On the backdrop of the visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron to the Arab Gulf region early this December, developments in the Arab region and the Middle East at both the local and regional levels may have imposed themselves strongly on the French President’s agenda.
We cannot neglect the role of this tour in improving France’s image, giving it more influence in the Arab Gulf region, as a prelude to a greater role in the Middle East and Africa under the rivalry of powers (China-Russia), and the decline of the American role in the region.
Therefore, in this discretionary vision, we try to identify the most important priorities of the Round’s agenda, the most important outcomes, and the motives achieved from the Round.
Agenda for Macron’s visit to Gulf States
Macron’s visit to the Arab Gulf States began on 3rd December. He led a delegation of 50 French directors of enterprises and businessmen on a two-day diplomatic and trade tour. The agenda of the round was focused on the extent to which France’s security was linked to stability and security in the Middle East. Before commencing the tour, Macron stressed the need to strengthen security and stability in the region and eliminate terrorism as a condition for peace and security in the East and France.
Through his official Twitter account, he shared the priorities of his agenda in the Arabian Gulf, namely, supporting regional stability, combating terrorism and extremism, and promoting the attractiveness of France. The agenda also included visits to officials in Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar.
Are new visions of instability in the region being developed following the French tour?
If Macron wants to improve the image of France and show it as a balancing power in the Middle East, he must start from the Arabian Gulf, so that he can play a role in Iran, taking advantage of the faltering negotiations.
With regard to the current Arab issues, in particular Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and the ways to address them, no action has been announced concerning any of these States other than their efforts to restore relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
Exploiting political relations for economic and strategic repositioning
To be sure, the French President’s visit to the Arab Gulf region bears many connotations through which he sought to achieve the French strategy based on the exploitation of political relations in order to create a position on the economic and strategic side. Therefore , we can say that the agenda for the round essentially involves the achievement of some strategic objectives in addition to the economic and trade objectives already achieved through the conclusion of massive deals with the three Arab Gulf States, It can be said that these strategic objectives relate to his desire to improve France’s image in the Middle East region, to demonstrate France’s international and regional presence in the region, and to emphasize that France’s role is strong and influential as a force on the global issues.
In addition to its desire to achieve political deployment and repositioning in the Middle East region, in order to avoid leaving the opportunity for rivals such as Iran, especially since the role of the United States of America in the region. The opportunity to achieve these goals is therefore favourable.
The signing of trade and security deals to assist countries that wish to develop their military forces, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, underlines the importance of the security and military aspect as an important dimension in relations between France and the countries of the region, particularly in the context of competition with the United States.
Can we talk about France’s leadership of the European Union and independence from American guardianship?
On the side of international changes, the United States of America is trying to move towards Asia to confront China. In order to achieve this goal, it is taking many major actions – the UK-US Alliance, the American withdrawal from Afghanistan – and changing the strategy for dealing with conflicts in the Arab and African regions, which has necessarily created a large vacuum in the region with which many countries have grown. (China-Russia), France therefore saw the opportunity to play a greater role in the Middle East and Africa, emerging from the commandments of the United States of America.
At the European level, after Brexit, he quit. Merkel’s political work has paved the way for France to play a critical role or for the presidency of the European Union on a regular basis, and this aspiration is reflected in his various vision proposals. Macron, for the sake of Europe, the protection of its own security, the establishment of its own defense system, the development of a strategy for sufficiency, and other visions that confirm his ambition to lead France the European Union.
In conclusion… The French tour to the Arab Gulf States is a part of the French movement at the international level in preparation for a bigger role in the Middle East, as a prelude to a critical role in the European Union after Merkel’s absence. It is also an important step in the light of its desire to deviate from or abide by the American resolutions whether we agree or disagree on the possibility of its leading to the European Union, rather it is considered a powerful candidate for this role.