Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Increasing demand for US intelligence threatens GCC states, institute warns

China is becoming a bigger player in surveillance gathering for countries in the region

An increasing demand for Washington's intelligence may pose a security threat to Gulf states. Waseem Obaidi for The National
An increasing demand for Washington's intelligence may pose a security threat to Gulf states. Waseem Obaidi for The National

Gulf states may no longer be able to rely on critical US intelligence to address regional challenges due to increasing demand for this intelligence from Eastern Europe and the Indo-Pacific region, according to a leading research institute.

A dossier from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) on Friday found that amid increasing demand for an array of information there was a limited amount of locally-generated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

The main challenge, the London-based institute said, would be a reduction over time in Gulf-allocated shared material from America.

Despite the importance of ISR in containing and countering security threats facing the region, the dossier said there appears to be little to no sharing of or cooperation on ISR capabilities within the GCC members themselves.

US export policies have in the past impeded the Gulf states’ acquisition of certain classes of ISR systems, the dossier said.

But it noted that China has been a willing provider of armed uninhabited aerial vehicles for the armed ISR role to GCC states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, systems these countries were unable to access elsewhere. Beijing, the dossier notes, is certain to attempt to build its share in the region.

Updated: November 22, 2019 08:11 PM

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