WASHINGTON AND DUBAI — For years, the US has limited the sale of precision weaponry to the Arabian Gulf region, but analysts say a change may be coming.
While US State Department officials have said there is no official policy against the sale of long-range missiles, analysts argue there has long been an unofficial policy about selling these kinds of weapons in the region, driven largely by fear of them being used against Israel. That, in turn, drove Middle Eastern countries toward arms makers in Europe.
Two variants of French missile-maker MBDA’s Scalp missile have been particularly popular in the region. The Black Shaheen missile, a Scalp with slightly reduced range, has been purchased by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while the UK has sold a Storm Shadow variant to Saudi Arabia.