Saudi media reports recent purchase of Iron Dome system for defense from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels; System to be delivered in coming months.
Reports surfaced that Israel recently sold Saudi Arabia an Iron Dome missile defense system.
Saudi media on Thursday claimed the Kingdom purchased the system from Israel in an arms deal mediated through the United States. The Iron Dome will reportedly arrive to Saudi Arabia in the coming months and could even be operational by December 2018.
The missile defense system will be used in defense from rocket attacks from Iran’s proxies, the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Reports first surfaced of negotiations and future arms deal earlier this year. The Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung, released a detailed report on Israeli-Saudi military coordination and developing diplomatic relations. The report referred to Israel and Saudi Arabia’s relations as “very advanced” and centered mainly on Saudi cooperation with Israel on regional developments, mainly involving Iran, but also on reports it intends to purchase defense systems, the Iron Dome and tanks from Israel.
At least three meetings have been reported between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Israeli officials since 2017. The last was reported in June of this year, a secret meeting between Netanyahu, the Crown Prince and an UAE diplomat in Amman were reported. Following, meetings were held with White House special adviser Jared Kushner and US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt in Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Israel, talks centered on the US peace plan.
In April of this year, the Crown Prince made history and officially recognized Israel’s right to exist. He also publicly recognized Israel’s growing stance in the region and possible future relations between Gulf states and Israel, stating at the time “There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.”
Speaking last month during Iran’s military drill in the Gulf Sea and threats on Bab-el-Mandeb, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned the Islamic Republic of an international coalition if the Red Sea were blocked, stating “If Iran tries to block the Bab-el-Mandeb, I am convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this. This coalition would also include the State of Israel and all its arms.”