Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, December 6, 2006
TEL AVIV U.S. pressure has forced Israel to freeze military projects for
Venezuela worth more than $50 million. Sources said the Bush administration
has determined that Venezuela, particularly President Hugo Chavez,
represents a threat to the United States.
"Venezuela has not been a friend to Israel and the United States, but until
now it was buying our systems," an Israeli source said. "Now, we are going
to have to review our defense relations with Venezuela."
One of the projects was the supply of the Israeli-origin Barak missile
Israel and Venezuela signed the Barak deal several years ago and a few
systems were supplied, the source said. The state-owned Rafael, Israel
Armament Development Authority provided a ground model of the Barak-1
sea-based missile defense system, with a range of about 10 kilometers.
"We want to complete this deal, but the [U.S.] administration is very much
against this, saying the Barak provides Venezuela with a new capability,"
the source said.
Rafael had also been contracted to supply advanced air-to-air and
air-to-ground missiles to Venezuela, including the Python-4 and the Popeye.
But the source said these orders have also been suspended.
The Israeli company has refused to confirm the suspension of its projects in
Venezuela. In 2005, the Pentagon demanded that Israel withdraw its offer to
upgrade F-16s for Venezuela.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
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