DUBAI (Middle East Eye) – The top U.S. general overseeing Middle East operations said Washington will help the United Arab Emirates restock its missiles used to stop incoming missiles following a spate of retaliatory attacks by Yemen’s army, according to a report by Reuters.
“We will help with replenishment of interceptors. And we’ll do everything we can to assist the UAE in defending themselves,” General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told Reuters after a trip to Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
The general did not offer further specifics, however a source told the news agency that the UAE had privately requested U.S. replenishment of missile interceptors, including for its Thaad and Patriot systems.
The latest move by Washington would come a week after the Biden administration approved a possible $65mn sale of spare parts for those missile systems to the UAE.
The Pentagon also announced the deployment of a guided-missile destroyer and advanced U.S. F-22 fighter jets to the UAE last week, despite U.S. President Joe Biden’s earlier pledge to end support for the war on Yemen.
McKenzie recently revealed plans to boost the United Arab Emirates missile systems to fight neighboring countries.
“We are working with our partners here in the region and with the industry back in the United States to develop solutions that would work against drones,” he told UAE state news agency WAM in an interview.
“We would like to work against drones what we call ‘Left of Launch,’ [meaning] before they can be launched.”
The UAE has been on alert since January 17, when Yemeni armed forces conducted a drone and missile attack against the Persian Gulf country over its involvement in the war on Yemen.
Since then, Yemen has conducted several retaliatory attacks against the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which leads the military coalition against Yemen.
Yemen’s retaliatory attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been followed by heavy bombings of Yemeni cities, especially Sana’a, by the Saudi-led coalition.
Riyadh and its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates, launched the devastating war against its impoverished southern neighbor in 2015. The war has been supported by the United States and European powers.
The military conflict, coupled with the crippling blockade, has triggered a severe humanitarian crisis in the country, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more left dependent on humanitarian aid.