A Sky News report suggests Arab Gulf states are interested in purchasing defensive systems from Israel to counter “a growing arsenal of Iranian missiles.”
Bahrain and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are in negotiations to buy the Israeli-developed Iron Dome anti-missile systems to defend against “a growing arsenal of Iranian missiles,” Sky News reported Tuesday.
The US is quietly playing the “middle man” according to the report.
A deal for the entire GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, would be worth tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of dollars for the Israeli companies that produce the systems.
According to the report, the sale would also include longer range interceptor missiles such, as David’s Sling, and the Arrow I and Arrow II which are capable of intercepting supersonic intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The sale of Israeli-developed weapons to a Gulf states would have been controversial for both the Israelis and the buyers a few years ago, Sky News explains, but both now perceive Iran’s military strength and ambitions as the primary threat to their existence.
“Iran has been trying to undermine and topple government in our region for years,” Khalid bin Mohammed, Bahrain’s foreign minister, charged.
He said that Iran’s precision missile capacity was certain to increase as a consequence of the lifting of sanctions by the UN Security Council and the US following the nuclear deal with Tehran
.”They [Iran] will put a lot of money into this program to develop techniques and tactics to defeat our missile defences … the strategy appears to be one of saturation to stockpile enough missiles to overwhelm any defence system we build in the Gulf,” Sky News quoted al Khalifa as saying.
Talks are understood to be well into the advanced stages, Sky News reports.
Israel developed its anti-missile systems to defend against Gaza’s rockets in part, but overwhelmingly against Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal in southern Lebanon, supplied by Iran.
The Israeli-developed defensive system has reduced the effectiveness of rockets fired by terrorists out of Gaza into Israel by about 90% and has saved many Israeli lives during Operation Protective Edge.