debkafile Exclusive: The successful test-firing of an Israeli long-range nuclear-capable missile Thursday timed for Russian naval exercise

It was coordinated with the US Missile Defense Program.
Israeli and US defense officials tied up the last ends during President George. W. Bush’s visit last week. The successful test of a propulsion system for the dual-stage missile from the Palmahim base Thursday, Jan. 17, was a breakthrough. Western military experts report the new system can propel the missile to any point on earth – an intercontinental capability owned only by the US, Russia, China and France, with important applications for Israel’s military and civilian satellite programs as well.
The test’s context was as much the huge Russian naval maneuver launched in the Mediterranean Tuesday, Jan. 16, as missile and potential nuclear threats from Iran. Eleven vessels were drawn for the war game from two Russian fleets, Atlantic Northwest and Black Sea. It is led by the Admiral Kuznetsov air carrier with 47 warplanes and 10 helicopters on board and the Moskva missile cruiser.
The Israeli propulsion test coincided with a tactical Russian missile launch and landed in the same part of the sea. It sent out a signal that the entire Mediterranean, including the permanent bases Moscow is in the course of establishing in the Syrian naval ports of Tartous and Latakia, are within range.
Our military sources report that US Sixth Fleet vessels cordoned off the landing area of the Israeli missile and prevented Russian ships from closely tracking its course.
Those sources stress that the missile tested Thursday was not the Jericho-3 described by “foreign sources” as having a range of 5,000 km, which is a three-stage missile, whereas the weapon tested had a dual-stage engine.
The day before the test, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of the US anti-missile missile authority commented that Iran was the most active country in flight-testing missiles last year, behind Russian and China. “They’re developing ranges of missiles that go far beyond anything they would need in a regional fight, for example, with Israel,” he said.
Western military sources sum up the test as demonstrating that while Iran was still in the development stage of its ballistic missiles, Israel had raced ahead and left the Islamic Republic standing.
Amid these developments, Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni arrived in Moscow Wednesday, Jan. 16, and, in an unusual tone of reproof, remarked that the fuel rods Russia was letting Iran have to power its nuclear reactor in Bushehr could be used for making nuclear weapons.
She was challenging Russian president Vladimir Putin’s assurance last December, when the first delivery was made, that he had received Tehran’s guarantees that this was not happen. At the time, President Bush justified his approval of the consignment by arguing it would serve to convince Iran to give up uranium enrichment.
By challenging the two presidents, Livni made it clear that Israel has no intention of standing by for Iran to arm itself with a nuclear bomb. The public demonstration of Israel’s intercontinental missile capability gave her extra muscle.
But the next day, Moscow shipped a third consignment of 11 tons of nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr.

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