Bahrain, Jordan seek patriot defence system

28 January 2003
Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, is to deploy patriot air defence missile batteries to counter the threat of long-range surface-to-surface rockets, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa announced on 25 January. The size of the deployment was not revealed. During the 1990-91 Gulf war Iraq twice fired long-range scud missiles at the kingdom.

Jordan has also requested patriots from the US, according to local press reports. Jordanian airspace was violated during the Gulf war when Saddam Hussein fired 39 scud missiles at Israel. Amman had been in discussions with Moscow for the supply of air defence systems, but the Russians recently admitted to difficulties in meeting the delivery schedule (MEED 17:1:03). King Abdullah has been among the most pessimistic of world leaders on the chances of avoiding a US-led war against Iraq, which he describes as slim. On 27 January, he told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that he hoped any action would be 'as quick and painless as possible'.

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