The ‘Clown Hat’: Ukraine’s Latest Piece of Military Equipment From Israel

A paratrooper of the Israel Defense Forces with his Mitznefet on.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces will soon sport Israeli-made camouflage headwear often referred to as a “clown’s hat,” Russia’s Zvezda TV channel reported.

The removable helmet covering, known as a mitznefet in Hebrew, admittedly resembles a shower cap or a chef’s hat but is said to be a potent piece of military gear. The flopping fabric is intended to obscure the familiar round shape of a soldier’s helmet and protect against the light reflecting off the helmet’s surface.

The use of the term could be traced back to the biblical Book of Exodus. It was employed to describe a turban worn by the Jewish high priests in the Temple of Jerusalem. The term is often mistranslated as a “clown’s hat” but its root meaning is believed to come from the verb to wrap.Ukraine’s military will receive 20 mitznefet coverings in the near future, Zvezda asserted, citing Tzvi Arieli of the Kiev Jewish community.

The Ukrainian government has been persistently pushing Western countries to provide military aid, including offensive weapons, to suppress self-defense forces in the Donbass region. The US has already delivered Humvees, lightweight counter-mortar radar units, medical kits, night-vision goggles and Kevlar vests to Kiev.

Israeli Media: Iran Wants to Buy 100 Russian Tanker Aircraft

An Il-78 tanker aircraft, right, and a Tu-95 heavy bomber

 
Iran placed an order last week for Russian tanker aircraft so it can refuel its air force mid-flight, thereby extending the range of Iranian warplanes, Israeli-based military intelligence website DEBKAfile reported.

DEBKAfile reports that Iran’s acquisition of 100 Russian IL78 MKIs, which can simultaneously refuel six to eight warplanes, would bring Israel and the rest of the Middle East within range of an Iranian airstrike.

Though Iran remains under an arms embargo until 2020, according to the recent nuclear agreement the P5+1 world powers and Iran signed in Vienna, Moscow has been advocating to lift the ban on arms sales to Tehran.

However, DEBKAfile suggests that even if Iran remains under the sanctions regime, Moscow and Tehran still can sign a deal without violating the nuclear agreement.

The multimillion-dollar deal would be so substantial that Russian manufacturers would not be able to produce 100 new planes before 2020, and therefore the transaction would not be a violation.

“The huge Iranian-Russian military transaction therefore stands as the first palpable test of the Vienna accord, depending on whether US President Barack Obama or his Secretary of State John Kerry decides to make an issue of it,” DEBKAfile reported. “If they just let it go, it will set a precedent for the arms embargo clause of the nuclear accord to start unraveling.”

Neither Russia nor Iran have officially confirmed the deal.

Israel Enraged With US Over Advanced Arms Supplies to Arab States

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon raised concerns that the United States' move to supply various Gulf Arab states with arms as a counterweight to Iran could weaken Israel's own US-backed regional military dominance.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon raised concerns that the United States’ move to supply various Gulf Arab states with arms as a counterweight to Iran could weaken Israel’s own US-backed regional military dominance.

At the Herzliya security conference on Tuesday, Yaalon said Israel needs to maintain its “qualitative edge.”  The statements preceded scheduled talks with US General Martin Dempsey, where Israel hopes to secure increased military funding from the United States.

“Even if there are not now any hostile designs (among them) against us, as we know in the Middle East intentions are liable to change. The capability will without a doubt be there and this must be prepared for,” Yaalon said.

Yaalon questioned the regional reaction to the ongoing international negotiations concerning restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. A June 30 deadline is approaching for a final agreement.

“The Gulf states are arming themselves, mainly with Western, American weaponry, in the understanding they will need defensive capabilities to contend with the new Iran situation,” Yaalon said.

“This of course challenges us, too, and here there is enormous importance to preserving what is called the State of Israel’s ‘qualitative edge’ in the face of this regional arms race.”

The “qualitative military edge” (QME) is a concept solidified in US law, and serves as a standard of technological and tactical military advantages over Israel’s larger regional neighbors that the United States has committed to maintaining with its military aid to Israel. The US government is required by law to take this concept, this balance of military might, into account when planning arms sales to Gulf states.

Moreover, Israeli officials have expressed skepticism that the Iranian deal will even achieve its stated goal of preventing Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapon.

Speaking at the same conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the entire region lacks confidence in the nuclear talks, though he did not name specific countries or their leaders in making the assertion. However, one of his closest confidants, Dore Gold, met just a few days earlier with Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran.

“I am often portrayed as the nuclear party pooper,” Netanyahu said. “But I speak with quite a few of our neighbors, more than you think, and I want to tell you that nobody in this region believes this deal will block Iran’s path to the bomb.”

Netanyahu, recognizing that neighbors in the region had a common fear of a nuclear Iran, warned that the talks would lead to a nuclear arms race, resulting in a Middle East “crisscrossed with nuclear trip wires as other states nuclearize.”

Israel’s statements come on the heels of a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in May, where the US announced that it was considering agreeing to use military force to defend Gulf States under threat — granting them major non-NATO ally status — and on creating a shared missile defense system.

In the wake of the sweeping territorial gains of the self-proclaimed Islamic State terror group starting last year, some US officials have said they are open to reconsidering the QME concept, as it may hinder the fight of certain states against IS militants.

In a Feb. 5 letter urging military aid to Jordan to support their fight against the group, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including chairman Sen. John McCain R-Ariz. said they were committed to “the maintenance of a Qualitative Military Edge (QME) for Israel.”

But others questioned whether the concept would need to change with changing regional circumstances.

“Arming Jordan so that they’re in the best possible position to fight [IS] is in the best interest of Israel and the region,” Rep. Adam Smith, D-Calif, the committee’s ranking Democrat, told Al-Monitor. “[The QME policy] is something we might have to look at. I think certainly regarding Jordan, Saudi Arabia, we should review it.”

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Israel Seeks More US Military Aid

A US Patriot anti-missile battery is set up at a base in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, file photo

Israel is asking the US to ramp up its annual military assistance to the Jewish State and is negotiating a 10-year, $4.5 billion financial bailout from Washington.
 

During a series of unofficial talks held in the past few months, Israel has asked the Obama Administration to increase its annual military assistance by 50 percent to an average of $4.5 billion over the 2018-2028 period, Iran’s Press TV reported Wednesday.Under the existing agreement, negotiated during the George W. Bush Administration and which expires in the year after next, Israel receives around $3 billion in US assistance each year and President Obama agreed to raise the figure to between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion.

The money comes in addition to nearly $500 million in annual US funding for Israel’s missile system programs in recent years and $1.2 billion worth of US warfighting material held in Israel.

The US also set aside $487.5 million in funding for various US-Israel active weapons programs in its next year’s defense budget, the Press TV report said.

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Russian S-300 air defence system could be used within months in Iran, constraining Israeli and US options

S300_PMU2_Nga

Russian president Vladimir Putin on 13 April rescinded a ‘voluntary’ ban on the sale of the S-300 air defence system to Iran, ostensibly as a result of the Lausanne nuclear agreement.

Iranian operators were trained on the S-300 in Russia as recently as 2010, after signing a USD800-million contract for the sale of the S-300 with Iran. Iran has given Russia USD200 million as a downpayment already.

Politically, the lifting of the ban sends a signal to the West that Russia is treating the initial nuclear agreement reached in Lausanne as having removed any justification for Iran’s continued isolation. Militarily, the likely availability of trained personnel in Iran, and Iran’s likely ability to pay for the S-300 soon, even without implementation of sanctions relief, indicate that the S-300 could become operational in Iran within months.

Anger as Merkel Sells German Sub to Israel Without Consulting EU

 

Germany’s Federal Security Council has approved the export of a fifth submarine to Israel.

It’s the penultimate submarine promised to Israel by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and will be handed over by the company Thyssen Krupp.

Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper revealed the approval, citing the Federal Security Council’s report to the parliamentary Economics Committee.

Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) builds the new Air Independent Propulsion Dolphins and the decision to sell them has been criticized for two reasons. One, in that German taxpayers are shouldering a third of the cost.

Secondly, the vessels are reportedly capable of being equipped with nuclear weapons.

Peter Roberts is an expert in sea power and naval weapons systems at the Royal United Services Institute in London and told Sputnik News that Israel will want to produce and develop nuclear capability on the new submarines.

“That’s the long term aspiration”, says Roberts. “But does it have it right now? No.”

“These are new batch of submarines that Israel is receiving which have a markedly increased capability on what they’d had previously in terms of range, covertness and ability to reach different parts of the world then they had previously been able to do.”

Roberts adds that the submarines have the capability to become nuclear armed, “but probably not right now.”

“Several hurdles have to be overcome before it can be armed with a nuclear warhead.”

He explains that the key to being able to arm the submarines with nuclear weapons is down to the delivery mechanism.

“The Israelis rely on the fact they could fire the Popeye submarine missile — a system that the Americans successfully launched in 2002. But traditionally the Israelis only keep the Harpoon anti-ship missile.”

 

“These are the first submarines that will be able to fire this missile, the size of the torpedo tubes allow it to be fired, they have a bigger tubes for bigger missiles.

“The submarines would have the ability to launch them [missiles] — it’s the weapon itself that is the critical part and developing that weapon and navigation system for the guidance from within a submerged submarine is a further challenge.”

Peter Roberts says it’s difficult to say whether the submarines are distinctly designed for nuclear weapons.

“The Israelis will want to add this to their golf bag of capability which will give them huge resilience in their nuclear forces — but they’re not there yet.”

According to an article written by Anthony Bellchambers for Global Research, the Dolphin Class nuclear powered submarines “that have already been converted by the Israeli navy to being armed with ICB nuclear missiles…has given the Israeli state ‘deep sea dominance’ that is now virtually irreversible.”

Adding that German Chancellor Merkel agreed to supply Israel with the vessels “without any prior consultation with the EU.”

A recent report titled ‘German Submarines — Capabilities and Potential’, written by Captain Raimund Wallner, and published by the Royal United Services Institute in London, says:

“To sum up, one may say that due to their characteristics of compactness, covertness, sustainability and high combat power, submarines made in Germany are already able to meet the majority of the demands which today’s and future scenarios pose to underwater platforms.

“They do have their price, but they extend the maritime capability spectrum of the Bundeswehr in a unique way, and thus the military options in the hands of the political leaders…

“And it is no exaggeration to claim that the German Navy today disposes of nothing less than the best non-nuclear submarines in the world.”

Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung also reported that Germany’s Federal Security Council has consented to the export of six sonar systems to India that can be used to detect submarines and torpedoes. Spare parts to produce small-caliber ammunition have also been sent. The council also approved the delivery of 336 unarmed military trucks to Algeria.

Media: Israel bought US “stealth” for attack on Iran

American political analyst Edward Corrigan in an interview with the Arab media said that the signed between Israel and the United States agreement to purchase fighter “Stealth” is not intended, as stated, an increase in defensive ability, and increases the chance that Israel will airstrike on Iran.

 

Recall that a contract worth 3 billions dollars between the two countries was indeed signed last weekend and encompasses the delivery of 14 fighter F-35 production of Lockheed Martin, equipped with stealth technology. Also the  contract  includes  some technological and training elements.

 

“We all know that fighters” Stealth “is not a defensive weapon,” – said Corrigan, stressing that the United States has been and remains a major supplier of weapons to Israel