Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Nuclear Fraternity between Saudi and France

By: Moaf

During recent months Saudi Arabia declares its need for nuclear facilities. Finally, France and Saudi Arabia agreed on Wednesday to press ahead with feasibility studies to build two nuclear reactors. They set up a joint committee in May to finalize 20 defensive projects to transport infrastructure and civil aviation which worth $12 billion. Airbus will sell 23 H-145 multipurpose helicopters to Saudi Arabia for €500 million under one agreement as well as 50 Airbus passenger planes valued at $8 billion for Saudi Airlines. Saudi will acquire 30 patrol boats for its navy.

France and Saudi both issue concerns about a P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal. France, as a member of the P5+1, practiced sabotaging the negotiations several times. The talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries suddenly collapsed in 2014 after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius joined the peace talks in Geneva and warned against accepting what he called “a fool’s deal”.

In addition, Saudi Arabia sees Iran as its principal adversary. On April, after several meetings with US officials, Saudi Kingdom expressed its hope that the nuclear deal would lead to a “Middle East and the Arabian Gulf region free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons”. Confronting Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel the two long-time foes, now even share merging interests in the region.

All of these are because French and Saudi officials believe that any future deal between Iran and six major powers must ensure not to destabilize the region, while Iran has not encountered any other countries in at least the latest 500 years, historically!

At the end of the day, after the first “Franco-Saudi Joint Commission” Fabius said on Wednesday that their deal “represents the creation of many jobs and hundreds of millions of euros”.

It seems that with European sever economic issues and high rate of unemployment, when the Saudis began to flash some of their petrodollars around, it was certainly something of interest to the French. So after agreements about French military assistance to Saudis, now it’s time for more, such as Nuclear and other new contracts.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has been under international pressure, including from Washington and Paris, to drop a sentence of 1,000 lashes for a renowned human rights activist and blogger. According to an AFP count, Saudi Arabia executed 102 locals and foreigners in the year to mid-June, compared with 87 during all of 2014. Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has confirmed death sentences for two suspected Saudi al-Qaida members convicted of murdering four Frenchmen in 2007– one of whom was a teenager — near the western city of Medina while they were on a desert excursion from their homes in the capital Riyadh.

Due to its financial issues, France is reinforcing links with the conservative kingdom despite firm criticism of its human rights record, while Riyadh is broadening ties with other western powers such as France rather than its traditional alliance with U.S. In this way, French and Saudi bluster about Middle Eastern destabilizing turns out to be pointless. U.S. is favoring both anti-Iran deal parties with their shares managing the agreement with Iran.

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