The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) needs robust defense networks and comprehensive solutions that are practical and not theoretical, Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary General of the Council, said in his keynote speech at the third edition of the Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium (MEMAD).
The two-day event was held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi on 11-12 April 2012, and organized by the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) under the patronage of the UAE Armed Forces GHQ and with the full support of the UAE Air Force and Air Defense.
Explaining “the GCC vision for a regional missile defense shield”, Al Zayani stated: “We know very well the complete strengths and weaknesses facing us. We are in a position of strength to implement solutions for stability in the Middle East.
“One of the top GCC priorities is to establish economic security. We need to establish economic growth, more chances of jobs, education and health care, and keep a secure environment for growth. We don’t have enough jobs for our young men. Threats to the Gulf and the region are more complex than ever.”
He spoke about sophistication of threats including biological and nuclear terrorism, cyber crime and financial crime all separate from ballistic missile threats and missile defense systems. The GCC needs robust defense networks and comprehensive solutions that are practical and not theoretical.
He argued: “In war time, the most important thing is a civil defense system. Our success will depend on the strength of our defenses. We hope all Gulf countries will be ready to cooperate to solve international and regional problems. Building a comprehensive plan for a missile defense shield is an important strategy for protecting all our countries. Cooperation is practical. It sends a strong message to our allies and enemies. What about our ability to defend against a chemical or biological attack? We should be asking the question: are our air defenses suitable? We have to work more and more especially if we need to build confidence to defend against threats and enemies”.
“We need to develop an integrated missile defense shield. We are asking our allies to help us individually and collectively. The shield (as a solution) should be flexible and comprehensive. It should be a workable solution and not theoretical,” he added.