Fearing an Iranian attack on strategic and essential oil and military facilities in the Middle East, the United States is helping Gulf countries build a missile defense system, which will include advanced radar missile detection systems, and Patriot missiles to shoot down incoming Iranian rockets.
Among the countries to be included in the plan, a report Thursday said, are Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. All of these countries are seen as extremely vulnerable in case Iran decides to advance on them militarily. The missile defense system is designed to discourage Iran from contemplating such attacks.
The Gulf missile shield thus joins other programs initiated by the U.S. in other parts of the world, most notably in Europe, where radar and defensive systems have been installed to deter attacks by Iran or other countries, such as China. According to reports, some $20 billion in weapons and defensive systems has so far been acquired by Gulf countries participating in the program, and further expenditures are scheduled.
According to the report, working with the Gulf countries on the defensive system has been more difficult for U.S. officials than working with European countries, because, unlike the latter, the Gulf countries are far less amenable to working together on joint security initiatives, despite their common concern over Iran.