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Defence: France military in Hormuz; EDA gets cracking

by The3rdColumn Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 07:18:04 PM EST

L'armée française prend pied dans le Golfe (French Army sets up base in the Gulf)

The French army will set up a military base in the United Arab Emirates according to a report last month by Le Figaro.

The agreement was signed between France and the UAE following a visit by President Sarkozy in the Gulf region. Some 500 troops will be deployed in the UAE on a "permanent basis" and will be based in Abu Dhabi, considered the most important hydrocarbon producers in the federation. The base will be located facing the Hormuz Straits, site of collission between the US and Iranian navies.

The French will be joining US and British military already based in the area.

The stationning of 500 troops or so, in the Straits of Hormuz may be taken as a sign that France wants show the world that she is an international key player in the Gulf, a status that only the US and the UK have enjoyed so far. While an Al Qaeda or Islamist extremist terrorist threat to the more moderate Gulf states is real, France's agreed military presence could be considered a mere token or for 'show-off' or deterrence purposes at best.

Undoubtedly, the economic angle, i.e., the oil question and more, ta da... nuclear business prospects to say the least, may be the real motivation behind France's presence in the Hormuz. If so, the logic, i.e., France's presence in the Straits, then becomes implaccable especially after a cooperation agreement was signed between the two nations for the development of nuclear energy in the UAE, an agreement that could bring billions in dollars to French businesses and high-flying industrialists.

President Sarkozy sure looks like he's giving it all he's got -- his campaign promise to bring out France from its moribund economic state may soon fly (or so he hopes.) Incidentally, the Financial Times reported that France has overtaken the UK in terms of gross national product putting France in 5th place among the world's super powers.


Meanwhile, for those who are keen for Europe to stand on its own two feet, at least in matters of defence, you'll be glad to know that the EDA (European Defence Agency) held a high profile meet today on logistics (well, gotta start somewhere and logistics seem to be a good one to start with) announcing EDA Conference Sees Benefits from Greater Use of Commercial Logistics to Support EU Military Operations. In essence, it was all about what, how, when to and why buy, etc. The meeting was opened by Javier Solana, High Representative and Head of European Defence Agency.

(Frankly, it would have been an interesting conference if only every star ranking speaker had stuck to his time allotment. Each speaker was supposed to deliver a 10-minute speech but some military officers got over-excited and went on and on and on and ended up saying nothing.)

But to ET's EU united defence enthusiasts, I say, don't get all excited now -- Europe is still far from achieving a working defence institution for a united EU, what with veritably, only TEN MILLION EUROS allocated for equipment purchase! Believe me, that's not gonna buy a lot of defence for the EU. No way, Jose!

UAE and Qatar launch military exercises with France

26 February 2008 17:30
The UAE and Qatar have launched a series of military exercises with France in the Gulf.
It is the first such action since French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced in January that France would build a 400-strong military base in Abu Dhabi to be operational by next year.

France has committed 1,500 troops to the exercise, the UAE a further 1,500, and Qatar 3,000. Saudi Arabia has not committed its forces to the operation but King Abdullah has permitted the use of Saudi airspace and territorial waters.

The exercises will focus on repelling missile and naval landings from the east, suggesting the Gulf states wish to rehearse in the event of any Iranian attack. The troops will also practice securing critical oil and gas facilities in the UAE and Qatar.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 07:13:53 AM EST
News | Africa - Reuters.com

CAPE TOWN, Feb 28 (Reuters) - France is to renegotiate all its defence cooperation agreements with African countries, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday in a move that could alter France's military support for some of its closest allies.

France has defence cooperation agreements with several of its former colonies, under which French armed forces provide African states with varying degrees of military assistance.

"All the heads of state concerned have been informed," Sarkozy told a news conference while on an official visit to South Africa.

"I will talk about this issue this afternoon in the South African parliament," Sarkozy said, adding: "I will announce the renegotiation of all our defence agreements in Africa and the totally transparent publication of all of these agreements."

This is a new one:

...totally transparent publication...

What is Sarkozy up to?

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 08:11:32 AM EST
Hi Elco, With regard to defence cooperations or agreements, nothing unusual -- most western countries sign defence cooperation labeled as treaties with many countries in the world.

These treaties do not necessarily entail joining war efforts of one or the other treaty signatory nation; terms of defence agreements could include anything from joint military exercises for training purposes, exchange knowledge, info/intel, etc. and don't usually reflect an 'aggressive' nature but more on the defensive.

I won't be surprised to learn that Belgium too has signed cooperations of this nature with a few countries not only in Africa but also in Asia.

If it's true that Pres Sarkozy has promised to make public the defence cooperations France signs with other nations, that's a good step forward. I believe the French people have a right to know, scrutinize and ask questions, have a say about the treaties that the French govt signs with other nations.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 09:38:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Defence: France military in Hormuz; EDA gets cracking
....only TEN MILLION EUROS allocated for equipment purchase! Believe me, that's not gonna buy a lot of defence for the EU.

EDA is not a money spending institution: for defence it's still the national governments who pay the bills.

EDA has a managing function, they do oversee billions of Euro's.
But the first steps to 'spend together' are set:
EDA : Background : Background

The Agency manages a portfolio of over 40 Research & Technology collaborations. The Defence Ministers acknowledged that they need to "spend more" and spend "more together" on Research and Technology. As a practical first step towards this goal, in November 2006, a ground-breaking Joint R&T Investment Programme has been approved, with the aim to develop new technologies helping to provide better protection for the European armed forces. 20 governments pledged a budget of more than € 55 Mio into it.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 08:43:26 AM EST

That's why we shouldn't get all excited about wanting a united defence front for the EU... we have a long way to go, long way!

by The3rdColumn on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 09:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I was asked for advice, I would say don't spend a penny that is not absolutely necessary for military matters.  Its the thing that is bankrupting the US and not just economically.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 12:21:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the Richelieu will need a room to play in.

/new kid on the block

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 12:34:18 PM EST
Did you know that grown men are still lil boys at heart?
by The3rdColumn on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 12:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stupid Gordon Brown... If it wasn't for his stingy-stupidness, that ship would be nuclear-powered. And so would the two British ones.

Yes, yes, the CdG had issues with the reactor, but this time they could have done what the EdF did in the 70's: buy and adapt American reactor technology.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 01:01:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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