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US may invite Gulf countries to build regional missile defense

May 07, 2015, 19:14 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© AP Photo/Israel Ministry of Defense

MOSCOW, May 7. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama’s intention to address the Gulf countries with a proposal for creating a joint regional missile defense system surely pursues the aim of easing the concerns some Arab allies have developed over the agreements between Tehran and the sextet of international mediators over Iran’s nuclear program, Russian experts believe.

Western media reported Obama’s plans on Wednesday quoting sources in the US Administration. The United States and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, which unites Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, may soon conclude a package of security agreements, including those on weapon supplies and joint military exercises.

Infographics US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System

The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS

The success of Sextet-Iran talks has enabled Russia to resume military cooperation with Tehran. President Vladimir Putin last April lifted the self-imposed embargo from the supplies of S-300 air defense systems to Iran.

"Before a final version of the agreement over the Iranian nuclear program has been adopted the Americans will be trying to scare Tehran in various ways to demonstrate it has enough military muscle in the region," the leading research fellow at the International Security Problems Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexey Fenenko, is quoted by the Svobodnaya Pressa (Free Press) portal as saying. "Another purpose is to protect Saudi Arabia from any risk of missile strikes by paramilitary groups, such as the Shiite rebels in Yemen."

"The Gulf Cooperation Council’s hypothetical missile defense will require much time and heavy funding, although no costs seem to constitute a big problem for the Arab monarchies," says the former chief of Russia’s air defense missile forces, Alexander Gorkov. "In exchange, the countries of the region will enjoy protection of their oil facilities and military installations, the naval forces in the Gulf, etc."

"The United States made attempts at creating such a system on several occasions in the past," the leading research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, Vladimir Sotnikov, has told TASS. The worries over the deal with Iran concerning its nuclear program are the main reason why the issue has emerged in the forefront again. Iran’s worst irreconcilable competitor - Saudi Arabia - is concerned most of all. Sotnikov believes, though, that Israel, which suspects Iran of foul play, may exert pressures on the United States along the same lines, too."

"Moreover, that system is seen as a means of protection from hypothetical missile attacks by terrorists, for instance the Islamic State," he added.

The deputy director of the Political and Military Analysis, Alexander Khramchikhin, believes that "in the Middle East such decisions would merely add fuel to the blaze of Shiite-Sunni confrontation."

"It remains to be seen if a full-scale war will follow. At the moment the odds are it may," he said.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors