UAE Missile Shield

Via today’s WPR Media Roundup, I noticed this ME Times item about the UAE agreeing to buy into a U.S. missile shield network in the Gulf. It’s an interesting deal, not least because it comes fast on the heels of the completion of negotiations on the U.S.-UAE nuclear energy deal a few days back (which I mistakenly said had been signed). But it also allows the Emirates to operate the system themselves, which is a significant transfer of training and know-how.

So there’s a lot of quid here, but also a lot quo, and it’s hard to tell who got how much of what.

It’s possible the missile shield was even a sine qua non of the nuclear agreement, since whatever reactors are eventually built would be in easy striking range of Iranian missiles. But between being first in on the shield and opening a French naval base in Abu Dhabi over the summer, the Emirates seem to be signing on as the West’s frontline defense against Iran in the Gulf.