In a letter addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud warned that Saudi Arabia will take a military action against Qatar if it acquires Russian-made S-400 long-range air-defense systems, the French newspaper Le Monde reported on June 1.
“The Kingdom [Saudi Arabia] would be ready to take all necessary measures to eliminate this defense system, including military action,” King Salman warned in the latter.
According to Le Monde, the Saudi king asked Macron to help to prevent the Russian-Qatari S-400 deal in order to preserve the stability in the region.
The S-400 is a high-altitude long-range air-defense system that can be armed with 40N6 missiles, which have an active radar guidance and a range of up to 400 km. The system also includes 91N6E radar with a detection range up to 570 km. The radar can even detect fifth generation warplanes from a distance up to 150 km, according to pro-Russian sources.
Qatar first showed its interest in the S-400 air-defense system in late 2017. Later in January of 2018, Qatari Ambassador to Russia Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyahin revealed that Doha and Moscow are at an “advanced stage” of negotiating the purchase of the S-400 air-defense system.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June of 2017 after accusing the gulf country of funding terrorist groups in the region. Since then, Qatar has increased its military spending, in what appears to be an attempt to deter Saudi Arabia and its allies.