Washington's Nervous Gulf Allies Seeking More Firepower As Tensions With Iran Grow [View all]
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - While Iran's military loudly trumpets every new project or purported advance in hopes of rattling the U.S. and its Gulf Arab allies, the U.S. is quietly answering with an array of proposed arms sales across the region as part of a wider effort to counter Tehran.
In the past two months, the Defence Department has notified Congress of possible deals totalling more than $11.3 billion to Gulf states such as Qatar and Kuwait, which are seen as some of America's critical front-line partners in containing Iran and protecting oil shipping lanes.
The proposed sales — including Patriot missile batteries and Apache attack helicopters — are still modest compared with massive Gulf purchases such as Saudi Arabia's $60 billion package last year. That deal included more than 80 new F-15SA fighter jets, missiles, radar warning systems and other equipment.
But the recent flurry of expected sales from U.S. firms, approved by the Pentagon and outlined in notifications to Congress, underscores the growing emphasis among nervous Gulf states on seeking quick upgrades to existing firepower and defensive networks.