France and Kuwait renew military ties 24, October 2009Posted by thegulfblog.com in French IR, Kuwait.
Tags: Arms sales, France, France military base, Kuwait, Rafael jet, Sarkoyz, UAE, UAE military base
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Kuwait and France have stepped up their military cooperation in a ceremony in Paris. The two armed forces undertook military manoeuvres recently but it has only been now that the deal for Kuwait to buy some 28 Rafael fighter-jets appears to have been officially agreed.
The Abu Dhabi based newspaper The National quotes the French Defense Minister declaring that this agreement heralds the beginning of France’s desire to “to regain its place and to play a full role to secure the stability and security of this strategic region.” However, analysts contacted for the piece are somewhat sceptical and see this gambit as little more than a sale’s exercise for Sarkozy. The truth, as so often, may well fall between these arguments.
France, it must be remembered, set up a military base in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, overlooking the Straits of Hormuz. For sure, a significant proportion of the reasoning behind this venture would be to give themselves prime position to supply the UAE with defense equipment and accouterments, given that the UAE are the world’s third largest arms importers. Yet, stationing troops on foreign soil in such a volatile area is, it could be argued, is going above and beyond the call of duty to accrue sales for French arms manufacturers.
There seems to be, therefore, overall, a desire by Emperor President Sarkozy to – as ever – assure and guarantee France’s place at the top table of international relations. Indeed, this is hardly surprising given his predilection for the international lime-light and France’s often palpable desire to be seen as an equal world power.
France’s military base in UAE 26, May 2009Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Foreign Policies, The Emirates.
Tags: Abu Dhabi, France, French military base, Iran, Nuclear deal, Torture tape, UAE military base, US
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President Sarkozy has finally opened France’s new military base in the UAE. The base, (which I wrote about here and here) which will operate as a training camp as well as an active military base, is expected to give France a further foothold in the lucrative arms-selling business in the region. Indeed, as I wrote at the end of April, the UAE are the third largest importers of arms and munitions in the world today. Additionally, the base will boost France’s prestige as well as prepare the ground for France’s collaboration in the construction of nuclear reactors in the Emirates. America’s support for such a deal appeared to be under threat because of the UAE torture tape (here, here and here) and the vociferous domestic reaction in the States. Nevertheless, it seems highly likely that the Emirates will get their nuclear technology, either through a reluctant but acquiescent America, or through France and their penchant for sanction and embargo breaking.