In a show of double standard in military business, Israel deployed air defense system to the UAE. This is while Tel Aviv has refused to do the same for Ukraine even despite several requests by Kiev.
This Thursday, the Breaking Defense reported that in move in line with the Abraham Accords, Israel sold for the first time its Barak air defense system to this Gulf country. According to defense sources from both sides, this is just the beginning of military cooperation between the two sides and more and even bigger deal are expected in the near future.
“This is going to be a very big contract, as the Emiratis need a large number [of systems] to protect some of their sensitive sites that have been hit again and again by missiles launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Iranian proxy in the region,” one of the sources said in an interview with the Breaking Defense.
The development comes a few months after the UAE secretly reached out to Israel for the purchase of the defense system. This was in turn a reaction from Abu Dhabi following a drone and missile attack by the Houthis on some of the country’s critical infrastructure that happened back in January.
The Houthis, a militant Yemeni Shiite movement, claimed responsibility for what UAE officials described as a drone and missile attack on Abu Dhabi on Jan. 17 that killed three people at the facilities of state oil firm ADNOC.
The report of Israel’s military sale to the UAE was first put out by the Breaking Defense itself in mid-January Last month, however, Reuters reported the same defense deal between Israel and the UAE but described a different Israeli air defense system.
“Israel approved a UAE request in the middle of the summer and would supply the Gulf state with Rafael-made SPYDER mobile interceptors.” Reuters reported then.
A glance at the Barak air defense system
The Barak is a joint product by Israel and India, an advanced air defense system that provides a single integrated solution against multiple aerial threats.
It is manufactured in a variety of types from medium to long-range variants that can intercept aircraft and low-flying anti-ship and cruise missiles at ranges of 35 kilometers (22 miles) and 70 kilometers (43 miles) respectively.
The extended-range variant that was first produced in 2021 can hit even farther targets up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) away. “The evolution of airborne threats across the globe, combined with geopolitical changes, requires an advanced, agile, and versatile air defense system,” Israel Aerospace Industries President Boaz Levy said in 2021.
Israel still refusing to sell defense systems to Ukraine
Despite being so open to selling defense equipment to the UAE, Israel has been constantly rejecting the same demand from Ukraine. This past Friday and in response to a new formal request by Ukraine, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Tel Aviv can’t by supply Ukraine with the Israel-US-developed Iron Dome or other anti-missile systems.
“Israel supports and stands with Ukraine, NATO and the West. This is something we have said in the past and repeat today. Israel has a policy of supporting Ukraine via humanitarian aid, and the delivery of life-saving defensive equipment. This being said, I would like to emphasize that Israel will not deliver weapon systems to Ukraine due to a variety of operational considerations,” Gantz said during a meeting with European ambassadors in Tel Aviv.
Since the inking of the Abraham Accords in 2020, which normalized relations between Israel, Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco, Israeli defense firms have sold more than $3 billion defensive equipment to the region’s countries. Israel recently sold the Barak defense system to Morocco.
But when it comes to Ukraine, Israel has good reasons not to provoke Russia’s anger by providing Kiev with military equipment against Moscow. So far, Israel has played the middle ground in the Russia-Ukraine war, carefully evading from taking sides.