In a move that demonstrates the willingness of Arab states to set aside their decades-long animosity with Jerusalem over the Palestinian issue in the face of immediate regional security concerns, the UAE has reportedly deployed an Israeli-made Barak aerial defense system against Iranian missiles and drones.
Breaking Defense in a report on Oct. 19, citing unnamed Israeli sources, said that the Barak deal between Israel and the UAE is the first of what they expect to be a substantial contract for more systems. Reports, based on satellite images, say the Barak missile battery is deployed near the Al-Dhafra airbase, south of Abu Dhabi.
On Friday, Tactical Report shared a report on Twitter in which it showed a satellite image of what is said to be the Barak air defense system deployed and operational in the UAE.
Reports say the UAE quietly and unofficially approached Israel to acquire the advanced missile defense systems after Iran-backed Houthis in Yeman targeted the country with missiles.
Earlier this year, the UAE’s capital faced several missile and drone strikes launched by the Houthi rebels that blew up several fuel tankers and killed three people.
The rebels hold Yemen’s capital and are involved in an eight-year-old bloody conflict with the country’s internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition that includes the UAE.
At a time when there is growing concern in Washington, Jerusalem and the Gulf countries that Iran is on the path to develop nuclear weapons, Israel’s decision to sell its advanced air defense system to the UAEenables Jerusalem to bolster its own defense against Tehran while also building strategic military partnerships with Arab states.
With Iran-backed rebels having attacked military bases and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iraq, and ships in the Gulf, Israel and its new Arab allies have been seeking to set up a joint aerial defense system that has taken shape after the signing of the Abraham Accords.
The UAE’s decision to build its security partnership with Israel comes even as Abu Dhabi and Tehran quietly restored diplomatic ties that were downgraded in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Iran following Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shia scholar Nimr al-Nimr.