Greek-UAE-Saudi military cooperation has its limits - analyst

There are limits to the emerging military cooperation between Greece and Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, analyst Paul Iddon said in an article for Forbes magazine on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have both backed Greece in its dispute with Turkey over maritime borders in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

In March, Saudi F-15 fighter jets took part in exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, from the Greek island of Crete. In return, Greece deployed MIM-104 Patriot air defence systems to protect Saudi energy infrastructure from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen, Iddon said.

Cooperation between Greece and the UAE has gone further, according to the analyst. In November, the two countries signed a mutual defence pact, pledging to come to the other’s aid should one be attacked.

Both Greece and the UAE regard Turkey as a regional rival, but their partnership is motivated more by self-interest than genuine military concerns, Iddon said. 

“Greece would be naive to believe (the UAE) would come to its support in the case of a new crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he cited George Tzogopoulos, a senior fellow at the Centre International de Formation Européenne and research associate at the Begin Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA), as saying.