Will Normalization of Ties Open up the UAE Arms Market to Israel?

  • Our Bureau
  • 05:59 PM, August 13, 2020
  • 2098
Will Normalization of Ties Open up the UAE Arms Market to Israel?
IDEX arms fair, Abu Dhabhi; Image for illustration

The surprise announcement from the White House of a Trump-brokered normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel holds the promise of opening up Abu Dhabhi’s arms market to Israeli firms.

As per normalization of relations detailed in the announcement, “delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit.”

While tourism, technology and investment is an area the UAE may welcome from Israel; Tel Aviv has been aggressively pushing arms sales to countries it has relations with. It would certainly welcome opportunities to sell to the UAE, among the Middle East's biggest arms buyers 

Abu Dhabi has been trying to transition from a pure-play arms buyer to one that manufactures and sells to other countries. In recent years it has tied up with Ukraine for joint development of the AN-132 transport aircraft.

Its plans to set up joint ventures with several western manufacturers have not met with significant success with issues of intellectual property and third country sales holding up possible deals.

The UAE has set up a company called Edge to further its ambitions as an arms manufacturer. "Edge is set to bring products to market faster and at more cost-effective price points,” according Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of Edge.

 Drone manufacturing and upgrades to older generation weapons platforms are areas that Israel could help the UAE with. Getting into arms manufacturing deals with Israel will help opening up other Middle East and African countries which do not buy from Israel.

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