Israel Quietly Helps U.S. in Iraq, Aides Say

(Reuters) - A key U.S. ally behind-the-scenes in the war in Iraq, Israel has been contributing intelligence, tactics, and technology mostly in secret to avert an Arab backlash, congressional aides and analysts said on Thursday. The commander of the IDF's Golani Brigade briefed U.S. Marines in mid-June, and Israel has supplied the American military with aerial surveillance equipment, decoy drones, and D-9 armored bulldozers, sources close to the Israeli government said. U.S. Navy F-18 planes routinely use an Israeli glider, and U.S. A-10 Thunderbolts, F-15E Strike Eagles, and AV-8B Harrier jets are equipped with "pods" that provide real-time images of the battlefield in Iraq. American forces have also made limited use of a helmet system which allows a pilot to more easily target the enemy without maneuvering the aircraft into attack position. Israeli security sources say mass assaults by covert squads of soldiers and swoops by troops posing as Arabs were among the tactics U.S. forces were studying for use in Iraq. Yet Israel was left off the White House's much-publicized list of coalition partners, and this week was denied - along with anti-Iraq war countries France, Germany, and Russia - eligibility for lucrative post-war reconstruction contracts. "It's hard to believe that a country like Moldova has done more for the U.S. war effort than Israel," said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2003-12-12 00:00:00

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