Israeli Leader Sees Burgeoning Missile Threat In Middle East
A mushrooming, proliferating and increasing longer-range missile threat in the Middle East shows the rising danger facing the United States and the rest of the world as terrorists and rogue nations go ballistic.
That was the somber assessment last week of Uzi Rubin, former head of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, as he detailed the prolonged and viciously deadly missile attacks on Israel last summer.
He spoke Wednesday before a breakfast forum of the National Defense University Foundation and the National Defense Industrial Association at the Capitol Hill Club.
Proliferation of missiles with steadily longer ranges are an increasingly lethal threat, “air power on the cheap,” Rubin indicated. Missiles in rogue state or terrorist enemy hands now encompass a spectrum, from smaller weapons with ranges of just a few kilometers to those with ranges of several thousands of kilometers, he said.
He detailed how missiles fired by Hezbollah terrorists from Lebanon caused ruinous devastation in Israel:
Estimates vary, but they agree that the Muslim terrorists fired about 4,000 rockets into Israel, often at civilian population centers.
There were 450 attacks by longer-range weapons, those traveling 50 kilometers (roughly 31 miles) or more.
Rocket attacks hit 907 built-up areas in Israel.
The enemy assault killed 53 civilian Israelis.
Another 350 were wounded severely.
The rain of rockets heavily damaged or totally destroyed 2,000 structures — homes, public services facilities or industrial buildings.
Rocket blasts triggered 500 forest or brush fires.
And the attacks forced people to flee bombarded areas, with 250,000 civilians evacuated and relocated.
The murderous terrorist rampage demolished things as big as businesses, and as small as cars and humans.
Israel quickly responded to the waves of attacks.
For example, Rubin noted, a massive preemption strike took out most of the rockets that Hezbollah obtained from Iran.
Responses also were initiated against shorter-range fixed site rocket launchers wielded by the enemy. And there was a continuous hunt for enemy rocket launchers.
Interestingly, Rubin said missile defense was deployed, but not used.
While Israel relied heavily on air power to demolish enemy missile launching sites, a lesson learned is that one also must use missile defense systems to form a shield against enemy missiles, and ground forces should be used as well.
The burgeoning missile threat includes an intimidating, lethal panoply of weapons, such as Syrian Scuds: Scud B with a range of 300 kilometers (roughly 186 miles), Scud C at 500 kilometers (around 310 miles), and Scud D at 700 kilometers (about 435 miles).
Accuracy of the Scud D has been improved, Rubin indicated.
Rockets, he said, have been selected by the enemy to assume the major role in attacks against Israeli population centers. Missiles are used in escalatory situations.
He also pointed to the rapid development of Iranian missile technology. For example, he said, Iran has the Shahab missile.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Iran possesses a wide range of these weapons.
Iranian weapons have ranges of 2,500 kilometers (1,550 or so miles) to 3,500 kilometers (some 2,175 miles), and Iran is developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, he said, listed officially as a space capability lifter.
North Korea, too, is developing greatly increased missile capabilities, he noted.
Enemies wish to wage war with the United States by employing stealth, cunning and an abundance of light, easy-to-use weapons, he said.
Overall, the terrorist/rogue state enemy objective is to extend all the way to the opponent’s homeland, with an objective of overcoming the opponent’s advantage — Western technology, he said.
In sum, the enemy strategy, Rubin stated, is to achieve victory by destruction of the opponent’s willpower.