozens of drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen, its military has said.

US forces hit more than 80 one-way attack drones, including seven UAVs targeted on the ground prior to launch, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday.

“Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behaviour endangers regional stability and the safety of U.S. and coalition forces,” CENTCOM said in a post on X

“CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security.”

CENTCOM made the announcement after Iran late on Saturday launched its first-ever attack on Israeli territory in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on its embassy in Syria.

The attack involving more than 300 drones and missiles caused only modest damage as most were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system or the US and its partners.

Whatever the American Left may want, Biden will continue his support for Israel. For him, it is an electoral necessity

Henry Olsen

Iran’s brazen attack on Israel was thwarted, but it remains unclear if Israel will retaliate.

President Joe Biden purportedly warned Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu not to, telling him to “take the win” instead. This has raised the hopes of some in his party that Biden can prevail on Israel to restrain its response, and that he might even break with Netanyahu if his request goes unheeded.

That is extremely unlikely. Biden is a very unpopular president and needs all the support he can muster. It’s clear that both within his own Democratic Party and among voters at large, Biden ultimately will have to back Israel even if it launches an attack that Biden doesn’t like.

It’s easy to see why when one looks at polls. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll taken right before Iran’s attack found that American likely voters backed Israel over the Palestinians in their ongoing dispute by a nearly 2-1 margin.

That result is heavily tilted by Trump backers’ heavy support for Israel, but roughly a quarter of Biden’s voters and 23 per cent of those who currently back other candidates also favour Israel over the Palestinians.

Cutting off aid or backing away from Israel after it has been assaulted by Iran – a nation widely viewed unfavourably across the American political spectrum – would risk alienating people he needs to beat Trump.

That’s particular true among the Jewish population. Much has been made of the influence Arab voters can wield in marginal Michigan.

Israel Has A Big Call To Make: How To Retaliate Against Iran’s Missile And Drone Attack?

Alexander Gale

On the night of Saturday, April 13th, Iran carried out an attack on Israel using a mix of over 300 drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. However, the impact of the attack was comprehensively blunted by Israel’s successful interception efforts, with some assistance from the US, the UK, and France.

The Israeli government has indicated publicly that it will respond to Iran’s strike, but the exact nature and timing of this response remains unclear. Statements by Israeli officials have been vague, with Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi commenting on Monday that Iran’s attack “will be met with a response.” The Israeli military’s spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, similarly stated that Israel’s counteraction will come “at the time that we choose.”

High Stakes Posturing?

Iran’s attack on Saturday night was intended as retribution for the killing of senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers on April 1. Iran blamed Israel for the deaths which were caused by an airstrike on a diplomatic compound in Syria. “This unfair crime won’t go unanswered,” said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi the following day.

For Iran, a high-profile act of retaliation was important for two reasons. Firstly, Tehran needed to demonstrate to a domestic audience that it was taking a hard line on Israel. Secondly, it needed to signal to an international audience that it possesses the military capabilities and political will to secure its interests in the region and deter Israel.

Israel claims that 99 percent of the incoming drones and missiles were intercepted, and indeed, there appears to be little damage on the ground. However, there is reason to believe that Tehran was pursuing relatively limited objectives with the strike.

Ukraine is heading for defeat


Just ask a Ukrainian soldier if he still believes the West will stand by Kyiv “for as long as it takes.” That pledge rings hollow when it’s been four weeks since your artillery unit last had a shell to fire, as one serviceman complained from the front lines.

It’s not just that Ukraine’s forces are running out of ammunition. Western delays over sending aid mean the country is dangerously short of something even harder to supply than shells: the fighting spirit required to win.

Morale among troops is grim, ground down by relentless bombardment, a lack of advanced weapons, and losses on the battlefield. In cities hundreds of miles away from the front, the crowds of young men who lined up to join the army in the war’s early months have disappeared. Nowadays, eligible would-be recruits dodge the draft and spend their afternoons in nightclubs instead. Many have left the country altogether.

As I discovered while reporting from Ukraine over the past month, the picture that emerged from dozens of interviews with political leaders, military officers, and ordinary citizens was one of a country slipping towards disaster.

Even as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukraine is trying to find a way not to retreat, military officers privately accept that more losses are inevitable this summer. The only question is how bad they will be. Vladimir Putin has arguably never been closer to his goal.

Iran’s unprecedented direct strike against Israel

Michael K. Nagata, Kevin Donegan, Mick Mulroy, Jeff Jager


After promising to retaliate against an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian consular facility in Damascus, Iran carried out its first ever direct attack on Israel. Late on April 13, it launched hundreds of missiles and drones toward Israeli targets, though hours later, most were downed by the air-defense forces of Israel and its allies and partners.

In the latest installment of the Defense Rapid Reaction series, experts from MEI’s Defense & Security Program provide their views on the regional implications of Iran’s unprecedented attack, how the United States could or should respond, as well as what the incident suggests about the ability to deter Tehran in the future.

A sharp escalation, but the strategic reality remains largely unchanged

Iran’s airstrikes on Israel this weekend add another layer of strategic uncertainty to the turmoil gripping the Middle East. However, this attack probably changes very little strategically for the United States, or for Israel.

Although Iran reportedly unleashed hundreds of missiles and drones, which it justified as retaliation for Israel’s April 1 strike on Iranian personnel in Syria, the vast majority were shot down either along the way or by Israeli air defenses themselves. Tehran has already announced that, “The matter can be deemed concluded.” Whether the Israelis will deem it so remains to be seen, but popular sentiment in Israel urging reciprocal retaliation will likely be high, at least for now.

It’s Time for the World Bank to Break With Tradition

David Miliband
Source Link

The spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have little of the drama of peace negotiations. They are often dominated by technical and technocratic questions concerning the intricacies of international finance. But for the poorest people in the world, the decisions made at these meetings are matters of life and death.

Has the Iran–Israel conflict hit a stopping point after Tehran’s air attacks?

The Iranian attacks against Israel on Saturday 13 April were unprecedented, but they have not dented Israel’s escalation dominance. The two countries will remain locked in a downward spiral as long as the Hamas–Israel war continues.

In recent months, Israel has killed senior militia leaders and members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Syria and Lebanon and degraded its military infrastructure. Iran felt compelled to strike Israel directly after previously avoiding such a decision due to its concern that such action might prompt an all-out war in which it would be outgunned. By showing restraint, however, Tehran risked looking weak and indecisive, eroding the credibility of its deterrence, unnerving IRGC and militia commanders, and encouraging further Israeli attacks.

Iran’s air strike included hundreds of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles but was choreographed and telegraphed to limit damage and casualties. The Iranian mission at the United Nations issued a statement even before the projectiles hit Israel to announce an end to this round of escalation. Tellingly, the Lebanese non-state armed group Hizbullah played only a marginal role in the attacks: had Iran ordered the group to unleash a massive barrage of rockets from Israel’s north, it would have signalled that Tehran was interested in a full-on war.

Israel’s air defences were supplemented by American, British, French and Arab capabilities and destroyed most of the incoming projectiles. This shows that Israel remains dependent on external support in this multifront conflict. The countries that assisted Israel, meanwhile, remain wary of its risk appetite. Washington opposes a widening of the conflict and is urging Israel to declare success and move on.

Israel's Partial Victory in Gaza Will Cost it Long Term


Israel has undoubtedly weakened Hamas after six months of fighting in Gaza, but the short-term tactical gains against the militant group behind the Oct. 7 attack may come at a significant cost to Israel's long-term security as well as complicating potential post-war efforts to resolve one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

The Israel Defense Forces have killed thousands of Hamas fighters and seized critical military infrastructure, reducing the group's ability to launch future attacks. But Israel's actions in Gaza have led to charges of genocide in international court, isolated the country from its closest ally, the United States, and damaged chances of securing a last peace in the Middle East.

"Israel is being sent before the International Court of Justice and condemned by the UN. And most important of all, its relationship with the United States is fraying at the seams," Mohammed Hafez, an expert on Islamic political violence and Middle East politics at the Naval Postgraduate School, told Newsweek.

"While Israel has achieved substantial military success in its campaign in Gaza, it has destroyed its image around the world," Hafez said.

As the war hits the six-month mark, Israel faces growing criticism for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where more than 30,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict according to the Hamas authorities, which do not say how many of the group's fighters were among the dead.

Israel has yet to achieve its objectives of destroying Hamas and freeing all of the remaining hostages the group abducted in its attack last October, which killed approximately 1,200 people in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hasn't laid out a clear post-war plan for the Gaza Strip, raising questions about the war's longer-term ramifications — and renewing an existential debate about whether Israel can survive in its current form without agreeing to live alongside an independent Palestinian state or whether such an agreement would put it at greater risk.

How Many Israeli Hostages Still Held After 6 Months

David Brennan

Israel's punishing war on the Gaza Strip has thus far failed to free scores of hostages abducted during the Hamas October 7 infiltration attack into southern Israel, with the location and status of many of the prisoners unknown as the Palestinian exclave collapses under the weight of Israeli arms.

The Hamas-led attack saw more than 250 people abducted, and 1,163 killed per the latest figures published by the AFP citing government data. The subsequent Israeli offensive into Gaza has killed nearly 33,000 Palestinians, the Associated Press has reported citing data from the Gaza Health Ministry.

Exact figures have proven difficult to ascertain, such was the violence and chaos of the October 7 attack. The status of many hostages inside Gaza remains unclear amid the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation there. Hamas claims that several have been killed in IDF strikes. Hamas was also already holding some Israeli hostages before October 7, though it is not known whether they are still alive.

An IDF spokesperson told Newsweek on Friday that there are 134 hostages—among them 11 foreign nationals—still being held hostage, with 123 released.

A relative of one of the victims of the October 7 attacks visits an installation bearing photos of those who were killed or kidnapped during the event, at the site of the Nova festival in Re'im in southern Israel on April 2, 2024. More than 100 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip.

US Support for Israel Hits New Low as Iran Threat Looms

David Brennan

President Joe Biden on Wednesday declared that American backing for Israel is "ironclad," as the country braces for an expected Iranian retaliation for the assassination of a top Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander in Syria this month.

Israel is on high alert for the promised Iranian strike, which U.S. officials said on Wednesday could be "imminent" and may involve drones or cruise missiles.

"We're gonna do all we can to protect Israel's security," Biden told reporters.

But new poll results released this week show that American public support for Israel is waning across the political spectrum amid its devastating offensive on the Gaza Strip, a conflict that has unleashed fresh violence across the Middle East and put pressure on U.S. forces there.

Black smoke rises behind Palestinians returning to their homes in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 11. Israel has said its war will continue despite the withdrawal of most troops from the Palestinian exclave.

Gallup's latest survey of American sentiment on Israel was published this week and polled 1,016 people across the U.S. between March 1 and 20. The survey was conducted before Israel's killing of several World Central Kitchen aid workers and before the latest tense exchanges between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding Israeli policy in the Strip.

Zelensky questions why Ukraine doesn’t get same international defense efforts as Israel

Mike Brest

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky watched as the United States was part of an international effort to assist Israel in defending against Iran’s aerial assault.

Several countries shot down Iranian-fired ballistic and cruise missiles and one-way attack drones on Saturday night as they headed for Israel. But, those countries — the U.S., U.K., Jordan, and France — have not directly involved themselves in Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s regular aerial assaults over more than two years of war.

“The entire world witnessed allied action in the skies above Israel and neighboring countries. It demonstrated how truly effective unity in defending against terror can be when it is based on sufficient political will,” the Ukrainian leader said. “Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Jordan acted together and with maximum efficiency. Together, they prevented terror from prevailing. And they are working together, and in coordination with others, to prevent further escalation.”

Iran has provided hundreds of one-way attack drones to Russia over the course of the war.

He said Iran’s drones “sound identical” whether they’re targeted at Israel or Ukraine.

“European skies could have received the same level of protection long ago if Ukraine had received similar full support from its partners in intercepting drones and missiles. Terror must be defeated completely and everywhere, not more in some places and less in others,” Zelensky added.

Iran warns Israel, US of ‘severe response’ in case of retaliation

Iran has warned Israel of a larger attack on its territory should it retaliate against Tehran’s overnight drone and missile attacks, adding that the United States should not back an Israeli military action.

“If the Zionist regime [Israel] or its supporters demonstrate reckless behaviour, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement on Sunday.

Raisi’s statement follows a similar warning by Iranian military chief, Major-General Mohammad Bagheri, who told state TV that a “much larger” response awaits Israel “if it retaliates against Iran”.

Bagheri said the Iranian attack on Israel “has achieved all its goals, and in our view the operation has ended, and we do not intend to continue”.

Earlier on Sunday, he warned the US that any backing of Israeli retaliation would result in its bases being targeted by Iran.

However, in a signal that Iran’s response was calculated in an attempt to avoid any major escalation, the Iranian foreign minister Amir Abdollahian said that Tehran had informed the US of the planned attack 72 hours in advance, and said that the strikes would be “limited” and for self-defence.

That did not stop more aggressive language from other officials, with the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, warning that Tehran would retaliate against any Israeli attacks on its interests, officials or citizens.

What the United States needs to do after Iran’s attack on Israel - Opinion

The spectacle of Iranian missiles and drones heading for Israel, only to be almost entirely intercepted, has inspired astonishment at the first-ever direct attack on Israel from Iran and at the highly effective shield deployed by Israel and its allies, including the United States. But relief at the outcome should not distract from efforts to pass a long-stalled military aid bill for Ukraine, which is defending itself against similar missile attacks, and to resolve the grinding war in Gaza. Rather, it should encourage them.

In Congress, the two conflicts have been intertwined for months, because a Senate bill, the only aid package to pass at least one chamber would fund the defense of Ukraine and Israel. Linking the two made sense after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, as the United States sought to aid two democracies in peril. It also helped build political support for the bill, as it joined pro-Ukraine and pro-Israel lawmakers.

Since the aid bill passed the Senate six months ago, the situation has grown more complex. Concern about Israel’s Gaza operations has risen on the left and opposition to funding Ukraine on the right. After the weekend’s Iran attacks, voting for the aid package could become more palatable to both sides. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) should bring it to the floor quickly. Late Monday, however, he announced a complex plan to vote on simultaneous separate aid bills for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Over the House’s six months of pointless delay, by Republicans and at the urging of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Ukraine’s situation has become desperate. The country needs air defenses, ammunition and warplanes, from a coalition of countries like the one that intercepted Iran’s weekend fusillade aimed at Israel. Though neither money nor arms can solve Ukraine’s military manpower problems, the country has moved to call up more troops, at the risk that its limited cohort of young Ukrainians will die on the battlefield.

A quandary in Israel: How to retaliate — but not escalate? - Opinio

David Ignatius

Israeli officials have concluded that to deter Iran, they should retaliate for this weekend’s massive missile barrage, according to knowledgeable sources. But as the Israelis study lists of potential targets, they are looking for ways to deliver this hard-nosed message without escalating the crisis.

“The story is not over,” said a senior Israeli source. “Iran took this massive action to create new rules” by bombarding Israel directly as payback for its April 1 strike on Iranian operatives in Damascus, Syria. “If we do nothing, it will strengthen this line of thinking in Iran,” the senior Israeli said, stressing: “We do not seek to escalate this. We want to contain it. But we cannot let it pass.”

Israeli officials were bolstered by what a senior Biden administration official described as their “spectacular” success in shooting down more than 300 Iranian munitions over the weekend, with help from their partners. And they’re gratified by the newfound international support they received in this crisis. But “strong defense is not enough,” the senior Israeli source insisted.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has argued to Americans that to survive in the Middle East, Israel needs very strong deterrence — and that defense isn’t necessarily enough to deter Iran. Gallant, who has emerged as an increasingly important voice in the “war cabinet,” has been in frequent contact with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other top U.S. officials.

For the Biden administration, Israel’s determination to take another step up the ladder will probably be a disappointment. Officials had hoped that neutering Iran’s missile attack would be a sufficient show of strength and that a period of de-escalation in the broader Gaza conflict might follow. “Slow things down, think through things,” President Biden advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the defeat of Iran’s attack.

All the US assets that helped repel Iran’s attack on Israel

Geoff Ziezulewicz

A host of American military ships, jets and munitions played a vital role in repelling Iran’s attack on Israel over the weekend — an unprecedented barrage that involved hundreds of missiles and attack drones.

The Iranian attack on Saturday, less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building, marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

An Israeli military spokesman said that 99% of the drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted.

Part of that success rate had to do with the U.S. forces who aided the Israelis in taking out the airborne threats.

From the Mediterranean Sea, the Navy destroyers Carney and Arleigh Burke shot down multiple ballistic missiles in the attack, according to a defense official and media reports.

Carney has become a workhorse of the Navy in recent months and has been crucial to shooting down missile and drone attacks over the Red Sea sent by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since October.

The ship left the Middle Eastern waters of U.S. Central Command earlier this month and entered the Mediterranean. Officials at the time declined to say why it was on the move.

Meanwhile, White House officials confirmed that the Air Force’s 494th and 355th fighter squadrons also played a role in Israel’s defense, racking up dozens of aerial takedowns.

Israel’s War Leaders Don’t Trust One Another

Rory Jones

Six months into the conflict against Hamas, the Israeli public is deeply divided about how to win the war in the Gaza Strip. So, too, are the three top officials in the war cabinet meant to foster unity in that effort.

Long-simmering grudges and arguments over how best to fight Hamas have soured relations between Israel’s wartime decision makers—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the former head of the Israeli military, Benny Gantz. The three men are at odds over the biggest decisions they need to make: how to launch a decisive military push, free Israel’s hostages and govern the postwar strip.

Now, they also must make one of the biggest decisions the country has ever faced: how to respond to Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory. Their power struggle could affect whether the Gaza conflict spirals into a bigger regional fight with Iran that transforms the Middle East’s geopolitical order and shapes Israel’s relations with the U.S. for decades.

“The lack of trust between these three people is so clear and so significant,” said Giora Eiland, a former Israeli general and national security adviser.

Netanyahu, the nation’s longest-serving premier, increasingly is trying to direct the Gaza war by himself, while Gallant and Gantz are widely seen to be trying to cut out Netanyahu from decisions.

Gantz, the general who led Israel’s last major war against Hamas a decade ago, has previously expressed a desire to oust Netanyahu as prime minister. He called earlier this month for early elections in September after tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the prime minister’s handling of the war—a sign that Gantz’s base has grown frustrated with his role in a Netanyahu-led government.

The Lessons of Israeli Missile Defense

The performance of Israeli air defenses, combined with assistance from U.S. jets and interceptors, saved countless lives on the weekend. But Iran, Russia and other adversaries are learning from each engagement and probing for weaknesses to exploit. The U.S. needs to do more to deter and protect Americans from future assaults.

It’s no small irony that President Biden is hailing the success of missile and drone defenses over Israel. In the 1980s there was no more dedicated foe of missile defense than Sen. Joe Biden. Democrats have resisted or under-financed missile defenses for decades on grounds that they’re too expensive and too easily defeated by new technology.

Progressives oppose defenses because they think vulnerability somehow makes war less likely. On nuclear arms, the Union of Concerned Scientists and others prefer the doctrine of mutual-assured destruction to being able to shoot down enemy ICBMs.

Israel’s defenses proved how wrong this view is, displaying their practical and strategic value. If the more than 300 drones and ballistic and cruise missiles had reached their targets, Mr. Biden wouldn’t be able to say, as he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night, “take the win.” The mass casualties would have all but guaranteed a large-scale military escalation.

The weekend success of air defenses is a tribute to Israeli strategy and decades of investment in defense technology. U.S. assistance was also crucial—an example of alliance cooperation paying off in both directions. The U.S. helped to finance Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which evolved into a co-production agreement that also covers gaps in U.S. missile defenses. The weekend exchange shows that Israel’s defense capability is far superior to Iran’s—at least for now.

Suspending The Rule Of Tolerable Violence: Israel’s Attack And Iran’s Retaliation – OpEd

Binoy Kampmark

The Middle East has, for some time, been a powder keg where degrees of violence are tolerated with ceremonial mania and a calculus of restraint. Assassinations can take place at a moment’s notice. Revenge killings follow with dashing speed. Suicide bombings of immolating power are carried out. Drone strikes of devastating, collective punishment are ordered, all padded by the retarded notion that such killings are morally justified and confined.

In all this viciousness, the conventional armed forces have been held in check, the arsenals contained, the generals busied by plans of contingency rather than reality. The rhetoric may be vengeful and spicily hysterical, but the states in the region keep their armies in reserve, and Armageddon at bay. Till, naturally, they don’t.

To date, Israel is doing much to test the threshold of what might be called the rule of tolerable violence. With Iran, for instance, it has adopted a “campaign between the wars”, primarily in Syria. For over a decade, the Israeli strategy was to prevent the flow of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah, intercepting weapons shipments and targeting storage facilities. “Importantly,” writes Haid Haid, a consulting fellow for Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, “Israel appeared to avoid, whenever feasible, killing Hezbollah or Iranian operatives during these operations.”

But the state of play has changed. The Gaza War, which has become more the Gaza Massacre Project, has moved into its seventh month, packing morgues, destroying families and stimulating the terror of famine. Despite calls from the Israeli military and various officials that Hamas’s capabilities have been irreparably weakened (this claim, like all those battling an idea rather than just a corporeal foe, remains refutable and redundant) the killings and policy of starvation continues against the general Palestinian populace. The International Court of Justice interim orders continue to be ignored, even as the judges deliberate over the issue as to whether genocide is taking place in the Gaza Strip. The restraints, in other words, have been taken off.

Pentagon Provides More Details Of Israel, US Partnering To Neutralize Iranian Airborne Attacks

C. Todd Lopez

Last weekend, Iran and its proxy groups launched more than 300 airborne weapons at targets in Israel, but the U.S., Israeli and partner forces destroyed a significant portion of them before they reached their targets.

Among the weapons launched from locations in Iran, Syria and Yemen were over 110 medium-range ballistic missiles, more then 30 land-attack cruise missiles, and over 150 uncrewed aerial vehicles. The attack began in Israel late Saturday evening and ended early in the morning on April 14.

U.S. Central Command forces, supported by the U.S. Navy destroyers USS Arleigh Burke and USS Carney, destroyed more than 80 one-way attack UAVs and at least six of the ballistic missiles, said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder during a briefing yesterday.

“As our actions demonstrated, the U.S. support for the defense of Israel is robust,” Ryder said. “It also demonstrates the long-standing security cooperation relationship that the United States has — not only with Israel, but with countries throughout the region — when it comes to addressing regional threats. Those kinds of things don’t happen overnight. Those kinds of relationships and the ability to work together, to interoperate together all played out and saved many lives.”

How Might Israel Strike Back?

Daniel Byman

Iran’s massive drone and ballistic missile strikes on Israel failed to inflict significant damage, but Israeli leaders have vowed to respond to the aggression, although they avoided specifics. Israeli leaders face two questions: Should Israel retaliate, and if so, how?

On the one hand, Iran’s attack was unprecedented—a direct and open strike by an adversary on the Israeli homeland. Had it not been for Israel’s excellent defenses and help from the United States, United Kingdom, and Jordan, the consequences could have been devastating. On the other hand, the strike fizzled. A young girl was seriously injured in the attack, but beyond that there were no major losses, and given the scale of the strike that is impressive. Israel is even enjoying a rare moment of international support, a break from the near-constant criticism of the country over its war in Gaza.

The Netanyahu government has multiple goals, and these pull Israel in different directions when it comes to retaliation. Perhaps most importantly, Israel seeks to maintain deterrence. Since its inception, the Jewish state has been surrounded by foes, and despite peace deals and broader regional acceptance, it still has many enemies. Its security depends in part on those enemies being too afraid to menace Israel, and that in turn requires that those who attack Israel pay a stiff price for doing so.

Deterrence against Iran is particularly important. Iran supports an array of terrorist groups against Israel, regularly denounces Israel in its rhetoric, and has conducted bloody terrorist attacks of its own against Jewish and Israeli targets. Perhaps of greatest concern, Iran has an advanced nuclear program (though not yet nuclear weapons), and Israelis rightly worry that Iran would use nuclear weapons to threaten or attack Israel if deterrence is not robust.

Israeli leaders also seek to reassure the Israeli public: citizens need to know their governments will protect them in the face of external threats, and history has made Israeli Jews especially sensitive to security.

Laser Rocket Anti-Drone Systems Being Rushed To U.S. Forces In The Middle East


The U.S. Navy recently put in a rush order for new counter-drone systems that use laser-guided 70mm rockets as their effectors to help defend American forces in the Middle East. The Electronic Advanced Ground Launcher System (EAGLS) is very similar in form and function to U.S.-supplied VAMPIREs that Ukrainians are now using in combat. The purchase of the EAGLS came just days ahead of Iran's unprecedented missile and drone strikes on Israel, which have only added to long-standing concerns about uncrewed aerial and other threats to U.S. forces in the region.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced on April 12 that it had awarded a firm-fixed-price contract with a not-to-exceed value of $24,186,464 to MSI Defense Solutions for the purchase of five EAGLS Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS). This sole-source deal also includes various ancillary items and training support.

EAGLS uses laser-guided 70mm Advanced Precision Killer Weapon System II (APKWS II) rockets, as seen in the video below, to knock down drones.

"This contract action is" in response to an urgent need to respond to "emerging and persistent UAS threats in the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR)," according to an associated Justification and Approval document the Navy released. U.S. government agencies have to submit justification documents like this in order to receive authority to award contracts without going through normal competitive bidding processes.

Israel's Attack Underscores the Need for Modernized Doctrine

Andy Yakulis

On the night of April 13th, 2024 - Iran launched hundreds of one-way drones and ballistic missiles to strike deep into Israel. The unmanned drones flew towards pre-designated targets, most likely navigating from GPS coordinates. Thankfully, 99% of the invading munitions were shot down.

However, two of the most powerful western militaries, the US and Israel, leveraged technology, doctrine, and tactics from a previous era. They successfully defended the attack this time, but they must innovate their technology as well as their doctrine and training. The same defensive tactics used on Saturday night might not fare as well in future battles. The US, Israel, and other allies and partners are still using doctrine and technology from a previous era - this may have worked on Saturday night but was costly and shows a lack of incorporation of innovative solutions to defeat a modern threat.

Traditionally, deep penetration strikes were flown by pilots in expensive planes. Pilots are expensive to train, expensive to equip, expensive to feed. They have fears, emotions, families, and varying capabilities. A cheap, “attritable” drone can be rapidly produced; it knows no fear, it never misinterprets orders, it performs the task according to the objective parameters it is programmed for, and it can be produced in an infinite capacity.

Iran has refined its drone technology due to the new concept of drone-warfare seen in the Russian-Ukraine war. Iran has supplied Russia with thousands, possibly tens of thousands of Shahed-136 drones. These drones can fly far, carry a significant payload of 45 to 90 pounds, and most importantly: are cheap.

At the beginning of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, Russia was dependent on Iran to supply them with the one-way suicide drone, sometimes referred to as a loitering munition. Russia and Iran increased their manufacturing capability and improved on the Shahed design which the Russian variant has rebranded as the Geran-2. While Iran continues to supply Russia with both finished products or parts for assembly in Russia, they are also exporting their cheap and effective suicide drones to their proxy forces.

The Paris Olympics’ One Sure Thing: Cyberattacks

Tariq Panja

In his office on one of the upper floors of the headquarters of the Paris Olympic organizing committee, Franz Regul has no doubt what is coming.

“We will be attacked,” said Mr. Regul, who leads the team responsible for warding off cyberthreats against this year’s Summer Games in Paris.

Companies and governments around the world now all have teams like Mr. Regul’s that operate in spartan rooms equipped with banks of computer servers and screens with indicator lights that warn of incoming hacking attacks. In the Paris operations center, there is even a red light to alert the staff to the most severe danger.

So far, Mr. Regul said, there have been no serious disruptions. But as the months until the Olympics tick down to weeks and then days and hours, he knows the number of hacking attempts and the level of risk will rise exponentially. Unlike companies and governments, though, who plan for the possibility of an attack, Mr. Regul said he knew exactly when to expect the worst.

“Not many organizations can tell you they will be attacked in July and August,” he said.

Worries over security at major events like the Olympics have usually focused on physical threats, like terrorist attacks. But as technology plays a growing role in the Games rollout, Olympic organizers increasingly view cyberattacks as a more constant danger.

World braces for Iran-Israel cyberattacks following missile attack

Sam Sabin

Cyberattacks are likely to be high on the list of options Israel and Iran are considering this week as they map out retaliatory actions, experts say.

Why it matters: Iran's drone and missile attack against Israel on Saturday brought the two nations into unprecedented territory.
  • Israel's military leaders have already vowed to respond to the attack.
The big picture: Israel and Iran have long had a fraught relationship, filled with covert operations and destructive cyberattacks.
  • Iran's weekend attack was the first time either country had launched a missile from its own territory toward the other.
What they're saying: "The overt hostility and the overt physical aspects of the state-on-state confrontation moved things into a different sphere," Andrew Borene, executive director for global security at Flashpoint, told Axios.