UAE Armed Forces Have Lessons For Others
ABU DHABI, — A UAE newspaper has said that when the public catches a glimpse of the workings of the military, as it did this year when a demonstration was conducted on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, it can be easy to take for granted the discipline and sophistication that make the UAE’s military one of the most modern in the world.
“Yet the creation of such an army was neither inevitable nor easy,” said The National in an editorial on Sunday.
As one of those who was there at the time 41 years ago when the Armed Forces were unified told The National, it was “a difficult journey”. Over the years, it has taken careful work by the Government, the building of international alliances, and extensive support from citizens. That is why, when President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan paid tribute to the Armed Forces this week, he specifically singled out citizens, “We extend our thanks to our loyal people who rally behind their leadership, and line up alongside our soldiers to encourage and motivate them.”
Building an army that can carry out humanitarian missions abroad, take part in combat operations in Yemen and maintain national defense relies on a country that properly funds the military, recognizes its role, celebrates its achievements and mourns its martyrs. Celebrating Armed Forces Unification Day is therefore also a moment to celebrate the country that stands behind them.
The UAE’s Armed Forces can also provide something of a model for a pan-Arab military force. Speaking last week in Dubai, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, said a pan-Arab military force was needed because of extremism in several countries and regional threats, in particular Iran.
A pan-Arab army is certainly a challenge. Getting 22 different countries to agree and cooperate in the military sphere is always going to be difficult. After decades of cooperation, the European Union is still debating a continent-wide army. And some form of integration has been tried in the 20th century Arab world – but while Arab armies have successfully fought alongside each other, having a pan-Arab army is more complicated.
To that end, it is interesting to note how the UAE did it, pulling together an army from seven emirates. It relies on a number of things: a belief in a common destiny, a vision of what that army is for, or perhaps the assessment of a common enemy, and a political mechanism to control the military. These are not easy tasks to accomplish, the editorial concluded, saying that the Arab world can certainly do it, but it will take more agreement than is currently on display in the region.
[Source: Emirates Government News Agency (WAM) -/- Media Relations]
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