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France to provide arms support to UAE amid devastating Saudi-led war

The file photo shows a French-made Rafale fighter jet.

France says it will provide the United Arab Emirates with military support, specifically to boost its air defense system, amid an escalation in Yemen’s counterattacks against the Persian Gulf country. 

In a post on her Twitter account on Friday, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly claimed that the UAE “was victim of serious attacks on its territory in January."

"In order to show our solidarity with this friendly country, France has decided to provide military support, in particular to protect the airspace against any intrusion," she added.

Meanwhile, France's Armed Forces Ministry announced that under an agreement with Abu Dhabi, operations conducted from al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi, would offer refueling and surface-to-air capacities.

"Aircraft operations are planned ... in coordination with the Emirati air forces, to detect and intercept drone strikes or cruise missiles targeting the UAE," it said.

Last month, the UAE was targeted by three rounds of retaliatory missile and drone attacks deep inside Dubai and Abu Dhabi by the Yemeni army and its allied fighters from the Popular Committees.

The Emirates is Saudi Arabia’s main ally in a 2015-present bloody war and simultaneous siege that the kingdom has been leading against Yemen, seeking, in vain, to change the country’s ruling structure in favor of its former Riyadh-friendly officials.

Though the UAE announced it had completed its phased troop withdrawal from Yemen in February 2020, it still supports tens of thousands of militants operating in the conflict-ridden country.

In December 2021, the Emirates signed a deal to buy 80 French-made Rafale fighter jets and 12 Caracal military transport helicopters worth $19 billion. 

On Tuesday, the Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced a decision to dispatch a guided missile destroyer and 5th generation fighter jets to the region in support of the UAE’s aggression against Yemen.

During a telephone conversation with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Austin said the new US measures “include continuing to provide early warning intelligence, collaborating on air defense, and sending the US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Cole to partner with the UAE Navy before making a port call in Abu Dhabi,” according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The Austin also informed bin Zayed “of his decision to deploy 5th Generation Fighter aircraft to assist the UAE against the current threat and as a clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a long-standing strategic partner.”

The Yemeni forces have in recent months gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in Yemen, despite the arms and logistics support from the US and several Western states for the aggressor regimes. 

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