Israel Aids U.S. Campaign in Iraq
The United States is sensitive about publicizing any cooperation with Israel in its war to liberate Iraq for fear of angering Arab allies; nevertheless, as was the case in the 1991 Gulf War, Israel has quietly contributed to the U.S.-led coalition.
Before, during, and after the war, Israel contributed intelligence to the United States.
During the war, the U.S. used Popeye air-to-surface missiles (AGM-142s) that were designed by Rafael, a company partially owned by the Israeli government.
Israel Aircraft Industries designed the Hunter and Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicles were used by the U.S. Army and Marines, respectively, for surveillance and intelligence operations.
Some of the U.S. Army's Bradley fighting vehicles are guided by on-board computers supplied by a subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems, and the crews are protected by armor developed by Rafael.
Rafael also designed the Litening Targeting Pods used to fire precision weapons from the Marines' AV-8B Harrier jets, as well as F-15s and F-16s. Limited use was also made of an Israeli helmet system that allows a pilot to more easily target the enemy without maneuvering the aircraft into attack position.
Israel also produces and designs multiple rocket launchers, mortars, laser target designators and other components of the Army's Comanche helicopter.
The Pentagon also acquired from Israel advanced technology that can be used to detect roadside bombs and suicide bomber vests. The truck-mounted device sends a radio pulse across a designated area to detonate any hidden improvised explosive devices. Israel has used it to explode bombs still attached to Palestinian suicide bombers and U.S. forces will use it to protect troops stationed in Iraq. Israel has also supplied aerial surveillance equipment, decoy drones, and D-9 armored bulldozers.
The United States has also taken an interest in Israeli tactics for counter-insurgency in Iraq. Israeli commandos and intelligence units reportedly were working with their U.S. counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In June 2003, the commander of the IDF's Golani Brigade briefed U.S. Marines on lessons learned in the conflict with the Palestinians, and U.S. officials traveled to Israel to discuss urban warfare and to learn from the Israelis' experience fighting in Palestinian cities and refugee camps. The IDF was also asked to translate its special education software program that teaches soldiers how to behave in the territories so that U.S. forces might apply it in Iraq.
Sources: Jerusalem Post (March 21, 2003), Washington Times, New York Times, (December 6, 2003); Reuters, (December 11, 2003); Washington Jewish Week, (September 25, 2003)