Governments of all states have to solve many important issues to facilitate their citizens’ life and ensure their well-being. However, some negative intentions of certain groups of people cannot be fully prevented by officials. These groups include terrorists, who follow destructive purposes and demonstrate extremely aggressive behaviour. Their actions include mass murders, hijacking, and all forms of terrorist acts. The worst aspect of this problem is that there is not a single country which can feel protected or completely safe from terrorist actions. This paper analyzes terrorism as a strategic issue for the UAE, determines which terrorist groups constitute the greatest danger for the country, and offers some possible solutions to prevent future terroristic acts.
Terrorism has always been considered to be an important problem for society in general. In spite of this, nowadays, politicians discuss it more commonly because of the growing number of terrorist acts. The leaders of the state do not realize the consequences of their decisions, and terrorists quickly react with their aggressive actions to certain reforms, start of military actions in some territories, or any other interference which they do not like. Undoubtedly, these people should not guide the governmental actions. However, when people’s lives are at risk, officials should think more carefully about solutions that may arouse indignation. The UAE like all other countries is committed to solving the issue of terrorism currently being discussed. Following the UAE vision 2021 (“United in ambition and determination,” n. d.), the government of the state has the primary goal “to protect citizens from all threats to their safety, whether internal or external” (p. 16). This intention coincides with one of the pillars determined by the government of Abu Dhabi, which is “to provide complete international and domestic security” (The Government of Abu Dhabi, n. d., p.9). Therefore, the authorities aim to observe the guidelines determined in the visions of the UAE, since the state has to fight terrorism.
Basing upon the stated information, it is possible to claim that the purpose of the UAE is to keep the society safe and ensure its prosperity by eliminating all possible strategic threats, including terrorism. The diplomatic and military ways chosen by the country are reasonable and include close cooperation and partnership among regions of the state and other countries, especially the USA: “By working closely with the United States (US) and other international partners, the UAE is demonstrating its commitment to confront, degrade and eradicate terrorism and extremism across the Middle East and worldwide” (Embassy, n. d., para.1). It is good that the UAE strongly condemns any forms of terrorism and extremism and has a radical approach to the issue. Moreover, having an influential partner, particularly the USA, to face the challenge is important.
The UAE channels its efforts into fighting terrorism both domestically and internationally. Apart from the previously mentioned close cooperation, the country will domestically enforce its economy and closely watch financing of all spheres to prevent any material support of terrorism. From an international point of view, an important step forward for the UAE is to create the Sawab Centre, which is a collaborative organization between the country under analysis and the USA. It was created with the purpose of fighting against terroristic propaganda (Embassy, n. d.). The economic ways to curb the spread of terrorism also include attracting foreign investment and implementation of new rational financing technologies. The government of the state wants to create a big diversified market to give the companies of different size numerous possibilities for development (The Government of Abu Dhabi, n. d.). Some strategies are also formed by law enforcement as well as by military and intelligence spheres. Islam religious leaders do not give extremists an access to religious centres of the UAE with the help of the police guards and the local prophets that openly criticize all aggressive revelations of Islam (Embassy, n.d.). Thus, it is possible to conclude that the UAE involves all parties and resources into the process of combating terrorism.
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As it is seen from the presented numerous strategies for meeting the challenge of terrorism, this concept is rather complex. All states analyze which terrorist groups can be the most active and dangerous for their territory. Concerning the country under discussion, “ the UAE Cabinet has approved a list of designated terrorist organisations and groups in implementation of Federal Law No. 7 for 2014 on combating terrorist crimes” (“UAE Cabinet,” 2014, para. 1). This list includes more than 70 organizations. There are no doubts that the representatives of any of them can attack the state. However, one of the leading positions in the list is occupied by Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM or Tanzim al-Qa idah fi Bilad al-Maghrib al-Islami) (“UAE Cabinet,” 2014). The name of this organization is often associated with different terrorist attacks all around the world.
The UAE has already suffered from terrorist actions of Al-Qaeda not only in the land. That is why, the state considers that it is absolutely necessary to change some of its policies. Thus, Katzman (2013) states that “during the mid-1990s, some Al Qaeda activists reportedly were able to move through and spend time in the UAE” (p. 15). Moreover, two representatives of the terrorists who participated in the September 11 attacks on the USA were the UAE nationals. It is clear that after that tragic event, the UAE directed all its forces at fighting this particular terrorist group. The law enforcement and militaries achieved some significant successes and stated that they managed to prevent the plot to bomb some buildings in Dubai in 2009, and later they interfered with the actions of terrorists who planned to organize some terroristic acts in the USA (Katzman, 2013). These small victories of the UAE prove that the government is capable of taking radical actions against terrorists, but the time shows that the problem of terrorism is complex and its roots are deeper than an initial desire of terrorists for slaughter.
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Discussing the origin of terrorism, it is important to understand what values and views constitute its foundation. An important research in this sense was made by Bartolucci & Corman (2014). The authors contributed to public understanding of Al-Qaeda’s ideology. They state that Al-Qaeda like almost all other terrorist organizations uses the stories from Quran and Hadith to justify their terroristic actions. The most powerful narrative tool of Al-Qaeda is vertical integration: “Here communicators use cultural master narratives as analogies for local narratives about the here-and-now, and encourage their audience to align their personal narratives with the local ones” (Bartolucci & Corman, 2014, p. 5). This vertical integration is a powerful instrument of persuasion and the reason why the activities of the Emirati prophets that criticize aggressive behavior are so important.
As it was mentioned above, the UAE is already struggling to solve the problem of terrorism. Apart from creating the cooperative organization with the USA, the country has also established the joint UAE-US financial counterterrorism task force, which determines that two countries should combine their efforts to fight terrorism and share all the accessible information about the issue (Embassy, n. d.). The recent UAE forum that was directed at promoting peace and fighting terrorist attacks with the participation of the American representatives resulted in a three-year plan of action to combat terrorist attacks. The forum involved many religious leaders who talked much about correct interpretation of Islam for the society (Embassy, n. d.). It is possible to conclude that currently the UAE understands the importance of its contribution to fighting terrorism.
Generalizing the danger of terrorism, in particular Al-Qaeda for the UAE, the most serious strategic threat to the state lies in the main aim of the organization – to impose its personal vision of faith on the Emirates. The UAE already applies the major strategy to cooperate with the USA and to stop even the smallest revelations of extremism. The means that the UAE government can use include the following strategies: (1) close monitoring of the financial support given by local or foreign organizations aiming to completely stop the funding of terrorists; (2) reformation of the court systems and legislation related to the issue of terrorism to ensure more objective solution of the cases; (3) promotion of the international dialog with the countries of origin of the majority of terrorists to discuss the conditions of mutual compromise (Embassy, n. d.). Many steps have been already taken by the UAE, but there are more effective strategies to apply in order to improve the results.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that terrorism is a major strategic threat to the entire world nowadays. Terrorists find doubtful religious interpretations for their actions, and officials cannot adopt an effective approach to challenge their vision. The UAE suffers from the terroristic threats. Furthermore, the fact that the state is Muslim complicates the issue as many terrorists are revealed to be the UAE nationals. The state has chosen the correct approach to cooperate with the USA in order to combat terrorism and to promote the police that would not tolerate any extremism or terrorism revelations. The UAE has already made some important steps to solve the issue, and, hopefully, it will follow previously determined recommendations to defeat terrorism.