America Refurbishes Its Gulf-Red Sea Defenses Against Iran Menace

July 29th, 2007 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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DEBKA:

The US Secretaries of State and Defense are traveling together – unusually - next week for a mission weighty enough for the Bush administration to deploy a double-barreled top team.

Built around a massive $20 bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia, it involves a broad boost for US defenses against Iran by means of a three-line deployment strategy across the Persian Gulf and Middle East devised by Secretary Gates.

The system, according to DEBKAfile’s sources, has three powerful components or levels:

The Iraq Level: US forces remaining in Iraq after the withdrawal would redeploy to giant extraterritorial land and air bases located mainly in the central and northern regions.

The Gulf Level: The US would double in size the armies and air forces of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, and augment its military facilities in the Gulf region by expansion and new bases.

The Red Sea Level: Jordan and Israel military strength would form the backbone of this line supplemented by new American bases.
On April 27, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 298 divulged the plan when it was still on the drawing board:

American military planners are in the throes of an unprecedented modernization and expansion project for the Gulf emirates’ air, missiles and air defense forces, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and intelligence sources report.

Its linchpins are the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and sultanate of Oman. At the end of the project, the Saudi air force will be the biggest in the Middle East, nearly the size of Israel’s, and equipped with the last word in avionics, electronic warfare systems and missiles.

The function assigned Saudi air fighters in the integrated US defense program is to take on the Iranian air force in an emergency, and prevent its antiquated, low-performance air force from providing support for Iranian naval forces and Iranian marines and saboteurs, should they attempt to seize territory in the Arab emirates.

Iran is known to command 600 bomber-fighters in operating condition.

They include outdated F-4E Phantom II, F5-E and F-14A Tomcats, French Mirage F-1EQ/BQ, Russian MIG-29, Mig-27, MIG-31 and Sukhoi Su-20, 22 and 25. Iran has produced two homemade models: Saeqeh-80 Owj and Azarakhsh. Iran’s most advanced fighting craft will be the Sukhoi Su-27 when it enters service in late 2008.

The Saudi air force, with 350 warplanes organized in 17 squadrons, is much smaller than Iran’s and not much more advanced. Its backbone of 134 Tornado aircraft includes 48 Tornado IDS. Seventy-two F-15S were added in the second half of the 1990s, joining 41 F-15C/D aircraft which served the Saudi Air Fore from the early 1990s.

Washington plans to double the Saudi combat air fleet, by selling the kingdom front-line fighters, including F-16 C and D and F-15 E - or even possibly the F-22 Raptor stealth plane, to which Israel is strongly opposed, although most Saudi Arabian operational aircraft are piloted by Western aviators, some American.

Another key element in Gates’ Level 2 for the Persian Gulf is the conversion of Camp Justice, the US air facility on the Omani island of Masirah, into the biggest American air base in the Persian Gulf and Middle East. An Arabian Sea island, 65 km long by 18 km wide, Masirah lies close to the Strait of Hormuz and the western coast of Iran.

A western military source in the Gulf also reports that a large increment of Marine forces is to be deployed permanently in Kuwait, which lies 130 km west of the nuclear reactor town of Bushehr on the southern Iranian coast.
End of quote from DEBKA-Net-Weekly.

DEBKAfile adds: Since April 18, when deputy secretary of state David Satterfield met King Abdullah in Riyadh and they went through the list of hardware on sale - marking down the king’s comments against each item - things have changed in US-Arabian relations; so too has the nature of the Iranian military menace hanging over Saudi Arabia, the Gulf and the Middle East.

These changes are marked in four aspects:

1. Washington and Riyadh are at odds on Iraq. In the beginning, the Americans approved of Saudi financial assistance to Iraqi insurgent groups to give them an incentive to pull away from al Qaeda. In recent weeks, however, the Saudis are equally active in undermining the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, calling him an Iran’s agent. This has brought the oil kingdom in direct conflict with the Bush policy.

2. A similar conflict has developed on the Palestinian question. King Abdullah strongly disapproves of US-Israeli backing for the Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad and imposition of an economic boycott against Hamas to overturn its rule in Gaza. The Saudis strongly advocate Palestinian reconciliation, unification of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and acceptance of Hamas as a dominant factor in shaping Palestinian destiny.

3. As oil prices roar towards $80 - and the price of $100 not too far over the horizon - the Bush administration is increasingly critical of Abdullah’s refusal to raise sustained capacity production past its permanent 2.1 million barrels per day. If only Riyadh would relent, they say, world markets would be reassured and demand would cool.

4. Responding to the Bush administration’s Gulf plans for the Saudi air force and Bush’s plan to maintain a post-withdrawal military presence in Iraq, Russian president Vladimir Putin has stepped in with a move of his own: the sale of 250 long-range SU-30MKM fighter-bombers to Iran, as DEBKAfile revealed Friday, July 27.

As acrimony heats up between Washington and Riyadh over key issues, Rice and Gates will have their work cut out next week to talk Saudi leaders round to buying the US Gulf strategy.


11 Responses

  1. Dan (The Infidel)

    How can we create a viable solution to the threat posed by ahmedinajacket with so many players with their own agendas?

    A house divided plan is a house of cards plan. If the Arab
    sumnnis were smart they would ban together with the US and go after the Iraniacs now.

    Waiting till provacation comes is too 1938 for my money.

    The US already has the pretext necessary for war against Ahmedinajacket. His interference in Iraq, his attacks aginst US forces through his proxies and his Al Quds agents is well-documented.

    State is taking it’s queue from the old geezer school of diplomacy. Jim Bakker, Jimmy Carter, Hamilton and the rest have shown themselves to be useless old geezers stuck in the 60’s and 70’s time warp of useless pandering and hudna to Arab terrorists.

    It isn’t about Israel. It never was. It is about Islamic impearialism whose philosophy is rooted in Saudi Whahabiism and shia apocalyptic prediction.

    Wake up Condi. Read Das Koran and Das Sunna. Or else you will finding yourself wearing the headscarf of a Dhimi.
    Only you won’t have the option of staying single babe.

  2. Zoal

    I thought the US wasn’t giving the F-22 away to anyone, even Japan and Israel :!:

  3. John Cunningham

    Zoal, I noticed that myself. Isn’t The Raptor the newest. Maybe there’s something newer in the pipeline. A Hyper-Raptor.

  4. D_Mac

    we don’t need to give saudi too much, just enough that they are barely better than Iran. This is a dangerous line we’re walkin.

    Cunningham is probly right though, they probably do have something better in the pipeline, by the time these planes are deployed i bet we will be at the next stage of developement. I hope so at least

  5. J563

    ” Maybe there’s something newer in the pipeline. A Hyper-Raptor.”

    There is the “F35- Joint Strike Fighter”

  6. JJ26

    I question the statement that SA will get F-22s. F-35s maybe. Israel was the first foreign nation to operate the F-15, which was the F-22 of its day when Israel began to buy them. I can’t believe that SA would get the F-22 before Israel.

    Also, why give SA F-16s and then the F-22 when they could buy F-35s. F-35s are going to replace the F-16. So why give them a plane that is going to be replaced, and then a F-22? That doesn’t make sense. F-35s would make more sense. However, they would have to wait awhile for them. The F-15s should be enough to hold them over. Granted it wouldn’t be a large number of F-22s, I am not comfortable with the F-22 in foreign hands. F-35 was a joint project so thats already a multi-national venture.

  7. Carl

    It is way past time to remove the smirks from the faces of the criminal Persian crusaders and their Syrian and Hezbollah puppets.

  8. chay

    As long a Saudi Arabia is financing Wahhabi mosques (ie, terrorist farms) in the United States, they shouldn’t get anything from our arsenals that doesn’t have a propeller.

    I saw a story where the U.S. is arming several stealth bombers with bunker busters. I hope its true and I hope they’re headed for Iran. Ever since Jimmy Carter gave Iran the green light to war against the U.S., we have sat back and done nothing. What happened to spreading democracy , Mr. Bush?
    You have to destroy the Mother Ship so the collective will dry up.

  9. Mark Tanberg

    We should give the Saudi’s all the F-22’s we have so no more of our pilots will get stuck in the cockpit for 9 hrs because the damn canopy won’t open. :mrgreen:
    http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/003674.html
    That thing, is a piece! only the Arabs can afford that lemon
    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=20396
    F-35 joint strike beats it hands down.

  10. Mark Tanberg

    Sorry, retraction —- 5 hours

  11. Brian H

    OT - Here’s a truly cooly new plane:
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,291065,00.html

    I like the eyespots.

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