Speaking of the Gulf, I'm struggling to understand the significance of the stunning announcement that the UAE had agreed to the establishment of a major French military base in Abu Dhabi. I think this is the first non-American military base in the Gulf since the British pulled out in 1971 - if not, certainly the most high-profile one in a long, long time. Early spin has suggested that this will allow France to better cooperate with the US against Iran, but this seems shortsighted. A long-term French strategic position in the Gulf challenges American exclusivity, and potentially undermines the fundamental architecture of the hegemonic American position in the Gulf. Perhaps Sarkozy truly is a neo-Gaullist after all.... And another question - how does this relate to the evolving GCC unity and activism, and its changing posture towards Iran? I invite informed commentary on this fascinating development!