Skip to main content

The Limits to Europe's Pivot to the Gulf

As the US strategic posture pivots toward Asia, Europe is looking again at the Gulf.
Smoke is seen after United Arab Emirates F-16 fighter jets fired missiles during joint military manoeuvres with the French army in the desert of Abu Dhabi May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Job (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE SEE: GM1E85G1LE201 - RTR31I22

The idea of a closer European-Gulf security relationship has been in the air for several months.

In particular, the United Kingdom and France have expressed their resolve to foster better cooperation with the Gulf monarchies. At the same time, London is said to be preparing for a reshuffling, or pivoting, of its military in the Arabian Peninsula. Specifically, the British armed forces are considering using the Al Minhad Air Base in Dubai, as the hub for future regional interventions. In 2012, the United Kingdom signed a new defense cooperation agreement with Bahrain, and the government of Prime Minister David Cameron is involved in a huge effort to facilitate the sale of 100 Typhoon fighters to Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a package that could total more than $9 billion. This revamping of London's posture in the Gulf has led observers to speculate about a British policy of a “return to East of Suez.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.