Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- A high-ranking Gulf official has ruled out the possibility of the United States informing the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] states details of any possible military strike against Iran.
This statement comes amid tension in the region between the United States and its rival, Iran that reached its highest point in the past few days over the Iranian nuclear program and the testing of the Shahab-3 missile said to be capable of striking Israel.
The Gulf official, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that the Americans do not usually inform the Gulf States of any details of their military attacks in the region. He added, that “Historically, we tested them twice, once during the war to liberate Kuwait and the second time during the US invasion [of Iraq] in 2003. We were informed just as the planes were getting ready to take off from their military bases. Even the GCC member states’ ambassadors to the United States learned about the attack only on the same day it began. ”
However, the Gulf official noted that there are no signs of war in the region. He said the US logistical preparedness in the region “is still at the normal level and has not reached its maximum point.” He added that the number of warships that were deployed in the region a few months ago was higher than their current number. In reply to a question on the US military exercises in the Gulf, the Gulf official said such exercises have been conducted for tens of years. He added, “They are planned in advance, and I do not think that they indicate a desire for a military escalation.”
With regard to the Gulf region’s defense system to confront any possible attack, the Gulf official said there is coordination between the Gulf countries and the United States on the deployment of antiaircraft missiles. At the same time, he added, each Gulf state has its own individual system of defense, and up until now, there is no joint anti-missile system for the Gulf States. “When you do not have an integrated joint system, some gaps are bound to appear in the case of an attack.” He added.
According to the Gulf official, a single battery of the patriot missiles costs approximately half a billion US dollars. He said, “It is true that an air defense system is in place, but it is limited to military and oil areas, while such a system is supposed to cover all military and civilian areas.” He noted that the high cost of the defense system makes it difficult to expand the system to cover all areas in the GCC member states.
According to the available information, the United States supplies its military bases in the region with an integrated network of a defense system through the deployment of patriot missiles. On the other hand, some of the Gulf States secured their sensitive areas through the deployment of these defense missiles.
The Gulf official called for a more serious cooperation in the future. He said, “Any gap on any front in the Arabian Gulf countries might affect the rest of the Gulf region. “The Gulf official said that the Americans deploy their defense system in accordance with the circumstances of the region, “while this system should be deployed permanently without having to wait for what the United States may provide.”
On a separate issue concerning the Gulf, the Gulf official pointed out that the GCC member states do not know all details of the incentives package, which the United States and Western nations offered to Iran in exchange for Iran halting uranium enrichment. He said, “We do not know what is going on in the international arena between Iran and the major Western nations.”