The US and its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf are attempting to knit together a “missile shield” system through billions of dollars worth of American arms purchases by the US-backed Persian Gulf states in a supposed bid to bring added pressure on the Islamic Republic besides the US-led sanctions scheme, the New York Times reports on Thursday.
That would include, according to the report, the deployment of radars to boost the range of early warning coverage across the Persian Gulf, as well as launching command, control and communications systems that could exchange that information with missile interceptors whose triggers are controlled by individual countries.
To meet the objective, Pentagon announced late last year the sale of two advanced missile defense radars to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In addition, a similar high-resolution, X-band missile defense radar was sold to Qatar earlier this year.
Citing Pentagon documents, the report also reveals that the UAE has purchased over $12 billion worth of missile systems in the past four years.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, notorious for its persistent purchase of massive weapon systems from the US and Europe, has also acquired a significant arsenal of Patriot systems, the most recent being $1.7 billion worth of upgrades last year.
Despite the purchase of such massive amounts of weapon systems, the report says, it is the US military forces that provide a core capability for ballistic missile systems in the Persian Gulf.
Yet, the US is facing major technological and political challenges in establishing what it boasts as being an “integrated regional missile defense system.”
Political challenges for the Americans, says the report, stem from historic rivalries that prompt its Persian Gulf allies to enhance their respective security through bilateral ties with the US, resisting multilateral security arrangements among themselves.
Iranian officials have repeatedly announced that the Persian Gulf security can best be preserved through a regional collaboration rather than the interference of foreign powers.