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Israel as serial violator, temporarily the chicken killed to scare the monkeys


It is appropriate to class Israel as a serial violator in terms of its diversion of US weapons technology and weapons systems embedding US technology to states such as the PRC. Israel regards such sales as essential both to bolster its own defense industry and to secure greater independence from US strictures on its diplomatic action. Israel is also a purchaser of US weapon systems as well as a creator of weapons systems of interest to the US, thus it becomes a multi-edged proposition in purchases, technology, diplomacy, and US domestic politics.

Despite its violations Israel has succeeded in deflecting the bulk of US displeasure, thus is was interesting to see the US move to "sideline" Israel from "participating in developing the Joint Strike Fighter because of violations of agreements about arms sales to China."

In what may be a version of the Chinese idiom, "Kill the chicken to scare the monkeys," Israel may have temporarily become the chicken, especially as it position as a Security Cooperation Participant" (SCP) included "Israeli technologies [that] could be included in their [JSF variants], which has required the sharing of sensitive information":

According to a former senior official, the Bush administration has in recent months ratcheted up pressure on Israel to curb arms sales to China. The renewed pressure is also partly aimed at gaining leverage with the European Union, which, until recently, was poised to lift its embargo on arms sales to China.

The official said Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, was expecting a statement of support from President George W. Bush for Israel's involvement in the JSF programme when he visited the US this week. But US officials told the Israelis Mr Bush would not make the statement because of the China arms issue.

Haaretz repeated the Reuters article that noted:

The U.S. and Israel have been at odds for years over advanced technology transfers to China. Washington fears some sales could tilt the balance of power and make it more difficult to defend Taiwan... "Technology has made its way inappropriately to China via Israel. There have been many violations of technology transfer agreements." "We continue to discuss our concerns about technology transfer issues with our allies, friends, and partners and look for them to take a responsible approach with regard to China, including Israel."

Censure and concern is appropriate given the level of Israel diversions. In a discussion of the impact of a continuation of the EU arms embargo with respect to China:

China continues to purchase the bulk of essential military modernization from Russia, and secondarily Israel, both unaffected by the EU boycott

In a note on Israel being a poor role model for nations such as the Ukraine whom we wish to refrain from selling sensitive technology and weapons to China:

Israel has long been a supplier of advanced military technologies to China, diverting US technology in the bargain. Forced to discontinue what was to be the first domestically built Israeli jet fighter, the Lavi, based on the US F-16 with $1.5 billion in US funds, the Israelis transferred the design to China where the Lavi's near identical twin appeared as the F-10. The Israeli STAR-1 cruise missile technology which can loiter above a battlefield for a considerable time searching for targets and incorporates US stealth technology and parts. Only the most fierce US diplomatic pressure prevented the Israelis from selling its Phalcon phased-array radar systems to China as part of a Chinese AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System).

In speaking to supply chain infrastructure risk assessment, specifically software design for weapons systems, in which an adversary can seek to acquire technology to jumpstart its own weapon system or to devise a future attack on the target weapon system:

With the Telrad (Israeli) penetration of the White House phone system never far from mind, the presence of foreign contractors in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is a concern and the prime’s (Lockheed Martin) contention that "98 percent of the F-35's software was "U.S.-sourced" and two percent came from abroad" offers no solace when a few lines of malicious code can prejudice aircraft stability, avionics, or weapons.

What good does it do to have an aircraft that can turn sideways on a dime if someone can turn off its fly-by-wire system. It would be the singular software trapdoor of a future air superiority engagement. Were I a bad guy, it would rank high on my penetration list...

With a history of diverting US technology, Israel recently joined the eight JSF full partner countries as a lower "security cooperation participant" (SCP). As late as mid-2002, the US was still resisting Israeli participation requests due to concern that classified technology might be leaked to unfriendly countries, notably the PRC.

"Unlike the other full partners, Israel will not be able to impact JSF requirements or have a presence in the JSF program office. However, Israeli industry will be able to compete for SDD [system development and demonstration] work on the JSF like the other full partners."

A post to the Chinese Military Forum noted that "Doubtful it is for real. The curb will be removed soon or the research will continue unofficially without interruption. Its unrealistic that US can keep Israelis out of this," which may well be true. That post went on to indicate that Israel employs "psychological manipulation" giving the "general appearance that Israel also suffered for dealing with China: "what I have done to you has also happened to me too", thus soften the impact" of its actions. I would be surprised that such a tactic will work this time.

U.S. curbs Israel's involvement in development of fighter jet
By Reuters
Last update - 11:55 16/04/2005

U.S. sidelines Israel over Joint Strike Fighter
BY: Demetri Sevastopulo, London Financial Times
US Air Force AIM Points

Israeli-United States Relations
Updated November 9, 2004
Clyde R. Mark
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
CRS Issue Brief for Congress IB82008

Gordon Housworth

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