A few press clippings  04-Apr-1974 to 12-Jan-1989

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 3 (Reuters) Syrian and Israeli forces exchanged tank and artillery fire for more than nine hours in the Golan Heights today for the 23d consecutive day, a Syrian military spokesman said.  (New York Times, April 4, 1974, p. 5)

MAZRAT BEIT JAN, Israeli-Occupied Syria, April 3 (Reuters) Israeli Phantom jets today flew in low near front-line positions on the Golan Heights for the first time since the cease-fire six months ago.  (New York Times, April 4, 1974, p. 5)

JERUSALEM, April 5 ...
4 At stake was the continuation of the fragile cease-fire on the Golan Heights front, which has been violated daily for over three weeks....

Responding to reports of substantial Syrian reinforcements of their frontline units, the Cabinet convened an extraordinary Sabbath-eve session to hear reports on the situation from Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and the top army command.  Military sources said that Israel's forces would remain on full alert over the weekend.

The atomosphere was reminiscent in many ways of the Yom Kippur weekend Oct. 5, when the combined armies of Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack.  (New York Times, April 6, 1974, p. 1)

Israeli Planes Hit Syrians In First Strikes Since War

TEL AVIV, April 6 Israeli warplanes went into action twice today to hit a Syrian force that crossed the cease-fire line in the Golan Heights, a military spokesman said here.

The air strikes were the first by Israel since the October war....


Military sources said foggy weather prevented direct observation of the results of the strikes against the Syrian force....

Israeli fighter-bombers struck at the Syrian troops first at about 3:30 A.M. and again at about 11 A.M. New York time.


All Israeli aircraft returned to their bases.  (New York Times, April 7, 1974, p. 1)

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 6 (Reuters) ...

A Syrian statement said that two Israeli jets bombed a Syrian position on Mr. Hermon this morning and that her jets later followed up with a similar attack.


Syrian sources said Israel, by using her air force, had indicated her intention to intensify the fighting, which has now gone on for 26 straight days.  (New York Times, April 7, 1974, p. 11)

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 8 (Reuters) Syrian forces said today that they had shot down an Israeli warplane for the first time since the October war.

The Israeli plane, said to be a Phantom, was reported to have crashed in southern Lebanon after being hit by a rocket.  (New York Times, April 9, 1974, p. 3)

TEL AVIV, April 8 (Reuter) An Israeli spokesman denied today that a plane had been shot down by Syria.  He said two crewmen had bailed out over Lebanon because of a fire caused by a technical fault, not by Syrian rockets.  (New York Times, April 9, 1974, p. 3)

BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 8 (AP) A Lebanese spokesman said today that two pilots from an Israeli jet were safe and that they had been picked up about three miles west of Chebba.  (New York Times, April 9, 1974, p. 3)

Two fighters lost, 8 killed in copters, Israeli forces say

From The Associated Press and Reuter News Agency
TEL AVIV ... A Lebanese newspaper reported Israeli aircraft are fooling Syria's deadly missiles with balloons.

The paper, An-Nahar, said planes on strike missions against Syrian forces on Mount Hermon are using "heat balloons" to divert the Soviet-made rockets.

The missiles usually home in on a plane's exhausts.  The missiles scored a high success rate against the Israeli Air Force in the October war.

The Israelis seem to have found an answer to the missile threat.  An-Nahar quotes military experts as saying their planes have used the balloons this week.  (The Globe and Mail, April 20, 1974, p. 14)

Balloons fool missiles, paper says

BEIRUT (Reuter) Israeli aircraft are fooling Syria's deadly missiles with balloons says a Lebanese newspaper.

An-Nahar says that planes on strike missions against Syria forces on strategic Mount Hermon are using "heat balloons" to divert the Soviet-made rockets.

The missiles which scored a high success rate against the Israeli air force in the October war, usually home in on aircraft's exhausts.

Now the Israelis seem to have found an answer.  An-Nahar quotes military experts as saying their planes have used the balloons in the last two days.  (The Toronto Star, April 20, 1974)

The Opposing Weapons

ISRAEL has not only expanded its arsenal but greatly increased the sophistication of its weapons.  All but one of the 55 A-4 Skyhawks lost have been replaced, and the U.S. has sent 47 Phantoms in place of the 35 that were downed or damaged last year.  More Skyhawks and Phantoms have been promised by Washington.  All together, the Israelis now have 100 more planes than they had last year, for a total of 626.  From their 1973 losses, the Israelis have learned how better to counter the dreaded Soviet SAMs, and along with the planes, the U.S. has provided sophisticated air-to-ground missiles to home in on enemy radar.  (Time, December 2, 1974, p. 40)

Middle East: Ready and Waiting

As Habib takes time out, Syria and Israel remain poised to fight

Reports TIME Beirut Bureau Chief William Stewart, who watched the air attack from the Beirut airport: "The planes, two at a time, appeared suddenly in a cloudless sky.  Brilliant flashes of light followed them; it was unclear whether they were caused by Palestinian missiles or were emitted from the planes themselves to attract and deflect missiles."  (Time, June 8, 1981, p. 28)

Smart Weapons in Naval Warfare

by Paul F. Walker

In addition to such active point-defense systems a variety of passive countermeasures are also available; they include evasive maneuvers, electronic jamming of the attacker's radar, floating infrared decoys and the dispersal of "chaff": clouds of metallic strips that confuse the radar-based guidance systems of the incoming missiles.  Both chaff and decoys were used successfully by the British in the Falklands fighting.  (Scientific American, May 1983, p. 58)

Israeli Warplanes Strike At Palestinian Targets

Special to The New York Times
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 4   ...  Witnesses to today's Israeli air strikes said they saw jets dive to fire their rockets and drop their bombs on their targets.  Israeli pilots were also said to have loosed orange colored balloons apparently as decoys against surface-to-air missiles.  But the witnesses said no missiles were fired as far as they could see.  (The New York Times, November 5, 1983, p. 6)



Ammunition Dump Explodes Pro-Iranian Shiite Militia Thought to Run Camps

Special to The New York Times
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 16   ...  The state-run Beirut radio said four Israeli warplanes, spewing thermal balloons in their wake to confuse heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, attacked two training camps and an ammunition dump in the eastern valley known as the Bekaa.  ...  Syrian antiaircraft batteries in Lebanon did not try to fire on the Israeli jets.  (The New York Times, November 17, 1983, pp. 1, 4)

Fighting in Lebanon: Carrier Jets Go Into Action

U.S. Jets Bomb Syrian Positions in Lebanon; 2 Are Downed

Special to The New York Times
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 4   ...  The American planes could be heard roaring back and forth over Beirut shortly before 8:00 A.M.  According to witnesses in Zouk Mikhael, the planes flew in pairs coming from the sea, over their targets in the mountains east of Beirut and then back out to sea spewing heat balloons in their wake to confuse the heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles.  ...

"The sky was full of smoke from the heat balloons and antiaircraft fire," said Joe Cherabie, who watched the air strikes from his mountain home in Bikfaya, 15 miles east of Beirut.  "I could hear the bombs hitting in the distance.  They made at least two passes over the targets behind the mountains.  As the planes were flying back out to sea, one was hit by a missile, started smoking and headed down into Beirut."  ...

The Lebanese civilians who gathered around the crash site just north of Beirut appeared to be stunned at the idea of the Syrians having shot down American planes.  Since the Israeli invasion began on June 6, 1982, the Israelis have flown hundreds of sorties over Syrian and Palestinian positions in Lebanon and lost only three aircraft.  (The New York Times, December 5, 1983, p. 8)

What Went Wrong

When two U.S. Navy attack planes were downed during last week's raid on Syrian missile positions, Pentagon officials quickly ran into some heavy flak at home about what had gone wrong.  In Washington and elsewhere critics demanded to know why the U.S. had suffered such humiliating losses in a single mission, especially when the Israelis have for years conducted similar sorties in the region virtually unscathed.  ...  It seems likely that the two downed planes and a third that escaped with minor damage were hit with concentrated bursts of conventional antiaircraft or machine-gun fire, rather than by Soviet-made SA-7 or SA-9 heat-seeking missiles, which can easily be deflected by dropping heat balloons.  (Time, December 19, 1983, p. 17)



Special to The New York Times
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 4    ... all planes returned safely.

Mr. Ismail said the planes dropped balloons carrying devices intended to attract heat-seeking missiles.  He did not mention antiaircraft fire.  (The New York Times, January 5, 1984, pp. 1, 4)

Syrian-controlled area bombed by Israeli jets

From Associated Press and Reuter
BEIRUT   ...  Reporters in the area said Syrian air defences opened fire with surface-to-air missiles but apparently did not hit any Israeli planes.  ...  All Israeli planes returned safely to base, the command said.  (The Globe and Mail, November 28, 1984, p. 11)

Afghan Diary

People of Kabul Await A Soviet Withdrawal With Some Anxiety

Uncertainty Has Bred Fear In a City That Was Spared The Brunt of a Long War

Golf and the Odd Booby Trap

By Mary Williams Walsh

KABUL, Afghanistan From anywhere else in the world, this captial of 2.2 million looks to be the embattled colonial outpost of the Evil Empire, a besieged city soon to fall.

"Landing at the airport is like the Fourth of July!" says a Western diplomat in Pakistan, describing helicopter gunships that escort arriving civilian flights safely to the runway, spitting flares all the way down to fool the heat-seeking missiles of the resistance.

But the Afghan Ariana Airlines flight from New Delhi slides in quietly over the Hindu Kush and lands without so much as a sparkler.  (Wall Street Journal, January 12, 1989, p. 1)