US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the US-Arab Quint Meeting with representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 29, 2024.

Blinken Calls On Persian Gulf States To Unify Defense To Counter Iran's Threat

Monday, 04/29/2024

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of increased collaboration with and among the Persian Gulf states to develop an integrated defense strategy aimed at countering Iran's regional influence.

“We’re focused on addressing the greatest threat to regional stability and regional security: Iran. …[Iran’s attack on Israel] highlights the acute and growing threat from Iran, but also the imperative that we work together on integrated defense,” Blinken said at Monday’s meeting with Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council Member States.

Blinken is on his inaugural leg of what some are calling a Middle East "crisis tour," making a stop in Riyadh to meet with Arab leaders to try and push for an Israel-Hamas ceasefire and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The visit marks Blinken’s first time in the region since tensions between Tehran and Jerusalem began to ramp up.

The Secretary of State said that an upcoming meeting would enhance defense collaboration between the US and Persian Gulf states in response to Iran’s attack on Israel and the wider threat posed by Tehran.

“​​That’s the focus of the meeting that’s coming up in a few weeks with the US-GCC Working Group on Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Maritime Security,” Blinken said.

This month, Iran launched over 300 projectiles, including over 100 ballistic missiles, in its first direct attack at Israel.

The IDF has reported that it has, along with its allies, stopped 99% of the projectiles Iran fired on the country.

The attack followed the killing of seven senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) personnel in a strike on what was claimed to be Tehran’s consulate building in Damascus – an action widely attributed to Israel.

Israel’s retaliation, several strikes targeting the city of Isfahan, were largely downplayed by Tehran.

According to reporting from The Economist, new satellite imagery indicates that Iran responded by replacing a destroyed air-defense radar with a new one, effectively saving face while de-escalating tensions with Israel.

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