Israel has agreed to allow the United States to deploy Iron Dome missile defense systems at military bases in the Persian Gulf, Europe, and other Asian countries, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported today, January 24.
Israeli security sources told the paper on condition of anonymity that two batteries of an Israeli-made tactical system for intercepting air targets have been deployed to an Arab country in the Persian Gulf, but refused to specify which regional monarchy has accepted the Iron Dome on its territory. It is noted that the defense systems are intended to protect the U.S. forces and their allies in the Persian Gulf from attacks by Iran and its satellites in the region.
It is also alleged that the Pentagon will also deploy Iron Dome batteries in Eastern Europe “because of concerns that Russia may try to attack American forces or the strategic infrastructure of European countries.”
Apparently, the Middle Eastern country where the Iron Dome systems are allegedly deployed is Saudi Arabia. On the previous day, there were reports about an airstrike on the capital of the largest Arab monarchy, for which the pro-Iranian paramilitary group “Al-Wada al-Haq Brigades” (“Righteous Promise”), acting in Iraq, claimed responsibility.
Last Saturday, a statement was issued on behalf of the group, indicating that Riyadh was attacked in retaliation for the blood of the martyrs of the Baghdad attacks.
“After the Gulf Arabs continue to support the criminal gangs of DAISH (the Islamic State terrorist organization banned in Russia and several other countries. – Ed.) and other terrorist groups whose hands are drenched with innocent blood, we, the children of the Arabian Peninsula, have kept our promise and sent revenge drones to the al-Saudi kingdom and struck the al-Yamama Palace (official residence of the Saudi king. – Ed.) and other targets in Riyadh,” said a statement from the al-Waaad al-Haq Brigades published on their Telegram channel.
The group stressed that the operation was retaliatory and an act of revenge for the blood of the martyrs of the recent bombings in Baghdad.
Saudi authorities, for their part, said they had destroyed a hostile target over the kingdom’s capital on Saturday, January 23.
According to Israeli military estimates, one of the targets of the “retaliatory strikes” could be the northwestern areas of Yemen, which are under the control of the Shiite movement Ansar Allah (Helpers of Allah, Houthis). Its arsenal is believed to include ballistic and cruise missiles capable of reaching Israeli territory. The Houthis have launched missile strikes against Saudi Arabia in recent years, the largest such attack being the Sept. 14, 2019, attack on oil facilities in the eastern part of the kingdom.
Last month, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Hadi Silberman reported that his country had information indicating that Iran was deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and “smart missiles” in Iraq and Yemen and that these weapons were capable of striking Israeli territory. In light of this threat, batteries of Iron Dome and Patriot missile defense systems have been deployed near the southern tip of Israel, the resort town of Eilat on the Red Sea. The former are usually used against rockets and mortar shells, but can also intercept small drones and cruise missiles. “The Patriots, on the other hand, are used to defend against ballistic missiles and other large airborne targets, including multi-role fighters and heavy UAVs.
Meanwhile, as can be understood from the IDF’s recent actions in the region, the Israeli army is pursuing “active defense” tactics, in addition to reinforcing its missile defense shield by continuing to attack suspected pro-Iranian targets in Syria. Western intelligence sources say the intensification of Israeli strikes against Syria in the past few months is part of a “shadow war” in Syria approved by the United States, as well as part of a larger anti-Iranian military campaign in the region.
In mid-December, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi warned Iran and its allies in the region that if they tried to strike the Jewish state, they would be immediately attacked and pay a “high price.”
“We are hearing more and more threats to Israel from Iran,” Avivi stated at the time. – If Iran and its partners attack the State of Israel, they will pay a high price.”
In recent weeks, before the change of administration in Washington, experts noted rising tensions at all the key proxy points between Iran and its main geopolitical rivals in the Middle East – Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the US – on the Lebanese-Israeli border, in Gaza, in Yemen and right in the Arabian Gulf. The main reason for the high risk of a large military clash in the region was associated with the first anniversary of the assassination of the legendary Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.