United Arab Emirates signs $1.4 billion military contract; will receive Predator drones

This is not going to end well.  The UAE has just signed a contract to acquire Predator drones, the first country in the Middle East to do so. 

from Reuters:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed defense contracts worth 5.2 billion dirhams ($1.4 billion), including one for unmanned aerial drones, a spokesman for the country’s military said on Monday.

The largest deal, worth 1.4 billion dirhams, was for 750 mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicles from Oshkosh Corp.

The UAE’s armed forces also agreed to buy an undisclosed number of Predator drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), from privately-owned U.S. firm General Atomics in a deal worth 722 million dirhams.

"UAVs are significant for any armed forces in present times. There is a lot of demand for these," Major General Obeid al-Ketbi told reporters at the largest arms exhibition in the Middle East, held in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE awarded the contract to purchase the drones to a local company, International Golden Group, which will buy them from the U.S. firm. The deal marks General Atomics’ first sale of an unarmed version of its Predator drones in the Middle East

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are among several countries, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, asking U.S. officials to buy armed drones but which have been rebuffed.

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While the UAE is not as bad as, say, Iran getting unmanned drones, they are increasingly a major target of Al Qaeda.  I’m all for smaller government and government staying out of private enterprise; however, I certainly see a role in the Federal government keeping American weapons out of the hands of our enemies.  

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