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Israeli military aid to Burmese regime: Jane's

by x Monday, Oct. 15, 2007 at 7:49 AM

all these zionists and nazis need to be eradicated this time no war trials and allowing of the perps to be split up all the luftwaffe and the department of homeland security people, the bush regime and the usa govt except for 15 or so people need to be eradicated out of hand the death penalty, we have all the lists of these scum at hand now no 5th reich, no zion never ever again they shall be eradicated like rabid dogs all of them b

Israeli military aid to Burmese regime: Jane's

David Bloom

Sat, 09/29/2007

The Burmese junta currently shooting unarmed protestors received a

cynical plea for restraint from the Israel government on Sept. 29.

According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, the Israeli foreign ministry

announced "Israel is concerned by the situation in Myanmar, and urges

the government to demonstrate restraint and refrain from harming

demonstrators." The article ended by pointing out that "Israel denies

selling weapons to Burma or Myanmar." (Ha'aretz, Sept. 29)

Not true, according a March 1, 2000 report in the authoritative

British publication Jane's Intelligence Review by William Ashton. The

article, titled "Myanmar and Israel develop military pact," details

how Israeli companies and the Israeli government have been supplying

and developing weapons for the Burmese regime, and sharing intelligence:

In August 1997 it was revealed that the Israeli defence

manufacturing company Elbit had won a contract to upgrade Myanmar's

(then) three squadrons of Chinese-built F-7 fighters and FT-7

trainers. The F-7 is a derivative of the Mikoyan MiG-21 'Fishbed' jet

fighter. The FT-7 is the export version of the GAIC JJ-7, itself a

copy of the MiG-21 'Mongol-B' trainer. Since they began to be

delivered by China in 1991, the Myanmar Air Force has progressively

acquired about 54 (or four squadrons) of these aircraft, the latest

arriving at Hmawbi air base only last year. In related sales, the air

force has also acquired about 350 PL-2A air-to-air missiles (AAM) from

China and at least one shipment of the more sophisticated PL-5 AAMs.

Since their delivery to Myanmar, these new aircraft have caused

the air force considerable problems. Several aircraft (and pilots)

have already been lost through accidents, raising questions about the

reliability of the Chinese technology. There have also been reliable

reports that the F-7s were delivered without the computer software to

permit the AAMs to be fired in flight. Also, the air force has

complained that the F-7s are difficult to maintain, in part reflecting

major differences between the structure and underlying philosophy of

the Myanmar and Chinese logistics systems. Spare parts have been in

very short supply. In addition, the air force seems to have

experienced difficulties in using the F-7 (designed primarily for air

defence) in a ground attack role. These, and other problems, seem to

have prompted the air force to turn to Israel for assistance.

According to sources in the international arms market, 36 of

Myanmar's F-7 fighters are to be retro-fitted with the Elta EL/M- 2032

air-to-air radar, Rafael Python 3 infrared, short range AAMs, and

Litening laser designator pods. The same equipment will also be

installed on the two-seater FT-7 fighter trainers. In a related deal,

Israel will also sell Myanmar at least one consignment of laser-guided

bombs. Since the Elbit contract was won in 1997, the air force has

acquired at least one more squadron of F-7 and FT-7 aircraft from

China, but it is not known whether the Israeli-backed upgrade

programme will now be extended to include the additional aircraft.

Myanmar's critical shortage of foreign exchange will be a major factor

in the SPDC's decision.

The army has also benefited from Myanmar's new closeness to Israel.

As part of the regime's massive military modernisation and

expansion programme, considerable effort has been put into upgrading

the army's artillery capabilities. In keeping with its practice of

never abandoning any equipment of value, the army clearly still aims,

as far as possible, to keep older weapons operational. (Pakistan, for

example, has recently provided Myanmar with ammunition for its vintage

25 pounder field guns). The older UK, US and Yugoslav guns in the

Tatmadaw's [Myanmar Armed Forces] inventory have been supplemented

over the past 10 years with a range of new towed and self-propelled

artillery pieces. Purchased mainly from China, they include 122mm

howitzers, anti-tank guns, 57mm Type 80 anti-aircraft guns, 37mm Type

74 anti-aircraft guns and 107mm Type 63 multiple rocket launchers. In

a barter deal brokered by China last year, the SPDC has also managed

to acquire about 16 130mm artillery pieces from North Korea. Despite

all this new firepower, however, the army has still looked to Israel

to help equip its new artillery battalions.

Around 1998 Myanmar negotiated the purchase of 16 155mm Soltam

towed howitzers, possibly through a third party like Singapore. These

guns are believed to be second-hand pieces no longer required by the

Israel Defence Force. Last year, ammunition for these guns (including

high explosive and white phosphorous rounds) was ordered from

Pakistan's government ordnance factories. Before the purchase of these

new Chinese and North Korean weapons, Myanmar's largest artillery

pieces were 105mm medium guns, provided by the USA almost 40 years

ago. Acquiring the Israeli weapons thus marks a major capability leap

for Myanmar's army gunners. It is possible that either Israel or

Pakistan has provided instructors to help the army learn to use and

maintain these new weapons.

Nor has the Myanmar Navy missed out on Israeli assistance. There

have been several reports that Israel is playing a crucial role in the

construction and fitting out of three new warships, currently being

built in Yangon.

Myanmar's military leaders have long wanted to acquire two or

three frigates to replace the country's obsolete PCE-827 and

Admirable- class corvettes, decommissioned in 1994, and its two

1960s-vintage Nawarat-class corvettes, which have been gradually

phased out since 1989. As military ties with China rapidly grew during

the 1990s, the SLORC hoped to buy two or three Jiangnan- or even

Jianghu-class frigates, but it could not afford even the special

'friendship' prices being asked by Beijing. As a compromise, the SPDC

has now purchased three Chinese hulls, and is currently fitting them

out as corvettes in Yangon's Sinmalaik shipyard.

According to reliable reports, the three vessels will each be

about 75m long and displace about 1,200 tons. Despite a European

Community embargo against arms sales to Myanmar, the ships' main guns

are being imported (apparently through a third party) from Italy.

Based on the information currently available, they are likely to be

76mm OTO Melara Compact guns, weapons which (perhaps coincidentally)

have been extensively combat-tested by the Israeli Navy on its Reshef-

class fast attack missile patrol boats. The corvettes will probably

also be fitted with anti-submarine weapons, but it is not known what,

if any, surface-to-surface and SAMs the ships will carry.

Israel's main role in fitting out the three corvettes is

apparently to provide their electronics suites. Details of the full

contract are not known, but it is expected that each package will

include at least a surface-search radar, a fire-control radar, a

navigation radar and a hull-mounted sonar.

The first of these warships will probably be commissioned and

commence sea trials later this year.

Only sales or a strategic imperative?

While Myanmar remains a pariah state, subject to comprehensive

sanctions by the USA and European Community, it is unlikely that

Israel will ever admit publicly to having military links with the

Tatmadaw. Until it does, the reasons for Israel's secret partnership

with the Yangon regime will remain unclear. A number of factors,

however, have probably played a part in influencing policy decisions

in Tel Aviv.

There is clearly a strong commercial imperative behind some of

these ventures. From a regional base in Singapore, with which it

shares a very close relationship, Israel has already managed to

penetrate the lucrative Chinese arms market. It is now aggressively

seeking new targets for sales of weapons and military equipment in the

Asia- Pacific. These sales are sometimes supported by offers of

technology transfers and specialised advice. This approach has led to

fears among some countries that Israel will introduce new military

capabilities into the region which could encourage a mini arms race,

as others attempt to catch up. The weapon systems being provided to

the Myanmar armed forces are not that new, and the Asian economic

crisis has dramatically reduced the purchasing power of many regional

countries, but Israel's current activities in Myanmar will add to

those concerns.

Given the nature of some of these sales, and other probable forms

of military assistance to Myanmar, these initiatives would appear to

enjoy the strong support of the Israeli government. In addition to the

ever-present trade imperative, one reason for this support could be a

calculation by senior Israeli officials that closer ties to Myanmar

could reap diplomatic and intelligence dividends. For example, Myanmar

is now a full member of the Association of South East Asian Nations

(ASEAN) which, despite the economic crisis, is still a major force in

a part of the world which has received much closer attention from

strategic analysts since the end of the Cold War. Israel's regional

base will remain Singapore, but it is possible that Tel Aviv believes

Myanmar can provide another avenue for influence in ASEAN, and a

useful vantage point from which to monitor critical strategic

developments in places like China and India.

In particular, Israel is interested in the spread of nuclear,

chemical and biological weapons, and the transfer of technologies

related to the development of ballistic and other missiles. Myanmar

has close military relations with China and Pakistan, both of which

have been accused of transferring sensitive weapons technologies to

rogue Islamic states, such as Iran. Myanmar is also a neighbour of

India, another nuclear power that has resisted international pressure

to curb its proliferation activities. Yangon could thus be seen by

Israel as a useful listening post from which to monitor and report on

these countries.

Also, despite accusations over the years that Myanmar has

developed chemical and biological weapons, and more convincing

arguments that Israel has a sizeable nuclear arsenal of its own, both

countries share an interest in preventing the proliferation of weapons

of mass destruction. Myanmar's support for anti-proliferation

initiatives, in multilateral forums like the UN General Assembly and

the Committee on Disarmament, would seem to be worth a modest

investment by the Israeli government in bilateral relations with the

SPDC. In addition to training Myanmar agriculturalists in Israel,

assisting the Tatmadaw to upgrade its military capabilities seems a

sure way of getting close to the Yangon regime.

Israel's repeated denial of any military links with Myanmar are

not unexpected. Israel has never liked advertising such ties,

particularly with countries like Myanmar, South Africa and China,

which have been condemned by the international community for gross

abuses of human rights. Even Israel's very close military ties with

Singapore are routinely denied by both sides. Yet there seems little

room for doubt that, after the 1988 takeover, Israel did start to

develop close links with the SLORC, which are continuing to grow under

the SPDC. In these circumstances, it would be surprising if Israel was

not still looking for opportunities to restore the kind of mutually

beneficial bilateral relationship that was first established when both

countries became independent modern states in 1948.

It is noteworthy that Elbit Systems is one of the Israeli companies

involved in Myanmar. Elbit supplies electronics used in the separation

wall that Israel is building illegally in the occupied Palestinian

West Bank, enclosing up to 10% of Palestinian land on the "Israeli"

side. It is ironic that Israel expresses concern about protestors

being killed by the Burmese military it supplies, when Israel itself

has killed ten Palestinians protesting the annexation of large

sections of their farmland, and injured hundreds of others, including

Israeli and international demonstators, who have been beaten, arrested

and expelled by the Israeli military. ( JPost, Sept. 5) Just today in

the village of Bil'in in the West Bank, the Israeli military injured

nine non-violent protestors, according to the International Middle

East Media Center (IMEMC, Sept. 29)

That the Burmese military has fired into crowds recalls that a month

into the second Palestinian intifada, before any armed attacks or

shooting came from the Palestinian side, Israeli forces had fired 1.3

million bullets at Palestinians, according to Yitzhak Laor, an Israeli

columnist who often writes for Ha'aretz:

A month after the Intifada began, four years ago, Major General

Amos Malka, by then No. 3 in the military hierarchy, and until 2001

the head of Israeli military Intelligence (MI), asked one of his

officers (Major Kuperwasser) how many 5.56 bullets the Central Command

had fired during that month (that is, only in the West Bank). Three

years later Malka talked about these horrific figures. This is what he

said to Ha'aretz's diplomatic commentator, Akiva Eldar about the first

month of the Intifada, 30 days of unrest, no terrorist attacks yet, no

Palestinian shooting:

Kuperwasser got back to me with the number, 850,000 bullets.

My figure was 1.3 million bullets in the West Bank and Gaza. This is a

strategic figure that says that our soldiers are shooting and shooting

and shooting. I asked: "Is this what you intended in your

preparations?" and he replied in the negative. I said: "Then the

significance is that we are determining the height of the flames."

(Ha'aretz, 11.6.2004).

It was a bullet for every Palestinian child, said one of the

officers in that meeting, or at least this is what the Israeli daily

Maariv revealed two years ago, when the horrible figures were first

leaked. It didn't much change "public opinion", neither here nor in

the West, neither two years ago nor 4 months ago when Malka finally

opened his mouth. It read as if it had happened somewhere else, or a

long time ago, or as if it was just one version, a voice in a

polyphony, hiding behind the principle theme: we, the Israelis are

right, and they are wrong. (Counterpunch, Oct. 20, 2004)


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