Israel is planning to advance the sale of the Iron Dome missile defense system to the UAE in the wake of recent Houthi attacks on the country, Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Monday.
Early Monday morning, the US helped the UAE intercept a Houthi missile that was fired while Israeli President Isaac Herzog was visiting Abu Dhabi. Herzog’s trip marked the first-ever official visit to the UAE by an Israeli president, the result of the US-brokered normalization deal.
Israel’s Channel 12 had a similar report, but it said Israel hasn’t yet decided if it will sell the Iron Dome system to Saudi Arabia or the UAE.
The Channel 13 report said the Iron Dome sale could be the beginning of a regional defense system that would give Israel advanced warnings of an attack from Iran. Houthi attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia are often blamed on Iran even though they are clearly a response to the brutal war Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have been waging on Yemen since 2015.
A significant aspect of Israel’s normalization with the UAE and Bahrain was to further isolate Iran in the region. However, in December, the UAE’s national security advisor visited Iran, a sign of warming ties. An Israeli official said at the time that the UAE’s diplomacy with Iran was “worrying” and “not acceptable.”