France in support of the United Arab Emirates against the Houthis

France will in turn come to the aid of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the United States, which announced on Wednesday February 2nd that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf. The petromonarchy has been the target of a spate of drone and missile attacks in recent weeks, mainly claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen, that have left three dead.

On Friday, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Twitter that French authorities had done so “decided to provide military support” in the Emirates, your closest partner on the Gulf, “particularly to protect their airspace from any intrusion”.

Specifically, the squadron of seven French Rafales based in the UAE is to be stationed in the skies of the Emirates “Surveillance, detection and interception if necessary”in terms of mme Negotiate. This decision is the result of Abu Dhabi’s activation of the defense agreement that has linked the two countries since 1995, on the terms of hexagonal support.

“Context of American Withdrawal”

“It is primarily a political act, a way for France to show its solidarity with its Emirati ally, while the Gulf monarchies are increasingly questioning whether their partners will be there in the face of America’s withdrawal from the Middle East and rising tensions with Iran.” be when you need them”analyzes Cinzia Bianco, golf expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

In Yemen, the Emirates have been part of the Saudi-led coalition since 2015, which supports government troops in the war against the Houthis. While Abu Dhabi repatriated much of its contingent in 2019, it remains an influential player in the conflict. There, his troops are arming and training a brigade that has dealt severe blows to insurgents in the Shabwa region of southern Yemen in recent weeks.

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The Rafales are already in action. Since January 24, the tricolor fighter jets have been flying two daily patrols in the airspace of the Emirates. A Crotale-type short-range surface-to-air defense system is also deployed. Opened in 2009, the French base in Abu Dhabi is home to around 650 troops spread across multiple locations, including two ports, a ground force right of way and an air base.

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