The United Arab Emirates has reportedly lobbied several European countries in hopes of easing
the restrictions on weapons exports. Emirati officials are in discussion with their European
counterparts and have stressed that Gulf is in need to defend itself. The country has been
highlighting the UAE’s drawdown of troops in Yemen. The restrictions were imposed because of
concerns that weapons might get used in the conflict in Yemen. The weapon ban was due to the
Saudi-led military coalition, which includes the UAE, and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
The Lobbying Efforts Of the UAE Have Resulted In Success In Germany
The lobbying efforts made by the UAE’s defenses have been successful in Germany. The Gulf
state keeps closely guarded on grounds of national security and they have been demanding
Europe ease the weapons export ban.
Germany has granted an export license for German-made generators that will be used in
protecting UAE cities and airports. The push by Emirati officials and their lobbying efforts started
when the tanker attacks off the Gulf state’s coast this summer intensified. This followed an
assault on oil plants in neighboring Saudi Arabia in mid-September.
The UAE government’s media office and foreign ministry have not responded to any of these
issues. According to recent details, the UAE started to withdraw troops in June and a small
number remain in strategic locations.
Emirati Lobbying Effort With Germany Intensifies
The UAE has tightened security at home and the Emirati authorities have expanded coastguard
patrols around the country as well. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are under harsh criticism in the
West over Yemen.
This conflict has resulted in the death of tens of thousands of people and has also pushed many
areas in Yemen to the brink of famine. This was the major reason why Germany had imposed a
ban on exporting weapons to parties that were directly involved in the Yemen war.
Emirati effort with Germany was headed by Sultan al-Jaber who is the UAE’s special envoy for
Germany. The chief executive of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), has
also made a lot of efforts to ease the weapon ban restrictions. Jaber and other UAE officials
have raised concerns about the ban with the German officials in the last five meetings held
between Berlin and Abu Dhabi since May.
“The moment the UAE pulled out of Yemen it was a game-changer” for the German
government, said a person who is a close source of the German and UAE officials on the
Emirates Lobbying Linked To The Swedish Defense Firm Saab
Germany is pleased with UAE’s retreat from Yemen and it also views the Gulf state as playing a
constructive role in Libya. Several German government officials have been siding with the UAE
and it seems as if the lobbying activities of the UAE have already paid off.
“The government … makes choices on permits for arms exports on a case-by-case basis and in
light of the situation after careful assessments that take into account foreign policy and security
considerations,” the economy ministry said in a statement.
Swedish defense firm Saab AB < SAABb.ST> has also pressed Stockholm on Abu Dhabi’s
behalf and has urged the government to secure licenses for GlobalEye surveillance jets. These
jets are equipped with a multi-sensor early warning system.
Saab has soughed the licenses, then would enable them to export two additional jets. Sweden
in January tightened the criteria for new export licenses to all the countries that have been
involved in the Yemen war. The tighter criteria mean that the weapons sold to the UAE would be
more closely scrutinized by the Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP).
Saab, a press released stressed the UAE’s intention to purchase two new surveillance jets. The
firm claims that UAE is purchasing the jets in “amendment” to a previous contract that was pre-
dated in January. The new purchases would be worth $1 billion.
Saab’s president and chief executive, Micael Johansson, shared that UAE has secured a
license this autumn and will be buying two surveillance jets. It was unclear what had prompted
the government to award the licenses. “I don’t know exactly how Swedish authorities and
politicians assessed that factor but of course, it helps if the (Yemen) conflict is going in the right
direction,” said Johansson.