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France and Kuwait renew military ties 24, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in French IR, Kuwait.
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200508rafalezt9Kuwait 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.

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