“Israel concerned, Arab states cautious over talks of Gulf ‘defense umbrella’”

“Israel concerned, Arab states cautious over talks of Gulf ‘defense umbrella’”
July 22-24, 2009
     Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor criticized remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggesting that the US would provide a “defense umbrella” for Gulf allies to counter Iranian nuclear weapons. Meridor urged the US to focus on efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program rather than assuming Iran would eventually obtain nuclear weapons (Agence France-Presse). Nader Uskowi describes the remarks as a “radical departure” from previous US and EU policy that will inflame Iran’s leaders and encourage “hardline positions” on nuclear policy (Uskowi on Iran).
     Jumana Al Tamimi reports that officials from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states have been “lukewarm” about the remarks (Gulf News), but in June, Tom Spender reported that military officers from the UAE and other Gulf states were receptive to proposals for a US missile defense system for Gulf Cooperation Council states (The National). Former British Ambassador to Iran Richard Dalton says the US may be unwilling to take military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program, but Dr. Mustafa Alani argues that a US defense umbrella would not prevent a destabilizing regional arms race, stating that a military attack would be preferable. However, one unnamed Arab analyst believes Gulf states are supportive of Clinton’s remarks but cannot state so publicly due to political sensitivities (The National (2)).
     Former US diplomat Hillary Mann Leverett believes US President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement with Iran has failed and that his “opponents” [Clinton] are now pushing for a different strategy. Clinton and other US officials have said the remarks were intended to dissuade Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons (Al Jazeera).
Agence France-Presse | Uskowi on Iran | Gulf News | The National | The National (2) | Al Jazeera


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