The strategic non-alignment of the United Arab Emirates in the UN Security Council

Posted on February 26, 2022 at 2:41 p.m

The UN Security Council met in New York on Friday night to vote on the draft resolution, sponsored by the United States and Albania, condemning Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine.

As expected, the text was rejected due to Moscow’s veto, but the move was meant to symbolize Vladimir Putin’s unanimous international isolation and unleash the first invasion war on the European continent since 1939. China, India and the United Arab Emirates eventually messed up the message.

The Indians are considered to have missed out on history’s rendezvous. As for the Chinese position, this is hardly surprising given the recent revelations of an ongoing dialogue between the Kremlin and Xi Jinping in recent weeks. It is really the Emirates’ non-alignment that raises questions, as the Emiratis are seen as reliable Western allies in the Middle East.

strategic partnership

Especially since they have been linked to France by an important strategic defense partnership since 2009. Between 700 and 1,000 French troops are stationed there permanently, within a system that includes the Abu Dhabi naval base and Al Dhafra Air Base 104, where the 1/7 Fighter Squadron “Provence” and its Rafale detachment are based.

It was this bias that made it possible to trigger the Apagan evacuation operation in Kabul last summer when the Taliban returned.

The solidity of this cooperation was recently confirmed by France’s announcement of its participation in the reinforcement of the UAE’s air defenses, still from the Al Dhafra base, in the face of the Houthi threat following the January 17 drone attack. First successful strike in an area that had so far been spared the security implications of the war in Yemen.

Without forgetting the diplomacy of the Rafale and the signing of the historic contract last December, which provided for the sale of 80 aircraft by Paris to the Emirates for 16 billion euros.

Paris keeps in touch

After the abstention of the Arab partner, the first reactions of the observers were generally critical. Like former French ambassador to Damascus Michel Duclos, who took to Twitter to describe the event as “a bad omen”.

This morning at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, unsurprisingly, we had no specific comment to make on the status of the strategic partnership. The Elysée side told the Echos that they had hoped “that the Emirates would vote with us because they share a common bond with the sovereignty of States, peace and security. And to add that Paris is in touch, “at this time when friendship with Russia should not prevent us from saying clearly what we think of his action. »

According to a former Air Force officer, “It won’t go much further than a phone call to the President of the Federation because the military and industrial aspects are much more important. »

“Business is business”?

So, despite the drama unfolding in Kyiv, business is business? “It would be a mistake to interpret the Emirates’ reaction as weakness towards Putin,” said Senator Nathalie Goulet, who was a member of the French delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. “With the Vienna Group meeting scheduled for March 2 and the implications of this war for global energy policy, you may be well advised to play it safe.”

Because when it comes to renegotiating gas prices or gambling on oil production levels to free westerners from Russia’s stranglehold, Abu Dhabi could be the last point of contact who can address all parts. “A way not to offend the future, and which could even work to our advantage in due course,” adds the elected official, who is used to the region’s diplomatic secrets.

A sequence to register also in the context of the diversification of alliances operated by the Gulf powers for a year and a half, in the face of what is still perceived as an American withdrawal in the region.

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