TEL AVIV – Saudi Arabia is considering purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in an effort to counter the threat from Iran, prominent Swiss paper Basler Zeitung reported this week.
Citing a “European weapons dealer in the Saudi capital of Riyadh,” the report said that Saudi military experts in Abu Dhabi examined several Israeli defense technologies including the Israeli Trophy Active Protection System (APS), which was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Group.
The tank-mounted APS detects and eliminates incoming projectiles.
The Iron Dome will ostensibly be used to thwart missile attacks from the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, the report said.
Even though Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, under the radar intelligence and military cooperation have seen “further progress” recently over the shared threat posed by Iran, the Swiss report said.
“Riyadh seeks to intercept missiles coming from Yemen. Observers from Tel Aviv and Riyadh are confirming that cooperation between the security services of Israel and Saudi Arabia is very advanced, although Saudi Arabia has been officially denying any sort of cooperation with Israel,” the paper’s Tel Aviv-based correspondent Pierre Heumann wrote.
The report continued, “the Saudi elite has abandoned its fears of overt contact with representatives of Israel a long time ago.”
“Both want to hold back the regional ambitions of Iran.”
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot in November said Israel was willing “to exchange experiences with moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence to confront Iran.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman echoed Eizenkot’s stance.
“The Middle East needs, more than anything else, a coalition of moderate countries against Iran. The coalition against the Islamic State has run its course. After IS – Iran,” Liberman said.