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US Upgrades Defense of Persian Gulf Allies


US upgrades defense of Persian Gulf allies
By Robert Burns, AP National Security Writer | Yahoo! News

The United States has begun beefing up its approach to defending its Persian Gulf allies against potential Iranian missile strikes, officials say. The defenses are being stepped up in advance of possible increased sanctions against Iran.

The Obama administration has quietly increased the capability of land-based Patriot defensive missiles in several Gulf Arab nations, and one military official said the Navy is increasing the presence of ships capable of knocking out hostile missiles in flight.

The officials discussed aspects of the defensive strategy Saturday on condition of anonymity because some elements are classified.

The moves, part of a broader adjustment in the U.S. approach to missile defense, including in Europe and Asia have been in the works for months. Details have not been publicly announced, in part because of diplomatic sensitivities in Gulf countries which worry about Iranian military capabilities but are cautious about acknowledging U.S. protection.

The White House will send a review of ballistic missile strategy to Congress on Monday that frames the larger shifts. Attention to defense of the Persian Gulf region, a focus on diffuse networks of sensors and weapons and cooperation with Russia are major elements of the study, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Russia opposed Bush administration plans for a land-based missile defense site in Eastern Europe, and President Barack Obama's decision to walk away from that plan last year was partly in pursuit of new capabilities that might hold greater promise and partly in deference to Russia. Read more.

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