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Sky News: Bahrain Negotiates to Buy Israeli-Developed Anti-Missile System Known as Iron Dome

2015-10-16 - 12:30 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Sky News reported that Bahrain and other gulf states are currently in negotiations to buy the Israeli-developed Iron Dome anti-missile system.

"The Israeli weapon would be bought through Raytheon and other American contractors who developed the Iron Dome with Israeli arms giant Rafael," added Sky News.

"A deal for the whole of the GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, would be worth tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of dollars," it further stated.

"It would also include longer range interceptor missiles such as David's Sling, and the Arrow I and Arrow II which are capable of intercepting supersonic intercontinental ballistic missiles - also a joint venture between Israel and the US," said Sky News.

Sky News quoted Khalid bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain's Foreign Minister, who said on a visit to London: "The Israelis have their small Iron Dome. We'll have a much bigger one in the GCC."

"The US is quietly playing the "middle man" in the deal as a sweetener to bitterness caused in the Gulf over what the leadership in that region believe is a "naive" deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons programme...Iran has been trying to undermine and topple government in our region for years," the Bahraini FM added.

He further stated that Iran "will put a lot of money into this programme to develop techniques and tactics to defeat our missile defences ... the strategy appears to be one of saturation to stockpile enough missiles to overwhelm any defence system we build in the Gulf."

Sky News considered that "the sale of Israeli-developed weapons to a Gulf state, or states, would have been controversial for both the Israelis and the buyers a few years ago. But both now see one of the main threats to them as the growing military strength and ambitions of Iran."

"As a result of this perceived threat, plans to buy Israeli weapons, via the US, would result in a profits bonanza for both American and Israeli firms," it pointed out, explaining that "talks are understood to be well advanced."

Sky news further said that one senior Gulf government source said: "If Netanyahu were not making less of a mess of things and was more like Anwar Sadat (who signed a peace deal for Egypt with Israel) then we would be happy to buy the missiles straight from Israel."

Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells. In February 2007, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz selected Iron Dome as Israel's defensive solution to this short-range rocket threat. Since then, the $210 million system has been developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems working jointly with the IDF.

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