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S-400 anti-aircraft system in Qatar: the case breaks out

A controversy that involves Riyad, Doha, Paris and Moscow

Arabia calls for the mediation of France to stop the supply of the Russian anti-aircraft gun system to Qatar. But Moscow does not give up

The case explodes on the S-400 missile system, which if the negotiations under way with Russia should be successful, Qatar should acquire very soon, as announced in recent days in Moscow by the Qatari ambassador Fahd Al-Attiyya. But in anticipation, neighboring Saudi Arabia already "runs for cover". In these hours the sovereign of the Arab Kingdom Salman Bin AbdulAziz al-Saud wrote to the French president Emmanuel Macron expressing his concern. He believes that the acquisition of such weapons by Qatar could affect Saudi airspace security and that it would lead to the risk of escalation of tensions in the region.

If such an event should to materialize in a contract, it is written in the letter according to the international press, "the Kingdom would be ready to take all the necessary measures to eliminate this defense system, including military operations". Translated into simple words, Riyadh could attack Doha, and it is to avoid this conflict and to maintain stability in the area that Arabia demands the mediation of France to avoid the conclusion of the deal.

Yesterday's news instead reported by the Russian "Sputnik" quoting the Arab "Al Jazeera", is the statement by the deputy chairman of the defense and security committee of the upper house of the Russian parliament Alexey Kondratyev, according to which "Russia supplying the S-400 and generating revenue in the State budget pursues its own interests The position of Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with it, Russia's plans will not change ... ". However, Kondratyev softened tone towards another customer, he continued: "It is clear that Riyad plays a leading role in the region, and the strengthening of the armed forces of Qatar with the Russian S-400 systems gives a clear advantage to Doha. Therefore the concern of Saudi Arabia is understandable".

The contract negotiations were started after the parties signed an agreement on military and technical cooperation in October 2017 during the visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in Qatar. Last January, the ambassador of Qatar in Russia Al-Attiyya had informed that the talks for the purchase of the S-400s were at an advanced stage.

The S-400 is a new generation anti-aircraft weapon system designed and built in Russia and exported by the State company Rosoboronexport. It is able to intercept and strike warplanes and ballistic and cruise missiles that fly at speeds up to 4.8 km/s (17,000 km/h). The system can identify up to 36 targets simultaneously (80 in new versions) in a range from 30 to 400 km depending on the type of missile used (the latter distance is reached with the missile 40N6 with ABM and anti Awacs tasks). .

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