I should probably say something about the French military base in Abu Dhabi
. Frankly, I was more surprised by the fact that the Louvre is starting a branch museum there
. The larger point in that comment is that France and Abu Dhabi simply have ties in a number of fields, and I suspect this small assignment of 500 soldiers can be taken at face value. The French certainly want the status of a deployment in the region, and the Emiratis undoubtedly feel that having a small French contingent will contribute to the region's stability, which is their main strategic interest. This does have the long-term potential to disrupt the American monopoly on western forces in the region, but that's so far down the line from where we are I don't think it's worth considering at this point.
Labels: United Arab Emirates