Saudi Arabia is seriously considering the purchase of Israeli defense systems. The Kingdom signaled the move following US removal of advanced military equipment in the past weeks.
Saudi Arabia has sought Israel regarding the prospect of purchasing Israeli defense systems. The now policy occurs following the withdrawal of the US systems, on which Riyadh has long counted, form the Saudi lands.
Associated press confirmed last week that Washington removed its high-profile THAAD systems, along with Patriot batteries, from the Kingdom. Prince Sultan Air Base, in the vicinity of Riyadh, used to host the advanced American systems.
Two years earlier, Washington deployed the systems to the Saudi soils following attack against Saudi infrastructure. The Houthi movements’ offensives against Riyadh had put harsh damages on Saudi oil facilities.
The US plan for the removal of military equipment from the Middle East has long been announce. The schedule and destination of the movement, however, was yet to clarify. The other expected clarification was about Saudi Arabia’s response to the new policy of Washington.
Few weeks after AP report, now Israeli officials revealed Riyadh’s serous plans for a big deal for the purchase of Israeli defense systems. There are, though, other alternatives on the table for Riyadh to take into consideration.
Saudi Arabia has reinforced ties with China and Russia as two powerful regional actors. Riyadh adopted the policy following US president Joe Biden’s policy on Yemen, Iran and involvement in the Middle East.
The famous Israeli Iron Dome, a powerful defense system, is the main target of Saudi brokers. Besides, the Kingdom is also putting the Barak ER into consideration, a good choice for intercepting cruise missiles.
Despite the tendency of both sides for such a deal, Washington’s approval may seem a precondition for the realization of the formerly impossible move.
Prospects of Israeli Defense Systems in Riyadh
Unknown sources in Israeli military corporations also revealed that Riyadh has been seeking an arms deal with Tel Aviv for years. Sources inside Rafael and IAI, two large Israeli military and defense equipment producers, confirmed that Saudi talks with the Israeli side took more serious command following US military departure from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is not a party to the peace process between Israel and Arab nations. The normalization restored ties between Tel Aviv and Morocco, UAE and Bahrain. Nevertheless, the official sources indicate the two have been exchanging security intelligence for years despite having no official ties.
Saudi Arabia has long been alleged with secret partnership and cooperation with Israel by Arab neighbors. Riyadh has recurrently rejected the accusations. The recent development certified the concerns about Riyadh’s unilateral policies against the collective interests of other Arab nations.
With the removal of Donald Trump, a staunch Saudi supporter, form office in Washington and the introduction fresh policies by the new administration, Saudi Arabia felt the threat against its regional interest and security. Riyadh shifted the strategy towards the war in Yemen seeking stability in its borders.
Besides, Saudi rulers opened the doors for a compromise with Iran an arch-rival. Riyadh and Tehran had terminated all diplomatic ties since 5 years earlier. Saudis used to accuse Iran for a series of attacks against its infrastructures in the past years.
The new move of secure an arms deal and purchase Israeli defense systems is another facet of Saudi changing regional strategies. While neglecting regional collective interests, Riyadh means to secure a partnership with a traditional adversary.
Israeli defense systems might reinforce the defense structures of Riyadh in the short term. In the long run, however, it may lead to further local and regional instability.