United Arab Emirates is eying more than 4,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the United States.
A government official who spoke on condition of anonymity toldStars and Stripes on Tuesday that a $2.5 billion dollar deal could help form an Arab peacekeeping force composed of six Middle Eastern nations.
“The MRAPs are for the legitimate defense and security requirements of the UAE,” Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith told the paper.
“The vehicles will be used to increase force protection, to conduct humanitarian assistance operations, and to protect vital international commercial trade routes and critical infrastructure. Additionally, these MRAPs will enhance UAE’s burden-sharing capacity and defensive capabilities,” she added.
John Pike, executive director of GlobalSecurity.org, told the paper that the oil-rich nation’s interest in the MRAPs is also meant to send adversaries a message.
“The Emiratis are gearing up. Iran. The caliphate. All comers,” he said. “They are serious. They are not to be messed with and they want to make sure that everybody knows they are not to be messed with.”
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