Research Analyst Samuel Hickey authored an op-ed in The National Interest arguing that the thrust of U.S. involvement in the Middle East should put diplomatic engagement first.
“In preparation for President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East this week, a secret meeting of military officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt to discuss the potential for an Israeli-Arab air defense coalition. Dubbed by the Israelis as the Middle East Air Defense Alliance (MEAD), the plan is to share information about Iranian missile and air defense threats to the region—ballistic and cruise missiles as well as drones—and provide maximum visual coverage to achieve early detection of these threats.
However, missile defense integration is just a bigger band-aid over a seeping wound, which could, at worst, come at the expense of new dialogue between Iran and its adversaries to treat the infected area. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been engaging with Iran bilaterally to reduce tensions, but without a complementary diplomatic initiative to promote these talks and, ideally, inspire a regional dialogue, a missile defense coalition could increase the possibility of confrontation.” Read more