Bahrain Deploys Patriot Missiles
Sun Jan 26, 9:57 AM ET
By ADNAN MALIK, Associated Press Writer
MANAMA, Bahrain - Bahrain, a key U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf, has announced it is deploying Patriot missile batteries to counter any possible long-range missile threats, newspapers reported Sunday.
The announcement to deploy Patriots, one of world's few workable defenses against surface-to-surface guided missiles, came during a visit Saturday by the king, Sheik Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to the kingdom's Royal Field Artillery Unit, several pro-government newspapers reported Sunday.
An Information Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Patriot deployment, but would not comment further. Telephone calls to the Defense Ministry spokesperson's office went unanswered.
King Hamad, who is supreme commander of the island's defense force, said introduction of the Patriots, "would reinforce (Bahrain's) air defense against ballistic missiles threats," newspapers said.
None of the Bahraini newspapers said how many Patriot batteries were deployed or elaborated on the source of the ballistic missile threat. It wasn't clear when the deployment would be completed.
Iraq fired long-range Scuds at Bahrain, base for the U.S. Navy (news - web sites)'s 5th Fleet, twice during the 1991 Gulf war (news - web sites). Of more than 800 long-range Scuds provided by the former Soviet Union, Iraq also fired 43 at Saudi Arabia, 39 at Israel and one at Qatar during the war. Scuds also were widely used by the Iraqis during the latter part of the 1980-88 war with Iran.
The United States and Britain say Iraq is hiding mass destruction weapons and that they will disarm the Arab nation by force if necessary. They are assembling the biggest ground, naval and air force in the Gulf since a U.S.-led coalition defeated Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War.