Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-emphasized Tuesday that an Iranian or Hezbollah presence in the Syrian Golan Heights is an Israeli red line. Speaking to Russian news agencies in Moscow, Netanyahu said, “We have a red line, a boundary that we will not allow to be broken. Iran will not be allowed, using Hezbollah, to use Syrian territory to attack us and open up another terrorist front against us in the Golan.” He continued, “We have made a point of staying out of the Syrian conflict, with two exceptions: treating wounded Syrians on a humanitarian basis and preventing Iran from using Syria to attack Israel or to transfer sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah. We don’t know what will come of Syria but in any arrangement, it cannot be an Iranian base for terrorism and aggression.” Netanyahu made clear that “Israel will continue to share its concerns with the Russian government regarding Hezbollah. This terrorist group has called for the murder of every Jew and therefore must be prevented from acquiring advanced weaponry from anyone.” Russia has intervened in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Bashar al-Assad regime, Iran, and Hezbollah. Israel and Russia came to an agreement last September to coordinate so that their two air forces would not accidentally fire at each other over Syrian air space.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has previously explained to Russian President Vladimir Putin, “in no uncertain terms,” that Israel will not accept an Iranian and Hezbollah front on the Syrian Golan Heights, and confirmed in April that Israel had taken action dozens of times to prevent weaponry from falling into Hezbollah’s hands. Arab media reported last month that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) had struck a weapons convoy on the Syria-Lebanon border destined for Hezbollah. Syrian and Lebanese news outlets reported last October that the IAF had struck Hezbollah and Assad regime targets in the Qalamoun mountains along the Syria-Lebanon border, while Syrian opposition groups stated that there had been strikes near Damascus. For their part, Iranian and Syrian media reported that Israel had attacked in the Golan. Then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the day after these reported strikes that “Iran continues to try and arm Hezbollah and it is striving to arm the Lebanese terror group with advanced weapons in every way it can…We will not allow Hezbollah to establish a terror infrastructure on our border with Syria.” In January 2015, an airstrike killed a number of high-ranking Hezbollah and Iranian military officials, including Jihad Mughniyeh, who was reported to have been opening a Syrian front against Israel for Hezbollah.
The American military will use Israel Military Industries’ Iron Fist Light Configuration system to protect its light- to medium-weight APCs. Iron Fist employs a combinations of radar and electro-optic sensors to detect and disable a wide range of missiles, Avinoam Zafir, IMI’s corporate vice president of marketing, told the Jerusalem Post on Monday.
The U.S. Army’s decision was influenced by the system’s light weight and ability to fire interceptors without shock, as well as an attractive price-tag, Zafir said. He also praised its ability to defend against RPGs, rockets, and anti-tank missiles.
“A boxer can put up both hands to absorb blows – this is passive defense,” he explained. “He can also strike out with a fist and hit before he is punched. This is active defense, and it is what our system offers.”
When Iron Fist’s sensors pick up an incoming missile, it makes a “split-second” determination whether the threat is guided or not. If it is, the missile’s guidance system is jammed and it falls to the ground. If it is not guided, Iron Fist launches small warheads that detonate near the threat, destroying it with the shock-wave. The sensors also allow the crew of the APC to detect other immediate threats such as snipers.
Israel will be providing the systems within two years, and the acquisition has “a very big potential,” Zafir added. (TheTower.org)