November 10, 2013


Iran standoff sees France winning Gulf friends, influence (John Irish, 11/10/13, Reuters)

France's tough line in major power talks with Iran may frustrate those looking for an early deal over Tehran's nuclear program, but is helping Paris to seal strategic new links with Gulf states and Israel. [...]

As France struggles to reform its weak domestic economy and watches Germany increasingly shape European Union policy, that is a realignment full of welcome trade and diplomatic promise for Hollande's government.

"This is not just about arms sales ... but about strategic influence in the region," said Middle East specialist Shashank Joshi at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

"France can win influence with Saudi Arabia and Israel." [...]

[W]ith France only last week hit by a second sovereign debt downgrade from ratings agency Standard and Poor's over its failure to kickstart its sluggish economy, Paris does not hide the fact that it regards exports to the Middle East as a precious source of growth and jobs.

In October, France sealed a contract to modernize six naval ships and tankers from Saudi Arabia, having won in July one billion euros worth of contracts with the United Arab Emirates for anti-aircraft radars and military observation satellites.

French officials say they are also optimistic on securing a large deal to deliver anti-aircraft defense missiles to Riyadh and the sale of Rafale fighter jets to neighboring Qatar.

There's a name for someone whose position you can buy.

Posted by at November 10, 2013 1:24 PM

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