Saudia pleads for missiles from Arab nations
Saudi Arabia had pleaded with Persian Gulf countries to help the
kingdom get interceptor missiles for its US-made Patriot systems amid
increasing rocket and drone strikes by Yemeni forces in retaliation for
the Riyadh-led bombing campaign, a report says.
A senior US official said the administration of President Joe Biden supported Saudi Arabia’s moves to source missiles from regional states given concerns that the kingdom’s Patriot stocks could run out in “months” due to the current rate of attacks by the Yemeni army, The Financial Times reported.
“It’s an urgent situation,” the official said. “There are other places in the Persian Gulf they can get them from, and we are trying work on that. It may be the faster alternative [to US arms sales].”
Another official from the Biden administration said Washington was “working closely with the Saudis and other partner countries to ensure there is no gap in coverage.”
A third American official said the Yemenis stepped up their retaliatory attacks last year, launching 375 strikes, many of which targeted Saudi oil infrastructure, airports and cities.
“Responding to those attacks using those kind of interceptors means that they’re going to have a burn rate that is faster than they may have anticipated before,” he added. “That is something that we have to deal with and the answer to that is not only more interceptors, but the answer to that is ultimately a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Yemen.”
Meanwhile, two people briefed on talks between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors confirmed that Riyadh had pleaded for interceptors.