Israel to receive nuclear missile-capable sub from Germany at deep discount

Just as it pulled its diplomatic corps from Iran, Germany approved the sale of a Dolphin attack submarine to the Israeli navy. The submarine, which Israel will receive at a steep discount subsidized by German taxpayers, will be able to carry several tactical nuclear cruise missiles. According to Reuters military correspondent Dan Williams, during past sales, Israel requested that Germany widen the torpedo tubes of the subs in order to accomodate nuclear warhead-tipped missiles. Israel currently possesses around 200 nuclear warheads.

In July 2009, an Israeli submarine sailed through the Suez Canal, a shortcut to Iran, in an apparent attempt to intimidate the Iranian regime. To hit Iran from the Mediterranean, Israeli cruise missiles would have to travel around 1500 km. But from the Red Sea, the Dolphin subs would be well within striking distance.

According to Williams, whose coverage of German sub sales to Israel is extensive and authoritative, "the menace associated with the Dolphins helps keep world powers focused on pursuing a diplomatic solution to the deadlock around the nuclear plans of Israel's arch-foe, Iran." In other words, Israel can leverage its enhanced nuclear capacity and reputation for irrational, "mad dog" behavior to bully the West into tightening sanctions on Iran.

But none of this explains why Germany would agree to enhance Israel's nuclear delivery platform amidst heightened tensions with Iran. Nor does it explain why German PM Angela Merkel would reward Benjamin Netanyahu after slamming him for "failing to make a single step towards peace." The only explanation for the sale is persistent Holocaust guilt. As WIlliams wrote, Israel receives German submarines at "as part of Berlin's commitment to shoring up a Jewish state founded in the wake of the Holocaust."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has suggested that Israel has less than one year to stop Iran before the country achieves nuclear capacity. Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey admitted recently that he was not sure Israel would bother consulting the US before attacking Iran. 43 percent of Israeli Jews support an attack on Iran, though a far greater number favor a nuclear-free Middle East.

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