The Pentagon is selling 4,900 smart-bomb kits to the United Arab Emirates in what many see as a move to equip an armed military bloc against Iran. Meanwhile, the EU is cutting all diplomatic channels with the troublesome country.
The Pentagon has addressed Congress over a large arms deal with the UAE worth some $304 million. The proposed arms package will allow the UAE to convert its unguided bombs into high accuracy missiles.
At least 600 of the bombs to be converted are of the hard-target penetrator class also known as “bunker-busters,” which are capable of penetrating two meters of concrete-steel constructions.
The Pentagon sees the deal as a chance to “improve the UAE’s capability to meet current and future regional threats.” The upgraded weaponry would give the country “one of the most capable air forces in the region, thereby serving US interests by deterring regional aggression,” its Wednesday statement said.
The United Arab Emirates already has a fleet of F-16 fighters capable of carrying those bombs. Moreover, it already has several hundred smart missiles in stock that were earlier supplied by the US.
The UAE is a major purchaser of US weapons, but it is not the only one in the region. According to media reports Washington is actively arming other Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait to build a unified counterweight to Iran.
Iran’s nuclear program is clearly unacceptable to the US and its allies. But a direct military strike is something that seemed a measure of last resort until recently.
Speculation about the US forming a Middle East coalition is growing amid concerns that Iran is becoming a diplomatic outcast as European countries recall their ambassadors to Iran one by one.