Israel Strengthens Its Missile Defenses

[Washington Post] Howard Schneider - As it pushes for international action against Iran's nuclear program, Israel is steadily assembling one of the world's most advanced missile defense systems, a multi-layered collection of weapons meant to guard against a variety of threats, partly financed by the U.S. and incorporating advanced American radar and other technology. Centered on the Arrow 2 anti-missile system, which has been deployed, the project is being extended to include a longer-range Arrow 3, the David's Sling interceptor designed to hit lower- and slower-flying cruise missiles, and the Iron Dome system intended to destroy Grads, Katyushas, Kassams and other shorter-range projectiles fired from Gaza and southern Lebanon. Israel "has something to stabilize the situation: the knowledge that an attack will fail," said Uzi Rubin, who ran Israel's missile shield program in the 1990s. Iran, he said, now cannot be assured of a successful first strike against Israel, while groups such as Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon may find one of their favored tactics undermined. Iran "is radical, but radical does not mean irrational," said Rubin. "They want to change the world, not commit suicide."

2009-09-22 08:00:00

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