Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wikileaks: Israel obtained codes for Iranian air defense in horse trading deal with Russia

 Interesting stuff in the Wikileaks cables of Stratfor. It tells us a something about the way Israel, by wheeling and dealing, collected information about Iranian air defense systems. Useful information for a country that is weighing the possibilities of an attack on Iranian installations.
Between the lines it is also telling information about the lack of scruples countries apparently have, if their agencies feel that the national interest might be at stake. This goes as far as betraying military clients and delivering strategic secrets to the enemy..
 The document I'm referring to is an email from a Stratfor source who spoke with a Mexican friend/colleague who apparently was in the business of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles -drones) and was an adviser to the Mexican military. He reveals that Mexico, which has its own firm capable of manufacturing UAVs, was contacted by Georgia during the crisis between Georgia and Russia in 2008. At least one of Georgia's UAVs had been downed and it urgently requested to buy Mexican UAVs, as it feared that its Israeli UAVs had been tampered with.  this source was an adviser of the Mexican military.
The author  of the email asked one of his Mexican military contacts about it:       

 ''I inquired more about the compromised Israeli UAVs. What he explained was
that Israel and Russia made a swap -- Israel gave Russia the 'data link'
code for those specific UAVs; in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for
Iran's Tor-M1s.''

 So Israel revealed the codes of the software that guided the Georgian UAVs - which would permit the Russians to down them whenever they saw fit - and as a trade off got the codes of the highly sophisticated Russian Tor M1 aerial defense system, that Moscow delivered to the Iranians. A system that is jamming proof, is able to trace aircraft and missiles from far away and to intercept both. Nice. Neither country apparently did respect the rights of their military clients for one second, as soon as their own national interest entered the picture. So much for morality in that kind of  business.
The Russian Tor M1

But apparently it was not the only example of horse trading in this industry. Because the same source had more interesting news:  

Besides, he said... Israel and Turkey have been collaborating very closely on the
S-300s. He explain (sic) how about 8 years ago when Russia sold S-300s to Greece
to base in Crete (which were supposed to protect Cyprus), Russia delivered
those with a carrier so that Turkey wouldn't try to sink them. (things got
a bit noisy so i may have misheard some of this). The gist of what he said
is that Turkey has been cracking the S-300 since the Crete sale and has
been sharing intel on the S-300 with the Israelis to ensure that they
retain an advantage over Iran should Iran get them from the Russians.

This was, of course, before the Israeli-Turkish relations cooled off considerably because of the Mavi Marmara (Free Gaza Flotilla) affair. So also the S-300 system the Iranians have does not have too many secrets for Israel anymore.
It is noteworthy, however, that the Iranians themselves sometimes show some initiatives a well. Not long ago they ware capable of downing an American spy plane that was flying over their territory. The Americans professed that the engine had been shot down,  but it is much more probable that the Iranians succeeded in cracking the codes of the UAV, so that they could it guide to a safe landing place and take it apart in order to inspect it. So, the might have been able to apply some changes to their Russian obtained systems in the meantime as well. Israel had better be careful.

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