Gulf states consider missile shield against attacks from Iran, Iraq
The Gulf Cooperation Council, envisioning an attack from Iran's new arsenal of
intermediate-range missiles, is examining the prospect of erecting a missile defense
GCC sources said several of the six-member alliance have been discussing or drafting
threat scenarios and solutions regarding missile defense. They said GCC members do not
yet agree on either a missile threat or the need for a defensive shield.
For example, the sources said, Kuwait sees its major threat coming from Iraqi
medium-range missiles. The United Arab Emirates envisions Gulf Arab states being struck
by Iran's Shihab-3 and Shihab-4 intermediate-range missiles.
"Future ballistic missiles will have a longer range and be harder to detect," UAE Air
Force commander Brig. Gen. Khaled Bin Abdullah Abu Einan said.
Abu Einan outlined Abu Dhabi's vision of a missile defense shield in symposium held in
Dubai early this month. The general listed the requirements of a regional defense shield,
based on an early-warning network composed of three S-band radar facilities. In a closed
session, UAE officials raised the prospect of deploying either the U.S.-made PAC-3 or the
Russian S-300PMU1 and S-400 missiles for missile interception.
Under the UAE proposal, radars would be preferable to satellites and unmanned aerial
vehicles to detect enemy missile launches in the Gulf region. The S-band radar, meant to
have a range of 1,000 kilometers, would be deployed on Saudi Arabia's northern coast, in
the UAE and on Oman's southern coast.
At the Second Middle East Air Force Symposium, the UAE presented scenarios in
which such Iranian missiles as Scud C, the Shihab-3 and Shihab-4 would be fired toward
Arab Gulf targets. Other scenarios included an attack by Iraqi Scud B missiles and India's
Agni intermediate-range missile.
The United States has urged GCC countries to purchase the new PAC-3 or the
upgraded PAC-2 missile defense system. Kuwait is the only GCC member that has a
Patriot system. The U.S. Army has held a series of PAC-3 tests with mixed results and
the military service has acknowledged that the PAC-3 did not destroy its target in a test
last month as previously reported by the army and the Missile Defense Agency.
At the same time, UAE Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
appeared to dismiss the prospect of any short-term decision to purchase the PAC-3. Al
Nahyan said the emirates has an adequate air defense system and that the Patriot is still
"It is also a known fact that any repulse of a ballistic missiles assault requires an
integrated defense system and this in turn requires conducting technical studies for all the
available systems before a decision is made," he said.