TEHRAN (FNA)- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has used investments in Serbia's arms trade to distribute weapons in the Middle East and act as a proxy for the US and Israel, Arab media reports said on Monday.
The UAE has invested billions of dollars in Serbia over the past two years, the UAE-based Middle East Eye news website reported. It noted that the Emirati leadership has signed lucrative deals with Serbia to develop the Serbian arms industry and bought a significant stake in its national airline and, in return, granted multibillion-dollar loans to the government. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan has also been acting as a proxy for the US and Israel in Eastern Europe while also attempting to exploit a loosely regulated Serbian arms market to distribute weapons across the Middle East. Last year, an agreement worth up to $200mln was signed between the Serbian arms company Yugoimport SDPR and the UAE'sEmirates Advanced Research and Technology Holding (EARTH) at the International Defense Exhibition in Abu Dhabi. Behind the huge investment lies the shadowy figure of exiled Palestinian strongman Mohammed Dahlan. He is said to be at the center of a web facilitating communication between the UAE with American and Israeli intelligence figures while also aiding corrupt Emirati investments in Serbia that have lined the pockets of their political leaders. The UAE is the fourth largest arms importer in the world, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and it has spent over $19bln on military equipment in 2012. With a national population of fewer than one million the UAE, in terms of arms per capita, is now widely viewed as being the most heavily armed nation on the planet. Â Â Â Â