The U.S. is building a missile defense radar station in Qatar. This is part of a series of U.S. actions designed to protect allies and U.S. facilities from an attack by Iran
The Wall Street journal reports that the base will be built in a secret location in Qatar. The facility will be just one part of a system meant to defend U.S. facilities and also its Gulf area allies against Iranian rockets according to anonymous U.S. officials.
The station is slated to be completed by the end of July. The base will house an AN/TPY-2 radar. This site plus two other sites in Turkey and the Negev Desert form an arc.
The three sites together can detect any missiles launched deep inside Iran from northern, southern or western Iran. The radar stations also link to interceptor batteries throughout the region and to U.S. ships that have high altitude interceptor rockets.
Qatar is home to the largest U.S. military base in the region, All Udeid Air Base. Together with another base a total of 8,000 U.S. troops are in Qatar. Qatar has often shared U.S.policy aims especially in Libya and now in Syria.
In response to an Al Jazeera reporter's question about the site, the Pentagon replied."We have a number of allies and partners in the region with whom we seek to build greater cooperation, and our goal is to address a wide range of US security interests there."
As mentioned earlier the U.S. has had a similar radar station in the Negev desert on Mount Keren for four years. The station in Turkey is part of NATO's missile defense shield. The anonymous U.S. officials claim the U.S. Central Command intends to deploy a THADD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system within the next few months. The system might be deployed in the United Arab Emirates.
Tension in the Gulf area has been increasing of late. Some Iranian officials threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in reaction to the severe sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program.
In response the U.S. together with 20 allies will hold a mine sweeping exercise in a number of areas in September although not in the Straits of Hormuz. The U.S. Central Command said the exercise would focus on a hypothetical threat to mine strategic waterways in the Middle East.
Israel is threatening a military strike on Iran and Hillary Clinton said recently while in Jerusalem., “we will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Iran has always maintained that its nuclear program is strictly for civilian power purposes.
High tensions in the region were underscored yesterday when a U.S. Navy vessel fired on a fishing boat off the coast of Dubai after it ignored warnings not to approach. The shooting killed one Indian fisherman and wounded three others.
The Pentagon also announced deployment schedules yesterday that will keep two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region until at least late-March. The U.S. is preparing for a possible attack against Iran and also to defend against any counter attacks.