Saudi Arabia’s government expressed interest in purchasing Israel’s antimissile Iron Dome system to stop attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, according to a report in the Swiss paper Basler Zeitung this week.
A “European weapons dealer in the Saudi capital of Riyadh” said the Saudis are examining the purchase of Israeli military goods, including the Israeli Trophy Active Protection System, which was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Group, the prominent Basel-based daily wrote.
The APS is installed on tanks to detect and neutralize incoming projectiles aimed to take out the tank.
Saudi military experts examined the Israeli military technology in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Basler Zeitung wrote.
Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations. However, the Swiss paper reported that Saudi-Israel intelligence cooperation has registered “further progress,” according to observers in Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
According to Middle East experts, the unifying security factor that has animated Israel and Saudi Arabia to intensify military cooperation is the Iranian regime’s jingoism in the Middle East.
“Both want to hold back the regional ambitions of Iran,” wrote the Swiss paper’s journalist Pierre Heumann, who is based in Tel Aviv, in the article on Saudi-Israeli military ties.
Iran’s proxy – the Houthis – have launched ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia’s capital, airport and at the king’s residence. Saudi Arabia and the United States accuse Iran’s regime of arming the Houthis with missiles and military aid to destabilize the region.
Three Houthi missile attacks have been launched within a two-month period into Saudi Arabia. Responding to a December Houthi missile attack, the Saudi-led coalition spokesman in Yemen, Turki al-Maliki, said: “This aggressive and arbitrary act by the armed Houthi Iranian group proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Houthis…
with the aim of threatening the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Maliki added: “The control of Iranian-made ballistic weapons by terrorist organizations, including the Houthi-armed militia supported by Iran, is a threat to regional and international security, and the targeting of populated cities is contrary to international humanitarian law.”
Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.
Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD.