Italian forces kicked out of UAE over arms embargo

The United Arab Emirates is evicting Italian aircraft and personnel from a key military base in retaliation for an arms embargo slapped on the UAE by Rome in January reported Defense News quoting an Italian politician.

Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian member of parliament and member of the parliamentary defense commission, said Italy had been given until July 2 to leave the Al Minhad air base in the UAE.

Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian member of parliament and member of the parliamentary defense commission, told Defense News that Italy had been given until July 2 to leave the Al Minhad airbase in the UAE.

“The pull-out has already started and while work is underway by Italy to secure a last-minute cancellation of the eviction, I doubt it will succeed,” he said.

He added that when relationships break down in the Persian Gulf it is very hard to resurrect them.

Former Italian air force chief Gen. Leonardo Tricarico told Defense News that the last Italian aircraft had left the base on Thursday, leaving only residual material to collect.

Tricarico, who is now chairman of the ICSA think tank in Rome, said the eviction was just part of the harsh treatment of Italy doled out by the UAE.

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“The UAE has also denied the use of its airspace to Italian military aircraft,” he said.

The Italian ministry of defense did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Al Minhad base in Dubai in the UAE, which hosts aircraft from various nations, has been crucial to Italy since it took space in 2015 there for mounting flights over Iraq and as a stop-off en route to Italian bases in Afghanistan. If confirmed, the eviction may now seriously complicate Italy’s ongoing pull-out from Afghanistan.

Italy has also used Al Minhad as a base for flights in support of multinational operations in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean.

The UAE eviction has been linked to Italy’s decision in January to place an embargo on the sale of munitions and missiles to the UAE and Saudi Arabia due to concerns over the Persian Gulf states’ military campaign in Yemen.

The Italian embargo was implemented by a coalition government led by former prime minister Giuseppe Conte which was backed by the center-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Party.

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