Amid rising tensions with Iran, the US is urging Gulf nations to form a unified missile defense system to protect itself – and its allies – from threats, the National reports.
The goal is to improve coordination between the existing defense systems – consisting largely of US-made weapons – in Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
But GCC countries do not appear to endorse the plan.
The National reports:
“The United States wants a [GCC] system that can link to the new European missile defence system,” said Mustafa Alani, director of defence and security studies at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai. “The Americans wish to have a curtain [of protection] and the Gulf states could be part of the jigsaw.”
…But on missile defence, Gulf countries have so far been reluctant, said Mr Alani. “There is no agreement among the Gulf states on this sort of system,” he said.
High costs, disagreements over command structures, and concerns about long-term threats have hindered cooperation so far. A regional missile defence system would take years to put in place, by which time regional dynamics may have shifted.
Reluctance aside, GCC countries including Qatar were the main reason that US arms sales tripled from $21.4 billion in 2010 to a record high of $66 billion last year.
The US is also reportedly building a missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar as a way to prepare for a possible altercation with Iran.
Credit: Photo by Expert Infantry