Taiwan should be “very concerned” by reports that China’s navy will soon begin the first sea patrols of a new class of strategic missile submarines, a US military expert said on Tuesday.
“While these missiles may not be aimed at Taiwan per se, they are aimed at America’s capacity to resist Chinese aggression against Taiwan,” International Assessment and Strategy Center senior fellow Richard Fisher said.Sponsored Ads
He was responding to questions from the Taipei Times following publication by the Washington Times this week of a report that US defense officials believe Beijing will begin the first sea patrols of three new Type 094 missile submarines next year.
The subs will carry the new JL-2 ballistic missile, which is thought to be equipped with multiple warheads capable of hitting the US.
Pentagon sources say the JL-2 poses a “potential first strike” nuclear missile threat to the US.
IAF jets bombed trucks carrying missiles to Hizbullah, according to Syrian opposition sources.
Israeli air force jets bombed trucks carrying Syrian missiles bound for Hizbullah’s warehouses in Lebanon, according to Syrian opposition sources. The sources, were cited Sunday by Voice of Israel radio’s Arabic-language service, which was quoted by i24 News.
The Friday night bombing reportedly targeted a Syrian military base near the town of Quneitra, not far from the Golan Heights cease-fire line.
Just as in the last four years, the summer of 2013 has also started with Israeli intimations about a strike on Iran — but the elections there have staved off the winds of war, at least until next spring.
A week ago, on Friday, July 12, Israel carried out a test of one of its missiles launched from a base in the center of the country. On that day, the Israeli media carried a succinct, laconic report on the launch with a photo attached.
It is believed that the test was of the latest version of the “Jericho” missile. According to foreign sources, “Jericho” is Israel’s strategic weapon capable of carrying a one-ton warhead, which, if needed, can also be mounted with a nuclear warhead. According to those foreign sources, in its earlier versions, the “Jericho” missile had a 500-kilometer (311-mile) range. It is believed that the experiment this time consisted of a missile capable of accurately striking targets at least 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles) away (6,000 kilometers [3,728 miles] by some other accounts). Israel — according to foreign sources — possesses a large quantity of such missiles, some of which are equipped with nuclear warheads. They are concealed in shielded installations deep below ground and are safe even from the detonation of a nuclear bomb in the immediate environs.
In addition to the Dolphin-class submarine, here is another example of Israel’s alleged “second-strike capability,” which will render any unconventional attack against it into a bona fide suicidal act.
The timing of the test was not coincidental. …
On July 12, US officials confirmed that Israel carried out a strike against Yakhont missiles near Latakia, Syria on July 5. Despite media reports to the contrary, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had denied that Israel was responsible for the incident. [See Threat Matrix report, Did Israel strike in Syria again?.]
In one of the images, a warehouse appears to have been destroyed along with its contents. It is not clear if the Yakhont missiles were stored in this location. But if they were, it seems highly likely that they were successfully eliminated.
Is the Obama administration trying to start a war between Israel and Syria? Because intentionally or not, it’s certainly doing its darnedest to provoke one.
This weekend, three anonymous American officials told CNN that Israel was behind an explosion in the Syrian port of Latakia on July 5. The explosion, they said, resulted from an airstrike targeting Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles. If this report is true, this is the second time U.S. officials have blown Israel’s cover in Syria: They also told the media that a mysterious explosion in Syria this April was Israel’s work, even as Israel was scrupulously keeping mum–just as it did about the Latakia incident.
We are looking at two potential Israeli attacks on Syria in the last two weeks. One attack was at a warehouse located east of the city of Homs. The other attack was at an arms depot in the port city of Latakia. Syria can choose not to retaliate by just blaming other groups instead of Israel.
The Free Syrian Army claimed Monday that the Israel Air Force had destroyed a warehouse holding Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles east of the city of Homs in western Syria. The rebels’ claim has not been corroborated by any other independent source.
In a Facebook post titled “The new Israeli strike,” the rebels alleged that “the brave Syrian regime has conceded that a new Israeli strike targeted a warehouse containing Russian S-300 missiles and launchers. The facility was located in the al-Qassia camp, near the town of al-Hafa, east of Homs.”
Another report, by Syria’s al-Haqiqa news website, claimed that “a senior Israeli official” confirmed that the explosion that destroyed an arms depot in the port city of Latakia last week was not the work of al-Qaida, as the state-run Syrian media reported, but yet another Israeli attack.
New reports of strikes on Russian anti-ship missiles near the port of Latakia, Syria, seem to indicate another possible Israeli strike, Reuters reports.
This would be the fourth such strike this year.
Rebels described huge blasts – the ferocity of which, they said, was beyond the firepower available to them but consistent with that of a modern military like Israel’s.
Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement. The Syrian government has not commented on the incident, beyond a state television report noting a “series of explosions” at the site.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to warn that should Russia deliver the system to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the S-300 ”is likely to draw us into a response and could send the region deteriorating into war”.
Israel’s Defence Minister, Moshe Yaalon, and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz have said Israel would not hesitate to destroy the S-300 system rather than see it in Syrian hands.
Most sources on the system say it is designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles within 150 kilometres. But Israeli defence officials insist the actual range is 200 kilometres. Given Israel’s small airspace, the longer range would place most aircraft within range.
Even more serious, say the experts, is that Syria is liable to decide to transfer these modern missiles to Hezbollah, or even give a sample of them to its partner, Iran, whose scientists are eager to decipher Russian technologies. Intelligence officials and air force commanders will pressure the ministers to attack quickly and thus exploit this opportunity. The information, they’ll say, is temporary and fluid: If we don’t take action now, there’s no way of knowing where Hezbollah will hide these missiles in Lebanon later on. It’s important to prevent a change in the military equation in the north with weapons that “break the balance of power.”
All these are certainly threats that cannot be dismissed. But if the ministers approve such a move, Israel could be a step away from war with both Syria and Hezbollah, even though its rivals have even less of an interest in such a military confrontation than Israel does.
This scenario is not totally divorced from reality. According to foreign media reports, this is more or less what preceded the second air strike (of the three this year) attributed to Israel, which took place in late April.
From here one can assess with a great degree of certainty that there will be additional attempts to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah in the coming months.
That’s the background to the long series of Israeli warnings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and his predecessor Ehud Barak that Israel will act to foil the smuggling of quality weapons into Lebanon.
If Israel attacks Syria again then I think we are looking at major retaliation coming from Syria and Hezbollah. I think Syria will decide when this scenario happens as it attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah.
There is an excellent possibility of war happening at any time. We could see a delay of weeks or months but the credible possibility exists right now.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted during his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel would destroy Syrian S-300 missiles before they became fully operational, Maariv cited Middle Eastern diplomats saying Friday. The reported threat underlined how firmly Israel has sought to pressure Russia to cancel the deal, apparently with some success.
According to the report, during the meeting between the heads of state earlier this month in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Netanyahu called on Putin to cancel Russia’s transfer of the sophisticated anti-aircraft system to Syrian President Bashar Assad, and indicated that, should the delivery go ahead, Israel would strike the missiles before they became operational.