Inside Quest for Gulf Missile Shield: Arms Deals, Coaxing
US chipping away at rivalries in face of threat of Iranian attack
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 9, 2012 10:17 AM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures prior to a meeting at his office in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, July 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

(Newser) – The US is quietly seeking cooperation among its Gulf allies as it works toward a missile defense shield in the region. But the shield, intended as a stance against any Iranian threat, comes with a challenge for Hillary Clinton: encouraging countries from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia to join forces on the project. "Sometimes to defend one nation effectively you might need a radar system in a neighboring nation," she said in March. "It’s the cooperation ... that we now need to really roll up our sleeves and get to work on."

For the effort, years in the making, the US will need disparate systems working in tandem and sharing data. The project is coming together piece by piece as Washington sells billions of dollars in equipment to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and other allies. But unlike NATO-backed missile defense efforts in Europe, the Gulf work is being kept fairly quiet; it's also more "ad hoc" than the European systems, and involves lots of persuasion, as rival nations need to agree to band together and share radar data, the New York Times notes. There are practical issues to contend with as well, as Iran bolsters and diversifies its missile arsenal.