Qatar was one of the first two partners of France to trust Dassault Aviation's Rafale, just as it trusted the Mirage 2000 twenty years earlier, the device having long been the backbone of the small state's air defense. gas. Not only did Doha order 24 Rafale from Paris in 2015, only a few weeks after the first export order for the aircraft by Egypt, but it ordered, two years later, a dozen additional units, as well as the modernization of its floats to the F3R standard. In this sense, Doha certainly played an important role in the success that we know today of the Rafale. However, for several years, the proximity of the Emir of Qatar with the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as with Turkey and Pakistan, has posed serious problems for several allies of France in the region, as well as for French authorities.
In recent weeks, the unease has escalated when Doha took its newly acquired Rafale into a large-scale exercise in Turkey, allowing the country's air forces, but also the Azerbaijani and Pakistani air forces, which were also taking part. during the exercise, to become familiar with the performance of the French apparatus. However, the Rafale constitutes a centerpiece in the defensive arsenal of Athens against Ankara, just like the mirage 2000, and the same goes for the Indian Rafale, the pivot of the air component of the Indian deterrence against China and Pakistan, as well as its air defense. From then on, the media of the two client countries and allies of France were quite logically worried to see their main adversaries training against Rafale Qatari having, more or less, the same performances and armaments as those which equip or will equip their own air forces.
We remember the decisive role played by the Iraqi Mig-21 recovered in 1966 by the Israeli secret services at the end of a 4-year mission which ended in the defection of a young pilot and his aircraft, and which found all its justification during the 6-day war, when the Israeli mirage pilots knew perfectly well the maneuvering capacities and the blind spots of the new Soviet fighter which equipped the Egyptian, Iraqi and Syrian air forces. Worse, if we can say that, the two allies of Doha, the Turkish RT Erdogan and the Pakistani I. Khan, have more than tense relations, and sometimes even conflicting with France itself, as shown by the skirmishes between the French and Turkish navies in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years. However, Doha does not seem to be moved by this situation, nor by the probable discreet protests of Paris on the subject. Let us recall that the French authorities put Turkey under an arms embargo following the intervention of its armies in Syria against the Kurdish forces allied with France. Thus, Paris blocked the export of armor elements for the Altay tank, and vetoed the development by Italy of an anti-aircraft defense system in cooperation with Ankara based on the Aster system.
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