UAE Enacts Compulsory Military Service for Men

Though protected by West and largely spared militant attacks which struck its neighbors, tiny federation has territorial dispute with Iran over three Gulf islands controlled by Islamic republic.

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Children playing on the beach in Dubai in April.
Children playing on the beach in Dubai in April. Credit: AP
Reuters
Reuters

The president of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday issued a law implementing compulsory military service for Emirati men, a move highlighting the Gulf state's concern over turmoil in the region.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates with a mostly expatriate population, faces no immediate threats from neighbors and has been spared militant attacks that have targeted other countries like Saudi Arabia.

Like other Gulf Arab states, the U.S. ally has strong military ties with Western powers that say they are committed to helping the OPEC member country deter or repel any threat.

But the UAE, a big buyer of Western military hardware, has a territorial dispute with its much bigger neighbor, Iran, over three Gulf islands controlled by the Islamic republic.

It is also wary of a neighborhood fraught with conflicts, including in Syria, Iraq and Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The state WAM news agency said President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan had issued the federal law, which was published in the official gazette. The UAE had first said in January that it would introduce the law.

"The issuing of the law comes with the goals of affirming the instilling of the values of loyalty, affiliation and sacrifice in the souls of the sons of homeland," WAM said.

The law applies to all males between the ages of 18 and 30 and in good medical health. Men who have a high school degree or its equivalent will serve nine months, while those who do not have a high school diploma will serve for two years, WAM said.

Participation for women, who can only serve for nine months, is optional and will require the approval of their legal guardians.

Military service will include training periods, military exercises and lectures on patriotism and security, WAM said, citing the law.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates the size of the UAE armed forces at 51,000, with an army of 44,000, navy of 2,500 and air force of 4,500.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott