UAE Squeezes Italian Armed Forces Out of Gulf Base
By Staff, Agencies
The United Arab Emirates is evicting Italian planes and personnel from a major military installation in retribution for an arms embargo imposed on the UAE by Rome in January this year, Defense News reported on Friday, citing an Italian MP.
Italy has reportedly been given until July 2 to leave the Arab country's Al Minhad airbase, according to Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian Member of Parliament and member of the parliamentary military commission.
"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," di Cremnago is quoted in the report as saying.
If verified, the eviction might make Italy's current withdrawal from Afghanistan much more difficult.
"When relationships break down in the Gulf it is very hard to resurrect them," the politician noted.
The last Italian aircraft left the base on Thursday, leaving just residual items to gather, the outlet reported, citing former Italian air force head General Leonardo Tricarico. The eviction, according to Tricarico, is part of the UAE's severe treatment of Italy, as the Gulf nation "has also denied the use of its airspace to Italian military aircraft."
The military base has also been utilized by Italy to support multinational operations in the Horn of Africa peninsula and the Indian Ocean.
The eviction could reportedly be related to Italy's decision in January to impose a ban on the sale of munitions and missiles to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, citing concerns about the Gulf States' military involvement in Yemen.
A coalition cabinet led by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and backed by the center-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Party enacted the Italian embargo.