As the Obama administration moves closer to imposing tough economic sanctions against Iran, the US military has reportedly installed and upgraed the capability of land-based Patriot defensive missiles in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar. The Patriot missile systems, which originally were deployed in the region to shoot down aircraft, now can hit missiles in flight. [AP, 30 January]
The US has now deployed eight Patriot missile batteries - two each in the four countries
The US Navy is also reportedly deploying a number of Aegis ships in the Persian Gulf capable of knocking down hostile missiles in flight.
One military official has told AP the adjustments in the Gulf should be seen as prudent defensive measures designed to deter Iran from taking aggressive action in the region.