Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt turn to top UN court in airspace feud with Qatar

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300 is moved on the Tarmac of Le Bourget airport on June 18, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 27 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt turn to top UN court in airspace feud with Qatar

  • Both sides, the quartet and Qatar, are turning to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to hear their grievances
  • The quartet decided to submit the airspace case to the ICJ on the grounds that the International Civil Aviation Organisation was not competent to consider the dispute

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt said Wednesday they would file a complaint at the highest UN court against Qatar over alleged airspace violations.
Both sides, the quartet and Qatar, are turning to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to hear their grievances.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt decided to submit the airspace case to the ICJ on the grounds that the International Civil Aviation Organisation was not competent to consider the dispute, Saudi and UAE state media said.
The UAE has filed two complaints with the ICAO over what Qatar’s rivals say are airspace violations that threaten civil aviation.
The UAE accuses Qatar of sending fighter jets to intercept passenger flights and a civilian helicopter in Bahraini airspace.
Doha has denied approaching any UAE-operated flights.
The Saudi-led bloc cut off relations with Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran, which Doha denies.
Qatar has also filed a case at the ICJ accusing the UAE of human rights violations.
Judges at the court in The Hague - which rules in disputes between countries - will start a three-day hearing at Doha’s request on Wednesday.
The row has left the small peninsula nation regionally isolated with its only land border closed, its state-owned airline barred from using its neighbours’ airspace.

 


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019
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Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”