UAE Brings in Conscription
Gulf nation worried about 'difficult neighbors'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2014 12:30 AM CDT
UAE pilots greet each other at the steps of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

(Newser) – Does the United Arab Emirates spy trouble ahead? The Gulf nation has introduced a law requiring all males over 18 to serve at least nine months in the military, or two years if they haven't finished high school, Al Jazeera reports. Officials say the conscription law, which follows a similar one introduced in Qatar earlier this year, will "instill values of loyalty and sacrifice in the hearts of the citizens." Citizens only make up around 10% of the country's 8.2 million population, with foreign workers making up most of the rest.

The UAE doesn't face any immediate threats from its neighbors and hasn't experienced militant attacks, but its ruler describes its independence as a "red line that must be protected." With conscription, "I think the country is saying 'We want to continue with the stability and prosperity but we are also well-equipped for any eventuality,'" an Emirati political scientist told Reuters earlier this year. "We are living in a red zone ... it's a very difficult zone with a lot of difficult neighbors. You need to be on guard all the time."

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Jun 9, 2014 7:21 PM CDT
I wonder why they selected 9 months ? Most countries train their soldiers for at least 3 months. Is this to establish a "ready" reserve? I would think 18-24 months would be the absolute minimum realistic active duty period.
Jun 9, 2014 7:06 PM CDT
UAE is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Only 10% are citizens and the rest are workers! That is crazy.
Jun 9, 2014 2:24 PM CDT
No way! Can't imagine why a military would be necessary in the land of the Religion of Blown to Pieces. They are such a peaceful, loving bunch!