The tiny, oil-rich nation United Arab Emirates could be laying the foundation for an Arab peacekeeping force by seeking to buy more than 4,500 roadside-bomb protected trucks from the Pentagon, according to a U.S. government official.

The proposed sale was announced late last month by the State Department without indication of their use by peacekeepers. The transaction could net the Pentagon $2.5 billion and install a large fleet of armored, roadside-bomb-resistant trucks for use in the troubled region.

It follows a series of meetings in recent years between officials from the United States, UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional group of six Middle Eastern nations to establish joint security forces in the region. […]