Jerusalem – A leading U.S. Navy commander said NATO should prepare for Iranian missile strikes on member states.

U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet commander Vice Adm. Sandy Winnefeld said in a magazine article published this month that an Iranian attack on Israel was the most likely scenario and would demand a response from the Western alliance.

“Perhaps most worrisome of the threats in the region is Iran’s increasing ability to quickly launch ballistic missiles in an attempt to overwhelm Israel’s organic defensive systems,” Vice Adm. Winnefeld said. “This is, in my opinion, by far the most likely employment of ballistic missiles in the world today, and it demands our immediate attention in the event of a need for a U.S. or NATO response.”

Vice Adm. Winnefeld, in an article titled “Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief,” for the U.S. Navy’s Proceedings Magazine, said Iran could be provoked into a massive strike by what he termed an “isolated, and perhaps seemingly unimportant, event.” The commander said the U.S. Navy must deploy missile defense assets and rapid-response forces to counter the Iranian threat.

“While U.S. Navy missile-defense capability need not be on-station all the time, it needs to be present in the theater conducting other missions, ready to respond quickly as needed,” Vice Adm. Winnefeld said. “It would be wise for several of our very capable European partners to consider achieving this capability as well for their own defense against this threat.”

In the article, Vice Adm. Winnefeld called for enhancement of NATO and U.S. capabilities in what he termed maritime domain awareness, the understanding of vessels, people and cargo in a naval arena. He said this would require intelligence and operations integration.

“While our capable and highly valued maritime partners are present in the Mediterranean on a daily basis, there is a broad disparity among them regarding the threshold for action before or during a crisis,” Vice Adm. Winnefeld said. “However, farther south lies an area with great promise for coalition maritime action.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.