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Italian forces face deadline to withdraw from Emirati airbases

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Italian forces face deadline to withdraw from Emirati airbases

Filipo Monteforte AFP Getty Images
Photo: Filipo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Italy has until today to implement the withdrawal of Italian forces from Emirati airbases as ordered by the UAE.

Abu Dhabi has decided to expel Italian air force units from Al Minhad military base in Dubai in response to a $485m arms embargo imposed by Rome in January. The Italian embargo intended to disrupt the Saudi-Emirati coalition in the war against the Houthis in Yemen, and is part of the larger wave of states relinquishing their support.

This Forward Logistic Air Base was particularly important for Italy. It allowed the Italian army to support its operations in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Afghanistan. Also, earlier this month, Rome had confirmed its participation in the Agenor maritime military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz and stationed its forces within the base in Abu Dhabi, but will now have to withdraw from the exercise. Additionally, if an agreement is not reached between Italy and the Emirates, this decision could complicate the Italian withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Expect the Italian government to engage in discussion with the UAE, with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi de Maio possibly making concessions or even back pedaling his embargo of the UAE to reach a potential agreement.

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