A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

UAE Moving Ahead on Compulsory Military Service Plans

I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog before, but one indicator of continuing security concerns in the Gulf is the UAE's Plan to introduce compulsory national military service for young Emirati males (as well as voluntary service for women).

The plan, introduced earlier this year and since approved by the Cabinet, is expected to be in place by the end of the year, While government officials are talking up the benefits for Emirati youth, it's also pretty  clearly an indicator of the UAE's ongoing concerns about Iran and other security threats in the region, and is apparently being fast-tracked..


T. Aziz said...

Assuming the concern is a foreign army ...

Even if the UAE armed forces stood and fought (which is a mighty big if as Kuwait showed with Saddam's invasion) an army of 3,000 doesn't stand much chance of holding back a large foe -- unless of course Sheikh Mohammad is building a replica AED 6 billion Thermopolaye in Dubai.

David Mack said...

Maintaining a large standing army would not make much sense, but training young men (and a growing number of women) does. Meanwhile, UAE Special Forces have deployed with the US and other NATO forces in various battle zones, notably for many years now in Afghanistan. Moreover, the UAE Air Force and Navy are well equipped and trained. Just like the smaller nations of Europe, the UAE armed forces are important part of wider international defense efforts, and UAE nationals should not think they can depend on foreign mercenaries.