According to four sources familiar with the proposal, the United States and Israel are attempting to set the basis for a security alliance with Arab nations that would connect air defence systems to thwart Iranian missile and drone attacks in the Middle East.
According to two of the insiders briefed on the plans, the notion, which would make use of Israeli technology, could gather traction during President Joe Biden’s trips in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Saudi Arabia on a July 13–16 trip.
Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and portions of Iraq have all experienced UAV or missile strikes that have been claimed by or attributed to Iranian-backed militias as regional tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme have increased.
Several Arab nations who refuse to do business with Israel have already objected to the discussions, which are still in their early stages, according to the four sources.
Benny Gantz, the defence minister of Israel, however, claimed last month that a newly formed U.S.-sponsored air defence cooperation was ‘active’ and may benefit from Biden’s visit. He stated that the system had previously prevented Iranian assaults from happening.
Under the condition of anonymity, an Israeli official told Reuters that rather than sharing physical facilities, partner nations were synchronising their individual air defence systems via remote electronic communication.
Although the United States believes Gantz seems to have exaggerated the extent to which such security cooperation has progressed, Israel has recently extended defence cooperation to Arab states who are aligned with the United States and share its concerns about Iran.
Gulf Arabs, on the other hand, have publicly expressed hesitation about the notion.
At a Gulf Arab summit being hosted by Saudi Arabia next week, Biden will talk about broader regional security coordination, including with Israel, a close ally. However, no formal agreement is anticipated, according to a source in Washington who is familiar with the situation.
According to three of the individuals, the idea is to use Israeli technology and American military installations to create a network of radars, detectors, and interceptors connecting Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.