United Arab Emirates appears to have helped North Korea’s ballistic missile program through large arms purchases from the pariah state in violation of the U.S. and United Nations Security Council’s embargo, according to a secret State Department memo by the Institute for Gulf Affairs.
In the memo, the State Department warns the U.A.E. that the money spent to purchase of North Korean arms goes to fund its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs. “North Korea relies on revenue from overseas arms sales like this to sustain and advance its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, which pose a threat to international peace and security as well as a direct threat to the United States,” the memo said.
That companies (see International Golden Group at http://www.iggroup.ae/ , they are mentioned in the alleged memo) based in the UAE have purchased weapons from North Korea is, if accurate, not necessarily surprising. Companies in the Emirates have previously acted as an intermediary for weapons (and cash) transfer between states, while the UAE has in the last decade or so sought to develop small arms plus more advanced weapons – including drones – in country, though not always from scratch (i.e. final assembly of parts made elsewhere). In previous year’s banks in Dubai were sanctioned for involvement in terrorist financing, while annual weapons shows and conventions bringing to Abu Dhabi (and the Dubai Air Show) a mix of would be sellers and buyers from across the world.
Given the Emirates ability to procure US, European, Russian and Chinese arms the need to go to North Korea (or others) is unneeded for equipping the UAE military, unless done for some unique capability. This seems likely to be a pass through to a third party in return for a percentage of the transaction value. The procurement of weapons would not go unnoticed by the Emirati government, and would have required official sanction with ruling family connections – even more so if any were destined for use inside the UAE.
At a minimum this type of action by a company based in a regional ally deserves further scrutiny to first assess validity, and if true, action that results in cessation of such activity going forward and appropriate punishment being handed out against the company and its management.