Saturday, May 29, 2010

U.S. Quietly Starts Missile Defense Program for Gulf

By Barry Rubin

One element of the plan to contain a nuclear-armed Iran is being put into place already: a U.S.-organized missile defense system against Iranian attacks, a task that is expected to take two to three years to install.

In 2008, the United States quietly put into Israel a high-powered X-Band radar and is looking for a place to put another powerful radar in a Persian Gulf country. The problem is that the two radars need to work together to be most effective in spotting Iranian attacks and no Gulf country would want to be seen cooperating with Israel even if its own existence is at stake. The U.S. argument is that this is an American-run system even if it is located on Israeli territory.

Anti-missile missiles would be coordinated in order to try to knock down any Iranian launches. Already there are such Patriot missiles in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, supplemented by sea-based Aegis missiles. This process started during the Bush Administration.

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