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U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation: Israel Aids U.S. Campaign in Iraq


During the United States' campaign to liberate Iraq in 2003, Israel quietly contributed to the coalition - just as the Jewish state did during the 1991 Gulf War as well.

Before the war, Israel contributed military intelligence on the region to the United States. During the war, the U.S. used Popeye air-to-surface missiles (AGM-142s) that were designed by Rafael, an Israeli military technology company.

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) designed the Hunter and Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were used by American soldiers for surveillance and intelligence operations.

In the Bradley fighting vehicles, crews were protected by armor developed by Rafael  and the vehicles themselves were guided by on-board computers supplied by a subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems.

Rafael also designed the Litening Targeting Pods used to fire precision weapons from the air. 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.

The Pentagon also acquired from Israel advanced technology for detecting 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.

In January 2003, an American liaison team deployed to Tel Aviv to help coordinate efforts and intelligence between the Pentagon, the IDF, and American forces.

The United States also took an interest in Israeli tactics for counter-insurgency; Israeli commandos and intelligence units were reportedly 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); Haaretz( January 14, 2003); Associated Press (January 14, 2003)