Role of the Armed Forces in Crisis Management
At the end of the twentieth century, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoys a favorable strategic position compared to the rest of the southern Gulf States. The federation faces no immediate threat of invasion, overwhelming debt, organized domestic opposition or economic collapse. The emirates' rivalries have largely abated and there appears to be the beginnings of a federal civil society. In addition, the United States ensures the federation's security (1999).
After the Cold War era, traditional military activities around the world have abated while its humanitarian purposes and conflict resolution roles increased (2001). Yet, UAE’s military forces comprising of 64,500 personnel is not letting its guards down. One of its primary role is to ensure border security, which can be a security threat if left unattended. The UAE being a federation of states covers 83,600 square kilometers and is bordered on the north by the Persian Gulf and Iran, on the east by Oman, and on the south and west by Saudi Arabia. UAE is also strategically important because it produces 10% of the world's oil supply and has the fourth-largest natural gas reserves in the world. Indeed, maintaining its border security is a primary concern of its armed forces.
Being a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the armed forces also supports security policies in the Persian Gulf. It also permits its allied nations to use its air bases and ports, the only harbors deep enough to berth an aircraft carrier. Stability of security in the UAE is critical not only to the UAE but also to the free flow of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and the defense of the GCC from potential threats like Iran and Iraq. The UAE armed forces play a vital role in the balance of power in the Gulf.
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