US may put missile shield in Israel, Turkey instead of E. Europe – Polish report

According to the Warsaw newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Washington plans to scrap its plans to deploy anti-missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic for defense against attacks from Iran. In deference to adamant opposition from Moscow, the Obama administration is looking at alternatives including Israel and Turkey. No immediate comment was available from US, Polish of Czech officials on this disclosure, but the Polish paper cited unnamed US officials on Aug. 27 as affirming that Washington was now considering deploying anti-missile interceptors on naval vessels and at bases in Israel and Turkey, as well as potentially in the Balkans.
According to a Pentagon spokesman the missile shield plans were still being reviewed. No final decisions have been made regarding missile defense in Europe, he said. debkafile‘s Washington sources do not view this statement as an out-and-out denial of the Polish news report.
A pro-missile lobbyist Riki Ellison added: Signals from the Pentagon were “absolutely clear,” with the US scouting for alternative sites. A source in the US Congress confirmed that Washington had been “testing the water” among lawmakers for weeks after scrapping the eastern European part of the plan. During his Moscow visit on July 6-7, US president Barack Obama found Russian leaders still flatly opposed to the deployment of US missiles “on its doorstep” and promised to review the project.
debkafile‘s military analysts report that basing parts of the missile shield in Israel would have far-reaching strategic effects:
1. Moscow would owe the Obama administration a quid pro quo for removing the planned missile interceptor and radar station from its borders and ought to be more amenable to lining up behind America for tough sanctions against Iran, including the sale of gasoline and refined petroleum products.
2. The longstanding close cooperation between the US Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Air Force’s space and missile wings would be upgraded and acknowledged publicly.
3. Since the Arrow anti-missile system developed jointly by the US and Israel is already an integral part of American missile defenses in Europe and the Middle East, Jerusalem is unlikely to object to a US request in this regard.
4. Anyway, for almost a year now, a key element of the US missile defense array has been deployed on Israeli soil, namely the advanced US FBX-T radar system for which an off-limits compound accessible only to US personnel has been allotted at Israel’s Negev Air Force base at Nevatim.
Using the infrastructure already present in Israel would substantially cut down the financial and manpower costs of building a missile shield against Iran.
5. Israel would be integrated in the American missile umbrella guarding the Middle East and Persian Gulf nations against Iranian missile attack.
6. Since all US diplomatic overtures for thawing relations with the Assad regime in Damascus have come to naught, an American interceptor base in Israel would also be a shield against Syrian missiles and the missile batteries Moscow is planning to install for defending the Russian naval bases under construction in the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartous.
7. The new US bases in Israel will not fundamentally change the nature of Israel-Russia relations. Moscow has always regarded the Jewish state anyway as a part of America’s military and intelligence machinery in the Middle East.

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