According to Israeli security officials, the United States is expected to soon begin deploying Iron Dome (missile defense) systems at its bases in Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
Speaking to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday, officials declined to disclose the countries where the Iron Dome batteries will be stationed. However, they said Tel Aviv had reached its tacit agreement with Washington behind closed doors to place the missile systems to defend U.S. forces against alleged Iranian attacks.
In addition to the Gulf states, Iron Dome systems are also expected to be deployed in Eastern European countries out of fear that Russia could threaten U.S. forces or strategic infrastructure there, Israeli officials added.
The deployments come in the wake of normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. In recent weeks, the U.S. has approved two major arms deals, one with the UAE and the other with Saudi Arabia.
Israeli security officials denied that the provision of Iron Dome was part of the normalization agreements, saying the U.S. purchase of the systems was signed in August 2019, well before the peace pacts.
Earlier this month, the Military Ministry’s Israeli Missile Organization handed over a second Iron Dome battery to the Pentagon. The system was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems as part of the 2019 agreement.
In a few months, Rafael is expected to open a production line for an American version of the missile systems with U.S. defense contractor Raytheon. This will allow Rafael and Raytheon to export the American version to the U.S. Army and other countries in Europe, the Persian Gulf and East Asia.
The Iron Dome is said to be capable of detecting, evaluating and intercepting a variety of shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars. It was originally developed to counter small rockets fired into the occupied territories by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups in retaliation for Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
However, the Israeli missile system has proven largely ineffective for this purpose. Many observers believe that the purchase of Iron Dome systems is part of U.S. support for Israel, which now comes entirely in the form of military aid.
The U.S. has one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world, which it has sold to Arab allies in the Persian Gulf such as Saudi Arabia.
In fiscal year 2019, the U.S. provided $3.8 billion in foreign military assistance to Israel. The country also benefits from loan guarantees totaling about $8 billion.
by Basit Abbasi – CCTV