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USAF Chief Calls for Gulf Cooperation Against Iran

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Despite tensions between Gulf Cooperation Council states, the Iranian missile threat requires regional cooperation as the “best shot to defend the UAE is not always from the UAE. It may be Qatar or Oman,” says U.S. Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein.

In remarks at the Dubai International Air Chiefs conference yesterday, Goldfein sought to rally attendees representing the leadership of global and regional air forces to unite against common threats, with Iran singled out as the most immediate threat to the region. 

“The region is once again threatened by a country that does not respect the sovereign borders of its neighbors,” Goldfein says.

He cited Iran’s attacks this year on UAE oil tankers, a “defenseless” USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk and Saudi oil production and drilling facilities as examples of the current threat.

Moreover, Iran’s long-range ballistic missiles give targeted countries few options to respond by themselves. Single-digit minutes is the reaction time in the Gulf against a ballistic missile attack by Iran, Goldfein says. An interceptor launched from the targeted country requires a head-on collision, one of the most challenging angles for a successful kill, he says, so a missile fired toward the UAE may be easier to shoot down by the country’s neighbors.

“When a missile for the UAE is en route from Iran, that is not the time to start reconciling past grievances,” Goldfein says. “That time is now, today. Let us begin here at this conference.”



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