The United Arab Emirates Defense Ministry said it had intercepted and neutralized three “hostile drones” that reportedly attacked an unspecified part of the country on Wednesday. 

This would mark the fourth recent attack on the UAE’s territory.

On Twitter, the country’s defense ministry said it is “ready to deal with any threats and is taking all necessary measures to protect the state and its territory.”

In recent weeks, the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen launched several missile and drone attacks against the UAE. Three people were killed in one such attack against the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi in January. 

However, the Righteous Promise Brigades – an obscure militant group operating in Iraq – claimed responsibility for the latest attack against the UAE. Iran has built a network of loyal terrorist proxies across the region, including Iraq. 

Washington is increasingly concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the UAE. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin offered assistance during a conversation with the Emirati Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday, while U.S. President Joe Biden also repeated Washington’s pledge to protect its Middle Eastern ally.

U.S. officials said that the United States intends to send a war ship and fighter jets to assist defending the UAE. The American military deployment is intended to constitute “a clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a long-standing strategic partner,” the U.S. embassy said. 

Emirati Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba welcomed America’s commitment to the UAE’s security. 

“U.S. naval and air deployments to the UAE are a welcome and valued signal of common purpose against Houthi and other threats,” the Emirati envoy  said. “Close UAE-US cooperation in air defense has been critical to protecting the UAE and UAE-based US personnel against recent Houthi-launched missile and drone attacks. For more than 25 years, the UAE-US security partnership has made both countries safer.”

The UAE has a compact but modern military, equipped with advanced U.S. weapons. The Emiratis have been eyeing U.S. F35 jets for its air force ever since it signed the normalization agreement with Israel in 2020. However, mixed signals from the new administration have left the Emiratis increasingly frustrated and impatient.

In December, the UAE announced that it would buy advanced French Rafale jets. At the same time, the Emiratis suspended negotiations with the United States over a potential deal of buying 50 F35 jets for $23 billion. However, it is still too early to conclude whether the UAE-F35 saga is indeed over. 

U.S. allies in the Middle East are increasing their cooperation as Washington appears to be on its way out of the turbulent region. The Jewish state is reportedly seriously considering selling its advanced Iron Dome anti-missile system to its new ally the UAE, Israeli Channel 13 news reported on Monday. 

The Emiratis are currently operating a South Korean-manufactured anti-missiles system. The Iranian-backed Houthis launched a missile attack at the UAE during the historic visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to the capital Abu Dhabi. While Jerusalem has reportedly not made a final decision, the export of the Iron Dome to the UAE could become part of a wider network of regional defenses between Sunni Arab states and Israel as a response to growing aggression from the Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies across the region from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen.

On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz became the first Israeli defense minister to officially visit Bahrain, another Arab ally of the Jewish state. Like Israel and the UAE, Bahrain feels threatened by the regime in Tehran. Deployment of Iron Dome anti-missile systems in the UAE could, in fact, benefit the Jewish state, as well and serve as an early defense system against Tehran’s considerable missile arsenal. 

Share this article