“See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:2–3)
Alarmed by Iran’s growing military arsenal, six Gulf states have been maneuvering to acquire Israel’s tried-and-true Iron Dome self-defense technology — which kept at bay thousands of rockets and missiles from Gaza in 2014.
Interestingly enough, none of the six Gulf countries wanting these Israeli weapons — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — recognize the Jewish state of Israel.
While not buying the technology directly from Israel’s state-owned defense contractor Rafael, the Gulf states have reached out to Israel’s weapons-technology subcontractor Raytheon based in the United States.
According to the GCC, these Gulf states are concerned that Iran will use the cash flow that will result from the lifting of sanctions to further arm itself. This potential further arming combined with growing cooperation between Iran and Russia is cause for concern.
“Iran has been trying to undermine and topple governments in our region for years,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa said during a visit to London.
“The strategy appears to be one of saturation to stockpile enough missiles to overwhelm any defense system we build in the Gulf,” he told Sam Kiley of Sky News.
And Iran seems bent on flexing its military muscle.
Two days before the Iranian parliament approved the nuclear deal on October 13, the country tested a precision-guided ballistic missile, which a French Foreign Ministry spokesman called a “worrying message … to the international community.”
Indeed, the missile firing violates a United Nations Security Council ban imposed on Iran in 2010 from undertaking “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches.” (UN Resolution 1929)
That ban remains in effect until the nuclear deal officially begins on adoption day, October 18. Even after that, though, any transfer of missile technology to Iran is supposed to be approved by the UN Security Council.
Iran is not only testing its missile capabilities, it is testing the UN Security Council which approved the Iran deal, to see what they will do about it.
Lacking confidence that the security council can truly curb Iran’s ballistic aspirations, the GCC wants to purchase a defense system effective on short-range as well as longer-range interceptor missiles.
According to Sky News, the GCC purchase would include the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, as well as the Arrow I and Arrow II — geared to tackle supersonic intercontinental ballistic missiles.
David’s Sling, a missile defense system that finished its third round of tests in June, can be deployed in a static location instead of being moved to different high-risk borders, like Israel has had to do with its Iron Dome system. (Aviation Week)
Once David’s Sling is installed in Israel, it will be able to deflect the 60–300 km-range missiles and guided ballistic missiles at low, medium and high altitudes. It is expected that it will be used against missiles that Iran has given its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah.
Though the technology will be similar, it will be developed on a much larger scale to cover a much larger territory than Israel. And although the technology was developed for Israel and even by Israel, the Bahrain foreign minister clarified that the GCC will not work with Israel on any such defense system.
He issued a statement Friday in which he “categorically rejects any suggestion that the Kingdom and its Gulf allies are in negotiation with Israel over matters of defence or otherwise. The GCC is firmly committed to the Arab Peace Initiative and any normalisation of relations between the entire Arab region and Israel is conditional on the full withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories including East Jerusalem.”