UAE is a leader in counter-terrorism

The rescue of a UK citizen from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula by the Armed Forces in Yemen, shows that UAE is becoming a country with a gold standard strategy for counter-terrorism and that it is putting all its effort into the noble goal of regional security, says Dr Theodore Karasik.

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DUBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, telephoned British prime minister David Cameron on Saturday to tell him that UAE Armed Forces operating in Aden had reached the location in Yemen where a UK citizen, Robert Semple, had been kidnapped by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The operation in Yemen, and the rescue of Mr Semple, underlines the resourcefulness of UAE counter-terrorism actions. This is one example of the broad reach of operations under way.

The UAE is at the forefront of combating terrorism by using measures from internationally-recognised legal norms to armed action.

This development is derived from its immediate security requirements to fight terrorists, not only throughout the region but also the world.

The Emirates is a leader in counter-terrorism under the mantle of tackling extremism. There is a strong set of tools being used by the UAE against terrorist ideas and the money that sustains them.

UAE think tanks both understand the evolution of counter-terrorism and ways to develop the narratives needed against such groups and armies.

The UAE and its allies are involved in anti-money laundering and financing measures.

Finally, the UAE has the Anti-Terrorism Law of August last year and the UAE Anti-Hate Law of July.

It is using force to achieve key objectives against terrorism.

This mission began in earnest in Afghanistan, where the Armed Forces – through the UAE Presidential Guard or UAE Special Operation Forces – conducted humanitarian operations and community development activities that turned into operations against Afghan insurgents and terrorists.

The fact that the UAE was a protective force in the Afghanistan theatre of operations is undeniable.

The lessons learned from Afghanistan made their way into the Armed Forces’ training and doctrine. Exercises with Arab neighbours and western allies helped to hone expertise.

In cooperation with the US Marines, UAE Special Operation Forces, for example, became the tip of the spear against terrorists in Afghanistan.

The UAE Special Operation Forces have been deployed in Mali and western Egypt as well as in Yemen in Operation Golden Arrow.

In Yemen, the UAE Special Operation Forces are part of the military front that took Aden and is now advancing north towards the Houthi strong hold of Sanaa.

Clearly, the UAE is becoming a country with a gold standard strategy for counter-terrorism.

Development of such a strategy using education and social media will bear further fruit.

Other regional contingencies will demand the Armed Forces’ expertise learned from operations in Yemen.

Given that terrorism will be a challenge for the foreseeable future, the UAE is putting all its effort into the noble goal of regional security.

Dr Theodore Karasik is a UAE-based geopolitical analyst and commentator on UAE foreign affairs.