Pakistan, Türkiye: When Qatar trains its allies to face the Rafale

Qatar was one of France's first two partners to trust the Rafale of Dassault Aviation, as he had confidence in the Mirage 2000 twenty years earlier, the aircraft having long constituted the backbone of the air defense of the small gas state. Not only did Doha order 24 Rafale in 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 examples, as well as the modernization of its fleet to the F3R standard. In this sense, Doha certainly played an important role in the success we know today of the Rafale. However, for several years, the proximity of the Emir of Qatar with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, as well as with Turkey and Pakistan, has posed serious problems for several of France's allies in the region, as well as for French authorities.

In recent weeks, unease escalated when Doha involved its Rafale freshly acquired from a large-scale exercise in Turkey, allowing the country's air forces, but also the Azerbaijani and Pakistani air forces who also participated in the exercise, to familiarize themselves with the performance of the French aircraft. However, the Rafale constitutes a centerpiece in Athens' defensive arsenal against Ankara, in the same way as the Mirage 2000, and the same goes for the Rafale Indians, pivots of the air component of Indian deterrence against China and Pakistan, as well as of its air defense. From then on, the media of the two client countries and allies of France were quite logically concerned to see their main adversaries training against Rafale Qatari having, more or less, the same performance and armaments as those which equip or will equip their own air forces.

RAfale Qatar Defense News | Fighter aircraft | Indo-Pakistani conflict
It must be recognized that the Rafale Qatari have a particularly successful livery!

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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