Report: U.S., Israel more closely linked than in 1991
TEL AVIV — 4 March - Middle East Newsline: Israel and the United States are in much closer coordination to face a war against Iraq than in the 1991 campaign, a report says.
The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies said in a report that Israel and the United States have concluded liasion and early-warning arrangements based on U.S. satellite coverage over western Iraq.
The report, authored by deputy director Ephraim Kam, asserted that the United States military has appointed a fulltime liasion with Israel. He is Gen. Charles Simpson, a senior officer at U.S. European Command who will spend the war in Israel.
"Coordination with the United States is much more detailed than in 1991," the report said. "There is an understanding that the U.S. will notify Israel shortly before it commences hostilities. There are also procedures in place for early warning of Iraqi missile launches: American satellites will provide constant coverage of western Iraq, and in the event of a missile launch, Israel will be immediately notified through the American liaison unit."
The report said the Israel will have about four minutes of warning to protect its citizens from a missile attack. This will give authorities time to activate sirens, broadcast radio and television alerts, and launch the Arrow-2 or PAC-2 interceptors.
On Tuesday, Israel deployed the first PAC-2 battery obtained in December from the United States. The PAC-2 battery was deployed in the Tel Aviv area and was identified as the improved Gem+ model. Two additional U.S. PAC-2 batteries will be deployed by Israel over the next few days.
The report said Israel has also received two PAC-2 systems from Germany. The Patriots will provide both anti-missile and anti-aircraft backup for the Arrow, the report said.
Israel's military has also deployed a command that will quickly respond to biological or chemical weapons strikes. The report said the Home Front Command has been trained to identify warhead payloads and evacuate civilians from contaminated areas.
"Nevertheless, insufficient coordination with local authorities has raised concern in the defense establishment about the possibility of public disorder if rapid evacuation of the population is necessary," the report said. "The defense establishment, which wants to convey a general message of reassurance, takes exception to the plans of some municipalities in the greater Tel Aviv area to evacuate to safer areas those citizens who want to leave; it argues that such plans are superfluous and may well sow panic."