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World Arab States Should Avoid an Arms Race With Iran

09:26  22 october  2020
09:26  22 october  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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First, should Iran race for the bomb, it is almost inevitable that the United States and/or Israel will take preventative military action to stop it from crossing that fateful threshold. This could easily spiral into a regional war as Iran activates its various proxy forces against the United States and its allies.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are historical rivals who both see themselves as the most legitimate natural leaders of the Muslim world. For analyst Steinberg, the significance of Faisal's speech is not so much the threat of a nuclear arms race . "I think the point is less that Saudi Arabia is really planning to make

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Iran secured a significant diplomatic victory on Sunday when the United Nations arms embargo, imposed in 2007 over concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program, expired. Efforts by the Trump administration to extend it in the Security Council ended in an embarrassing American failure, as did the effort to invoke the grievance mechanism within the 2015 nuclear deal.

a group of people walking on a road: Workers attend the damaged site at Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field plant following a drone attack in Khurais, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Saudi Arabia’s Khurais oil field will return to pre-attack output levels of 1.2m b/d by the end of September, Fahad Al Abdulkareem, general manager for Aramco‘s southern area oil operations, said at a press briefing at the field. © Bloomberg Workers attend the damaged site at Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field plant following a drone attack in Khurais, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Saudi Arabia’s Khurais oil field will return to pre-attack output levels of 1.2m b/d by the end of September, Fahad Al Abdulkareem, general manager for Aramco‘s southern area oil operations, said at a press briefing at the field.

The Islamic Republic’s beleaguered President Hassan Rouhani cited the expiration of the embargo as a major accomplishment of the nuclear agreement. At least in theory, Iran is now back in the market to buy and sell conventional weapons. Russia and China are eager to supply it with advanced jets, tanks and missiles.

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The risks this arms race presents in terms of a future conflict have not diminished with time, and many elements of The military balance between Iran , its Arab neighbors, and the United States has been a critical military issue America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war

Saudi Arabia has threatened to spark a new kind of nuclear arms race in the Middle East, setting out a bullish stance ahead of a rare, high-profile meeting of the US and its Gulf allies at Camp David. President Barack Obama faces an almost impossible balancing act between making overtures to Iran

This is alarming for its Gulf Arab neighbors, and especially for its primary adversaries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They will be tempted to enter an arms race with Iran, using their deeper pockets — and easy access to American weapons systems — to maintain their substantial technological edge over Tehran. It has been suggested that the UAE’s eagerness to acquire F-35 jets, for instance, anticipates the Iranian purchase of new planes to update its air force.

But the greatest threat to Iran’s neighbors will come, not from any big-ticket spending by Tehran, but from its acquisition of technologies that enhance the its homemade weapons. State-of-the-art targeting and guidance systems for missiles and drones can help Iran inflict more damage than planes and tanks.

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A de facto alliance in the region against Iran has opened the way to more sales to Arab states , and raised fears of an arms race . The United States has long put restrictions on the types of weapons that American defense firms can sell to Arab nations, meant to ensure that Israel keeps a military

" Iran continues to cause risks to other nations and act as a destabilizing agent across this region. They aim to disrupt the balance of power and "The idea to call it an ' Arab NATO' is something journalists came up with. In all of the relevant areas, this potential new alliance will be very much inferior to NATO.

If the Russians and Chinese are willing to brave American sanctions — and give a cash-strapped Tehran very generous terms — it is conceivable that the Iranians will order jets and heavy armor. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps hasn’t been able to import advanced hardware in decades.

It may not be possible to prevent Iran from following Turkey in acquiring the Russian S-400 missile-defense system, which would be a significant upgrade from its existing S-300s. Moscow will likely argue that the S-400 is defensive, and therefore represents no threat to Iran’s neighbors. (The Russians are keen to sell it to Gulf Arab countries, as well.)

But defensive weapons such as missile-defense systems form a part of an overall integrated military structure, and as significant for offensive as defensive actions. Upgrading its capabilities in this area would greatly strengthen Iran’s strategic position. Even more alarming for the Arab states are prospects of Iran acquiring new offensive missiles and drones. Presumably, a great deal of American effort, whether diplomatic or punitive, will be directed at preventing this.

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An arms race occurs when two or more nations participate in interactive or competitive increases in "persons under arms " as well as "war material".

Arab Isreali war Arms race conflict. The Arab Israeli Conflict in essence begins long before the 1957 war which fostered the grounds for relations between Arab states and Israel to worsen. About War With Iran .

But in the medium-term, the greatest threat would come from relatively small purchases of precision-guidance technology, to greatly upgrade Iran’s domestic production. Many of Iran’s home-made missiles are based on models acquired from North Korea; these have been significantly altered and, in some cases, improved by Iranian engineers. Iran has also developed substantial drone-making capabilities.

Its enemies have already experienced the potency of these missiles and drones, whether executed by the IRGC or its proxy militias in the Middle East. The most dramatic demonstration came in the missile-and-drone swarm attack against Saudi oil installations last year. Now imagine how much more mayhem might be unleashed if those firing off the missiles and drones had better guidance and targeting technology.

In all of this, the first line of defense for the Gulf Arab states will be the U.S. Treasury’s secondary sanctions on companies, and possibly even countries, engaging in major weapons deals with Tehran. But Iran’s neighbors will also want to be forearmed against the new threats.

Iran Holds Air Defense War Games After Rise in Border Tensions, Arms Sale Ban Lifted

  Iran Holds Air Defense War Games After Rise in Border Tensions, Arms Sale Ban Lifted Iran's conventional military and the elite Revolutionary Guard began the Guardians of the Sky Velayat-99 exercise as Armenia-Azerbaijan tensions spilled over the border and a decades-long U.N. arms embargo expired.The drills came as the neighboring Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict occasionally spills over Iran's northwestern border, giving Iran an opportunity to flex its military muscle through impressive displays of firepower.

However, Saudi Arabia considers itself the Sunni Leader in the world and a bulwark against Iran , which considers itself the Shia leader in the world. The Saudis will not restrict themselves in any way nuclear relative to Iran . Which means uranium enrichment and maybe reprocessing of used nuclear fuel.

Iran ’s regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia , would likely decide to acquire their own nuclear arsenals, sparking an arms race . And Iran and Israel lack nearly all the safeguards that helped the United States and the Soviet Union avoid a nuclear exchange during the Cold War—secure second-strike

While the question of F-35 sales to the UAE has made the headlines recently, the real game-changer in the current proposed package from Washington is the EA-18G Growler, which comes with the latest electronic-warfare technology, including jamming pods and communication countermeasures. This is the kind of weapon Arab states will hope to deploy against more sophisticated Iranian attacks.

But the best way for the Saudis and Emiratis to respond to an Iran armed with more potent conventional weapons to work with the U.S. to create an effective secondary sanctions regime: The Treasury Department will do the heavy lifting, but they can help by refusing to cooperate with entities and individuals that go too far in arming their enemy. They should press China, Russia and former Soviet against providing Tehran with greatly expanded conventional firepower.

The would also be wise to find a way to end their quarrel with Qatar and present a more unified Gulf Arab front. If they’re willing to be more ambitious, they should create a collective Gulf Arab missile-defense system. And, of course, the whole point of a robust military stance is to facilitate effective diplomacy with adversaries.

All of this can be achieved without an indiscriminate, wasteful arms race.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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