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Sat 7 Jun 2014 05:05 PM

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UAE issues law on compulsory military service for Emirati men

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issues federal law; applies to men aged 18 to 30 in good health

UAE issues law on compulsory military service for Emirati men
Emirati armed forces take part in a military show. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The president of the UAE 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 neighbours and has been spared militant attacks that have targeted other countries like Saudi Arabia.

Like other Gulf Arab states, the US 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 neighbourhood 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.

saif bin ahmed 5 years ago

I hope they extend the age range to 40.

Half and Half 5 years ago

What if you are mixed and hold uae citenzinship BUT you cannot speak Arabic nor understand it that much for lectures. Then what?

Ahmad 5 years ago

This is exactly what Kuwait should do, because they have a growing crime rate where young Kuwaitis are turning to life of crime rather than seeking employment. Due to the lack of a development plan, which would have increased job opportunities for young Kuwaitis, the government is to blame for this sharp increase in crimes which is unprecedented in Kuwait history. So rather than leave young people on the streets idly, it is better to teach them respect for their country which seems to be a lack there of in Kuwait. Such a great move by the government of the UAE!

DNS 5 years ago

If the locals are not interested in doing national service, then that shows a lot about their patriotism. True patriotism is about giving, not only about taking benefits and talking about your love for the country.

Naser al naser 5 years ago

Dear Ahmad, I differ with you on this one... Its actually more of the parents to blame rather than the government - its at home where people learn to be civilized and should be encouraged by parents to study.. Graduate... Make a difference.. Seek employment in the private sector rather than a governmental desk job where you only learn how to ditch work and ask for more pay! To be honest... This whole military service is just another way with dealing with unemployment and a big waste of money!

Al Breiki 5 years ago

As a UAE national I am proud to server my country and any way. This is a dream come true for me and is a blessing to all youths of the UAE.