According to the media, Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the United Arab Emirates on December 3, in addition to celebrating the country’s 50th anniversary, would have the main objective of finalizing the sale of dozens of Rafale fighter jets produced by the French company Dassault. Aviation. France is promoting these sales even though the United Arab Emirates has played a leading role in the military operations of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen. The UAE was also involved in the latest conflict in Libya, which ended in June 2020, where UAE forces killed civilians in illegal airstrikes and drones, while providing weapons and ammunition. to abusive local forces. Yet the United Arab Emirates ranks 5th among France’s arms customers between 2011 and 2020.
Macron will then go to Saudi Arabia, the biggest buyer of French arms in 2020. France has stubbornly continued its arms exports to Saudi Arabia in defiance of UN experts who have called on France and d ‘others to stop exports to the coalition because they could be used to commit illegal attacks or even war crimes.
France’s support for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is all the more reprehensible as their leaders have failed to improve their countries’ dire human rights records at the national level, despite their efforts public relations efforts to portray themselves as progressive and tolerant internationally are in full swing. While there is little hope that Macron will condition France’s support for concrete progress in this area, he should at the very least publicly call on the UAE to release Ahmed Mansoor and other dissidents. Likewise, in Saudi Arabia, he is expected to address the atrocious murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. To remain silent on these issues would amount to turning a blind eye to serious human rights violations.
In Qatar, Macron is expected to tackle human rights violations against migrant workers ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be held there.
France’s arms sales and the protection of questionable military partnerships in the name of the fight against terrorism and to the detriment of human rights will remain a stain in Macron’s diplomatic record.