02 May, 2009

Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits or the Strait of Hormuz?

The U.A.E. has jumped from 16th place to 3rd in just 4 years, and now sits behind China and India on the list of biggest importers of weapons.

Image from Al Jazeera online
Possible reasons given:
- to defend against Iran
- to modernise the country's defence systems.

Another train of thought - internal security:
Mutar Jumaa, an Emirati who published several studies on the demography of Gulf Arab countries while working at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), believes the UAE suffers from a serious demographic crisis.

"I can say the UAE and the Gulf are in [an] unpleasant situation, and I totally agree with the need for effective security forces backed by [a] powerful army.

"The fact that our citizens are way outnumbered by foreign working bachelors is something disturbing. We had some unrest last year, disgruntled migrant workers attacked people and used violence to get what they wanted. Some South Asian countries even started to ask us to grant citizenship to their workers in our country."
Al Jazeera Articles:
UAE 'boosting military imports'
UAE guns for advanced weaponry


Al-ain Rose said...

if they aren't nueclear weapons then they're useless. we need a nuclear bomb to hopefully vanish Iran from the world map. hate them.

Anonymous said...

It is one of the reasons, but not the main one. I believe being able to defend against Iran, and God knows who else, without the need to call on the US for everything is a main factor.

The 1st gulf war was a real wakeup call for the gulf, I believe the UAE, KSA, and Kuwait started upgrading and expanding military capabilities after that. It basically showed that the whole gulf was powerless.

As for the internal security, it was about 4 years ago when a whole militia of mostly Pakistanis had created what was basically a country within the UAE in Al Ain. They had their own "government" and were armed. The police and military special forces went in and stopped it.

Then we had (I guess) whatever this guy is talking about.)

It is a very valid reason. When you have a farmer, that one farmer is in charge of many heads of cattle. When the cattle show signs of mad cow... you need to slaughter them.

Having the forces to do so is a must.

Anonymous said...

i think we the gulf countries should group our millitary forces together cause we are way too small. putting our money together will also give us an opportunity to research and develop our own technology and weapons

Keefieboy said...

Al Ain Rose: you appear to be a dangerous nutcase. Anon, you too. If the UAE government is so afraid of the demographic monster it has created, there are other ways to quell dissatisfaction amongst foreign workers than to prepare to slaughter them.

nzm said...

Keefie: are you suggesting to send the foreign workers home? Who else could build the city, or provide targets for weapons practice?

Anonymous said...

provide targets for weapons practice?

Muahahahahahaha! And oddly enough I would also pay to see that.

Rose, why all the hate towards Iran? ever been there? ever had an Iranian friend? Doubtful.

Another possible reason for the military buildup... one that no one wants to think of... political unrest/civil war. The UAE is a pressure cooker... lets hope the cover is well made. I remember the things being whispered by people when the late Sh. Zayed passed away. And the things that (almost) happened.

Keefieboy, at least I dont stick my nose into other peoples' affairs, unlike you.

Brn said...

Another factor is that the US is probably at the start of a new phase of isolationism. I expect to see more stories like this one as this: "America will not protect us, warns Rudd".

nzm said...

Why would America protect Australia?

They have no oil and no vast amounts of natural resources for America to use, discounting the limited use for uranium......

It would make more sense if the NZ PM had said that!

Anonymous said...

There is no way Iran would attack the UAE, it has far too much money tied up in the country. Iran knows that attacking the UAE would cause its assets to plummet in value. Furthermore, Iran hasn't ever invaded another country before. Why would the Iranians start now? That's obviously not their style.

Anonymous said...

nzm, Australia has tremendous resources. What are you talking about?

nzm said...

Anon: I agree, but nothing that America would deem worth fighting/defending for, if push came to shove.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 01:33 said:
Furthermore, Iran hasn't ever invaded another country before. Why would the Iranians start now?

They haven't needed to - in recent times, they have had Hezbollah do their work for them.

But what's to say that Iran will start a fight? What if the UAE would start it? They wouldn't care less about the Iranian money that's already boosted the UAE economy - they would just keep it!

The UAE is pissed about the Al Tunb islands being claimed as Iran's, and the threat that this implies to controlling the Strait of Hormuz.

If the U.A.E. said let's go get Iran, I'm sure that America would be dragged into it whether they like it or not. After all, they have to protect the oil shipments coming out of Saudi.

Brn said...

You know, one would think that the whole "war for oil" idea would have died out by now, for the simple reason that, um, we aren't taking the Iraqis' oil.

I mean, I know that we Americans are stupid and all, but apparently you all believe that we are so stupid that we invaded a country to take their oil but then forgot to actually do it once we had the chance.

Moreover, if we were going to invade a country to take its oil, it isn't like we would have to go all the way to Iraq to do it since their are lots of countries closer to home, like Canada and Mexico have lots of the stuff. And if just having oil and not liking the leadership of a country was enough to make us invade, why is Chavez still in power in Venezuela?

And I guess that we fought the Serbians to get to those rich petroleum deposits in Kosovo?

Like I have said many times before, the US is soon going to say to hell with the rest of the world. I hope that it works out as well as some many of you have wished for, but remember: the greatest tragedy in life is frequently getting exactly what you want.

Al-ain Rose said...

Rose, why all the hate towards Iran? ever been there? ever had an Iranian friend? Doubtful.
I have an Israeli friend but I still hate the hell out of Israel.

Furthermore, Iran hasn't ever invaded another country before. Why would the Iranians start now?
yeah yeah how cute Iran is ! @_@ never think to harm any country!

expect ANYTHING from those persian evils. I pray one day America will bomb them and no more Iran.

Abu Dhabi Blogger said...

How sweet that demographics are a catalyst to amassing arms. And Al-ain rose, the world needs to get rid of every single nuclear weapon that's out their. Nuclear energy should only be used to generate electricity, not hatred and cruelty.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Oh for God sake: the F16-Es and the Mirage 2000-9s are not meant to quell a potential civil unrest germinating from expatriates. You usually use light armored vehicles for that. More than enough.

Second, the article said “in case of conflict with Iran”, it didn’t say the UAE will instigate a conflict with Iran. And it’s highly unlikely that Iran will instigate a conflict with the UAE. What for?

It should be obvious that the potential instigator of a conflict with Iran is likely to be Israel. Especially that the new hawkish government is hell-bent on attacking Iran more than any other time before. And given its long history of aggression and expansion in the middle east.

And in that case the strait might get vulnerable. It’s the UAE’s right to project power on its natural vicinity.

As for the USA going into a state of isolationism; yes, the world is becoming more multi-polar. Good news. It will be good for the UAE and the Arab countries to have different options for forging alliances.

Anonymous said...


You seem to think that most of us are naive enough to think that way. Unfortunately for you, as an American, not all the money made out of Iraq was shared with the population. it went to the Haliburtons and Blackwaters.. and to a whole bunch of businesses in iraq engaged in the so-called reconstruction.

Most of us know it's not that simple. And, yes, I absolutely believe the world is a better place without a single power dictating everyone's affairs.

Anonymous said...

how about these arms just transit here...

Brn said...


I'm not sure what money the US has "made out of Iraq", since one of the largest complaints here is that the war has been ruinously expensive. As for government money being misspent or spent on favorites of the previous administration, you must be naive if you think that the Iraq war is the first place that has ever happened.

Anonymous said...

Some of the posts on here are too funny. Iran has better things to do than worry about an insignificant tiny country such as the UAE, (most of whose ruling families are descendent from Iran anyways).

As for Al Ain Rose, I hope you realize that the majority of your own "Emirati" people are actualy Iranians who moved here when there was nothing but sand and "pearl diving" and helped establish your countries economy, just like they did in Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Now go back to your tent and shut up.

Keefieboy said...

Anon @ 0106: Pardon me for living. The UAE can do what it likes. I lived there for thirteen years, and now I don't. But if you think that people should only be concerned about their own backyard, then I think you are wrong. 'Sticking your nose into other people's business' is the means by which societies and civilizations develop.

Al-ain Rose said...

The UAE is pissed about the Al Tunb islands being claimed as Iran's.

If you only know how our citizens live in those islands, I have a friend from Abu-Mousa Island ( one of the 3 occupied islands) , she was my classmate, she used to come to Al-ain cuz our national university is there. Students usually use boats as a transportation mean to get into and outta the island, the boats are not allowed by the Iranian marine police to get near the island till they downs the UAE flag, otherwise, they can't get there, and don't forget that 65% of the Island is supposed to be administrated by the UAE government and 45% for Iran ( according to an agreement in 1990) but iran infracted the agreement and now dominates illegally the whole Island, the schools and other places where the flag are supposed to be raised are not allowed to be so. Iran also expelled the foreign workers who are supposed to operate clinics, schools and all that for our citizens there, not to mention the bad personal actions of the Iranian soldiers over there. they want to force the our citizens there to leave the island to take over everything but they insist on not leaving their home, there are only around 200 emarati who still struggle to live in Abu Musa despite of this bad sitiuation.
And don't forget the Iranians officials who comes every now and then claiming over the ownership of Bahrain kingdom! and you say why Arabian Gulfians make such a fuss over the Iranian danger?
Those are sons of satan.

Anonymous said...

Keefieboy said...
Anon @ 0106: Pardon me for living. The UAE can do what it likes. I lived there for thirteen years, and now I don't. But if you think that people should only be concerned about their own backyard, then I think you are wrong. 'Sticking your nose into other people's business' is the means by which societies and civilizations develop.

Actually, that is the means in which slavery, oppression, and backward thinking happens. The UK, The ottomons, the persians...

Also a great way for stupid people to end up dead (like cats)

Yes, you liveD here. Past tense. The fact that you seem to have lived everywhere but your own country tells me alot. Your country sucks, it doesnt care for you, doesnt want you, and you are an opportunistic little shit, much like a prostitute.

Anonymous said...

Al-ain Rose, those islands were SOLD to Iran by the rulers of Sharjah and Ras Al Khamah. We all know this. These islands are to the UAE what the "war of terror" is to the US. a false means to muster up drunken patriotism.

Anonymous said...


I think you may have misunderstood me. The Iraq war has proven to be a disaster to the US. It was a result of corruption at your government. Those who benefited from the war are the select few linked with the previous administration.

We are obviously oversimplifying a very complex issue. There are many factors at play here. Politics, self-righteousness, religion, personal vendettas and a host of other variables come to play here. However, I think the overriding factor would be financial.

When the US invaded Iraq, it gave away business to American companies to come in and re-build the destruction they have caused.

I am not sure how the oil concessions happened, but maybe someone can shed some light here. I just think that the word 'oil' now encompasses all the loot a country gets when coming to the Middle East.

As for Chavez, it's not like the US didn't try. I just think they are far less aggressive and a lot more covert in its own backyard. As the saying goes, don't shit where you eat.

Brn said...


Actually, I was trying to add some depth to the silly "war for oil" canard. I'm not even defending the choice to go to war. I was trying to point out that the US defends many countries around the world when there is absolutely no financial interest in doing so. If you really believe that the US government decided primarily to invade Iraq to throw a few billion dollars to Halliburton, then fine, we disagree. But I don't think you can fairly then accuse me of being the one who is oversimplifying things.

Al-ain Rose said...

Al-ain Rose, those islands were SOLD to Iran by the rulers of Sharjah and Ras Al Khamah. We all know this. These islands are to the UAE what the "war of terror" is to the US. a false means to muster up drunken patriotism.
Listen, go fly a kite! don't make up stories plz.
there are many documants prove the UAE's ownershipe of the Islands, and hey I love my drunken patriotism, it's also the only thing I love in Iranians if you kno what I mean ;)

Al-ain Rose said...

As for Al Ain Rose, I hope you realize that the majority of your own "Emirati" people are actualy Iranians who moved here when there was nothing but sand and "pearl diving" and helped establish your countries economy, just like they did in Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Now go back to your tent and shut up.

Oops! I touched the nerve ! sorry my Iranian friend, I apologize.:)
and those ppl you refered to are no longer Iranian, ok? they are part of us,so keep ur mouth shut already. and why do some ppl here keep saying .. go back to ur tent? what's with our our tents? and How can I get back to it? I'm living in a big Vella :), Ciao !

Anonymous said...


You make it sound like the US and Halliburton were (at the time) separate entities? Halliburton and other corporations have and continue to, use the US and its military for their benefit. That's just the plain truth.

No, I don't think the US has ever ever ever, gone to war with anyone (or defended anyone, militarily or otherwise), because they wanted to be the 'good guy'. There is always an agenda. This is not something specific to the US -- any country in such a position would act that way. Self-interest, self-interest, self-interest. It may be financial and it may not.

So, yes, I believe that Halliburton (and others less known to us) have pushed the US into a war to end up with billions of dollars thrown at them, at the expense of the American people and the Iraqi people.

It is unfortunate that the American people are powerless against their own government and corporations.

Makes you wonder if democracy works at all.

Anonymous said...

lol abit you sad little prick, you're so predictable you cant even hide behind the mask of an anon, why hide like the rest of us tough guy, whats wrong too ashamed to use your real name anymore ? maybe all those rape threats made it to the authorities in the end ! or maybe this is another one of those 'personalities' ? abit the whack job indeed...

Al-ain Rose said...

(most of whose ruling families are descendent from Iran anyways).

Ewww!! who fooled you with such a big redicilous lie ? God, they are the purest Arabs. and if you don't believe it, you can just go hang your self.

Emirati said...

I dont understand how fighter jets and mobile artillery can be used for internal dissent. The breakdown and composition of the UAE's armed forces clearly indicates that the logic behind such purposes is a detterence of an amphibious operation launched by Iran, or a land war fought against any of our land neighbours.

The Islands were not sold, they were taken in an amphibious invasion by the Iranian marine corps in which 16 sharjah police force officers were killed and several others were wounded. Such an unprovoked massacre by the Iranian government of the time was not reacted to by the crumbling pathetic british empire, which claimed "suzeranity" in the region.

It is the undisputable right of the UAE to get access to nuclear weapons and to use them if its existence is ever threatened. We must never depend on any foreign power for our defence.

Ora said...

It's what Anonymous on 03 May, 2009 12:17 said - the weapons get sold in the UAE - they only pass through, they don't stay. Another revenue stream - especially important with real estate and business struck so low. It's not new, just been stepped up and beginning to receive somewhat more press.

Anonymous said...

We must never depend on any foreign power for our defense.

Like the french base we just allowed to be built! Shame!

Anonymous said...

Isn't all this to do with having (had?)the money to buy or have built Very Big Things in line with all the other attention seeking vanity projects. So yes, buying some Big War Toys and some Nuclear power is entirely consistent.

Freud would have had a field day here.

Proud Emirati said...

We all know this Anonymous 15:58? How come I didn't know then?

Anonymous said...

You'll get the nuclear stuff eventually once your PR delivers a redemption. Only thing is the trigger will be held by someone else. By the way, that'll be for your own good, of course, should God forbid some psychos amongst you have a death wish.

Anonymous said...

Come on chaps buying Very Big War Toys and Nuclear Power is entirely in keeping with the vanity projects and the seeming need to have The World's Biggest ...(add your own folly)

Freud would have had a field day here instead it's just the arms dealing maggots who are.

Brn said...


It is pretty clear you have absolutely no idea how the American government works, much less how complicated real life is. I point out, again, that it is quite humorous that I am accused of "oversimplifying" by someone who believes a midsized American company is somehow powerful enough to run the world.

Because of that and the fact that the paranoid conspiracy world view that you have is a closed system, there is not much point in continuing this discussion.

I could bring up, again, the Kosovo war, that many in the US argued against at the time precisely because there was absolutely nothing in it for the US, or Somalia, or the humanitarian work the US navy (along with the Australian navy) conducted after the tidal wave hit Indonesia. We did these things not because they were in our self interest, but in spite the fact that they were not.

Or I could bring up the fact that the US electorate decisively removed the leaders of the previous administration in both the Congressional elections of 2006 and presidential election of 2008.

Keefieboy said...

Anon @ 15.56. Enjoy your blinkered ignorance while you can. How dare you insult a complete stranger in such a way? You disgust me.

Emirati said...

anon 20.53,

What is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons ? Iraq, Iran, Pakistan ?

No, it was the United states.

We are a peaceful country that does not want any war with other countries. War is a terrible thing, but we must also reply to any threats to our existence with all available means in order to survive.

Anonymous said...


America did the damage in Indonesia back in the 60s when they backed Suharto into power in an operation which also killed about a million Indonesians.

What did they get for it? Just some copper, gold, nickel, bauxite and some pristine rainforest.

Australia also capitalised on that time, so you might want to consider their combined tsunami aid as a small token of repayment for asset-stripping a resource-rich country a few decades earlier.

As for Kosovo - what an unmitigated disaster. To this day, I doubt that Bush and his cohorts can understand why the Kosovo people were not grateful that the USA wanted to divide up their country.

And for Somalia - things are so much better there:

Brn said...


This is my last on this. We obviously disagree about this, so it is pointless to go on forever. I'll give you the last word after this:

A) What ever we did in the 60s is irrelevant as to whether we did to help after the Tsunami. I used that as proof that the US does things to help others even though it isn't in its interests to do so. The fact that you just use the fact that they did help do denounce the US further sort of proves that, doesn't it?

B) Bush had nothing to do with Kosovo - that was Clinton. Regardless of how it turned out, which again was not my point, the US didn't interfere for the sort of reasons you gave earlier.

C) Same with Somalia.

That is three times in resent history that the US has tried to help out with out any possibility of being rewarded. You didn't even try to refute that fact.

The whole damned if you do, damned if you don't attitude you are displaying is exactly why the US is going to withdraw inward. Maybe things will work out as well as you all think that it will. I hope for everyone's sake that you are right. It seems quite unlikely to me.

I wish you all the best of luck with your new overlords, whoever they turn out to be.

hemlock said...

Brn: im sorry you decided to not comment, and it's great how you defend your country, but here are two links that might mean something:
a century of US military inventionsand US is top purveyor on weapons sales list-Shipments grow to unstable areasmakes sense, doesnt it? create instability, sell weapons, make money. go in for military action, sell weapons, make money. in the 8 years of iran/iraq war, US benefited the most as it was selling weapons to both sides - as it continues to arm both india and pakistan.
makes great business sense if you ask me.

hardly makes US out to be the philathropic entity you wish it were. =)

hemlock said...

p.s. USD 44 bln worth of weapon sales in one year seem like reward enough, wouldnt you say?

Anonymous said...


You're talking to multiple people, I'm the original anon here.

a) I know nothing about the 60's issue, so I went dwell into it.

b) Kosovo was about the balance of power in Europe. I think it would be fair to say that the US has a vested interest in Europe and keeping Russia at bay. Thinking that the intervention was fueled by wanting to do 'the right thing' is unrealistic to me.

c) Somalia's geographic location and access to sea makes it a rather important country to have control over. We're all seeing the result of dropping the ball on that one is.

All it takes is a few corrupt politicians and the rest of the misguided but well-meaning ones to follow.

I have lived in the US for over 6 years. I studied and worked there. I think it would be fair to say that I know how the US government works. At the very least, I've had my formal 2 courses of Political Science (mandatory pre-reqs) in college no less :)

Look, I'm not saying the US is a bad guy. I'm just saying, corporations (who fund politicians), obviously don't do it for charity. The Bush administration showed us an extreme of that situation. I think it highlights a serious and dangerous flaw in the system of government in the US.

I love the US like it's my own country. I know that no American citizen would knowingly want to go out of his way to harm someone. I know that most Americans would even want to help others in need. This is a very American thing. If you don't think politicians capitalize on this, then I can do very little here.

So, let us just agree to disagree as you said.

And end it with this: I enjoy your blog and hope that you are not experiencing the crappy weather we have here. Al Ain is generally cooler these days :)

-- original Anon

Brn said...

original Anon,

Thanks. I think that the biggest difference in our positions is one of degree - I agree that corporations have too much influence, I disagree that they have control.

Just to clear up a very commonly held misconception: It is illegal for corporations to donate money to political candidates in the US, so it isn't true that "corporations fund politicians". You can read the law on this here (§ 441b, page 77). Moreover, you can find out exactly who give what to who at http://www.opensecrets.org.

The weather in NC has been beautiful this spring, but even so, I still feel "homesick" for Al Ain from time to time.

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