The Gulf Monarchies' Armed Forces at the Crossroads Focus stratégique, No. 80, May 2018
Something is happening with the military forces of the Arab monarchies in the Gulf.
Traditionally, the armed forces of the Gulf monarchies played an incidental role when it comes to securing the states. The ultimate fighting power of the monarchies was relatively unimportant; rather, the monarchies’ security was derived from international relations that were sometimes founded on, and often sustained and fed by, ongoing military sales. But, for some monarchies at least, this is changing. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now deploying their own forces in hitherto unseen kinetic ways, as in Yemen, indicating that they genuinely seek their own fighting power. In the midst of the Gulf crisis, Qatar has doubled down on defense procurement both to boost its military and to increase its international entanglements. Meanwhile, Oman and Kuwait continue their methodical military procurement, as is Bahrain, in addition to assiduously following Saudi Arabia’s regional policies to boost relations with Riyadh.