France, Dec. 3 -- France's special interest in the Middle East is defined by crucial security interests, trade and cultural and social exchanges. Over the last decade, Paris has become increasingly active across the region, working to support control of Iran's nuclear programme andmediate the ongoing conflict in Lebanon.

France is nearly always there. It sent troops to fight the Islamic State, and got itself mixed up in the Libya conflict. As itincreased cooperation with Egypt and the UAE, it went at loggerheads with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey's ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Why? Because ties with the core players in the Gulf -Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar -are keytoFrance's Middle East strategy.Lebanon