As Houthi rebel attacks escalate, Riyadh faces an “urgent situation” as its air defense system missiles are running out, the Financial Times reports.
Saudi Arabia’s missile interceptors for the US-made Patriot air defense system could run out within “months,” according to a senior US official cited by the Financial Times, prompting Riyadh to appeal to regional allies to help replenish resources. Inventory.
“It is an urgent situation,” the US official said, adding that Washington supports moves to obtain missiles from Gulf states at a time when Houthi rebels in Yemen intensify their cross-border attacks on the kingdom.
There are other places in the Gulf that they can get, and we’re trying to work on that. It might be the quickest alternative [to US arms sales]The official was quoted as saying.
Two people briefed on talks between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors confirmed to the Financial Times that Riyadh made such requests.
There is a lack of interceptors. Saudi Arabia has asked its friends for loans, but there is not much to get,” one of the people told the newspaper.
A second person told the Financial Times that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman alluded to the issue during the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh in December, after which the kingdom contacted countries in the region directly.
The report stated that it is not clear whether Saudi Arabia’s neighbors have been able to supply it with munitions so far.
A third US official said that the Houthi rebels, who are allied with Iran and control northern Yemen, intensified their attacks on the kingdom last year, launching 375 cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia, many of which targeted oil infrastructure, airports and. cities.
“Responding to those attacks with this type of interceptor means they will have a faster burn rate than they previously expected,” the official told the Financial Times.
“This is something we have to deal with and answer that not only more objectors, but the response to that is ultimately a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Yemen.”
The situation represents the latest test of US-Saudi relations, which the administration of President Joe Biden has sought to reshape in light of the October 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul.
In February last year, Biden said he would end US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive operations” in Yemen, including “related arms sales.”
But several months later, his administration agreed to sell $650 million of air-to-air missiles to the kingdom.