The issue of terrorism has been a great concern not only to the UAE but to all countries across the world. One can majorly link terrorist activities to the extremist groups who are determined to spread their ideologies across some country, or the whole world. According to the researches, the effect of terrorist acts at one point can affect the activities even in other countries. In the current society, the world is organized as a global economy that means that activity at one end of the globe also affects activities in other parts of the world (Embassy of the United Arab Emirate, 2015). In the case of UAE, geographically it is situated in the Middle East and surrounded by countries that are connected to the extremist group (terrorists) who are always involved in illegal actions. Hence, this implies that terrorist activities across the region appeared to be a significant security threat to UAE. UAE is currently playing an active role in its regional affairs, and is making efforts to create a safe region free from terrorism. UAE announced their vision of the year 2030, in which the country aims to achieve peace, stability, and a luck that embrace different cultures. One of the most important preconditions to the creation of terrorist threats is youth Radicalization in the UAE. Therefore, this process has resulted in the expansion of terrorism which gives birth to violent extremist groups that are responsible for conducting terrorist activities in UAE and its environs. This study aims to explore the strategies used by UAE to fight radicalization and violent extremism connected to terrorism in the UAE region.
To address this issue, the government of UAE will look at various approaches. Economically, the government will have to reduce the means through which extremist groups receive funds to conduct their activities. They need big sums of money to recruit youth, to buy illegal weapons, and to continue their attacks. Politically, the government has introduced harsh laws to ensure that those who are involved in the crimes (terrorists) are taken to court to answer their charges. Moreover, other countries are also engaged in diplomatic relations, in order to boost their relationships when it comes to fighting terrorist activities. The only way for UAE to achieve their Vision 2030 is to make a favorable environment to conduct business as well as to fight all terrorist threats in the area.
Talking about diplomatic measures, the government of UAE has put much emphasis on encouraging international discussion concerning the best ways to counter extremism. For instance, the government of UAE has implemented special measures to prevent its citizens from joining extremist groups such as Shabal Al Manara, which operates in UAE illegally and has connections with Syria and Iraq’s Al Qaida. They did this through the creation of strict emigration rules to these locations. Before these restrictions any UAE citizen was able to move to Syria or Iran. However, now they must be questioned by the authorized person to ensure that they are going to such places with the right intention (United Nations2015). Additionally, the government of UAE has invested a lot of resources to control immigration of citizens from Syria and Iraq as well (Khalil, 2014). This strategy and measures have reduced the level of contact of the extremist groups with the local people, thus decreasing radicalization of youths in UAE.
In addition, the UAE has engaged in diplomatic relations to eliminate terrorist mainly through close cooperation with countries in the Gulf region. This kind of coordination has improved the level of stability in the UAE as well as the security of its border (Looney, 2009). For instance, to ensure the success of this strategy, UAE has created a regional police unit in Abu Dhabi to make sure that no one enters the country illegally.
Regarding economic policies, the government of the UAE has established the precise measures to ensure that terrorist groups do not get any income that enables them to continue their activities. Some people associate the expansion of terrorist activities with the increased funding from illegal sources. Geographical position of UAE promote it strategically as a transshipment country, where drug traffickers can easily move illegal substances to Southwest of Asia, a region associated with the production of drugs. For many years, the extremist groups have been exploiting this opportunity to get money to support their activities (Agarid, 2016). Money laundering activities are also popular in the region because of its position as a key commercial driver in the area.
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In spite of the economic factors that support extremist group, the government of the UAE has developed a measure to deal with the situation. First, UAE has a firm rule that prevents people from engaging in drug trafficking as well as zero tolerance for people found trading in the illegal drug business. Controlling illicit financing is also an idea of the UAE government. They are conducting close monitoring of the financial system to prevent any illegal funding of the extremist groups from within the borders and across the borders.
Intelligence/Information/Law Enforcement Strategies
The UAE was engaged in a united effort of “UAE-US Financial Counterterrorism Task Force” to promote close relationship and to fight together with the rapid flow of money to the extremist groups. Agarid(2016) observes that this task force has aided in blocking funds in any financial institution. Such exchange of intelligence information has also assisted in minimizing the black market activities, thus discouraging the illegal sale of oil products. The United Nations (2015) report also shows that the government of UAE has established national financial intelligence unit, which helps in providing intelligence information concerning the fight against money laundering. Consequently, this would hinder any fund directed to the extremist groups. Enhanced financial monitoring has also accompanied strict laws and helps to collect information in foreign countries to monitor the flow of money within UAE region. The UAE government periodically presents an advertisement on national television, to encourage people to send money using the correct process. This will help to ensure the success of the whole strategy.
What is more, UAE laws enforcement agency has been supported by the government over the year to ensure that they prosecute citizens who were engage in terrorist activities as to encourage other to obey the law. For instance, the judicial department of UAE has measures that are empowered to freeze and confiscate terrorist property to stop their further operations (Agarid, 2016). In addition, judiciary system has increased the capacity of the Supreme Court to handle terrorist related cases and to take those who are found guilty to prison.
According to Khalil (2014), the government of the UAE is also trying to find the best way to manage the web and social media platforms to find additional sources of radicalization and terroristic propaganda. Through the establishment of The Sawab Center, which is a combined achievement of the UAE and the US, UAE government has been able to fight terrorist propaganda on social media. Sawab Center is responsible for analyzing digital information, establishing different advertisements as well as for finding the truth on any information that is posted by terrorist groups in the social platforms. These activities are government’s successful attempts to fight cyber crimes and to stop promotion of the ideologies of the terrorist groups across UAE region.
According to Ardemagni (2016), the military strategy used by the UAE in fighting terrorism involves a close coordination between the police department and the army section. The UAE has built close relations with the United States and Britain military forces in their common fight against the terrorism in UAE. This kind of network also discourages terrorists to act since they are still far behind achieving economic stability within UAE. Looney (2009) observes that the UAE military forces also have specific legal norms and measures of their armed activities during the battle against terrorism in UAE. For instance, over the past few years UAE has deployed Special Forces Mali and other areas in Egypt and Yemen regions.
In conclusion, the fighting against radicalization and terrorist requires a holistic approach. The UAE government needs to put more focus on economic, intelligence and military strategies to fight terrorist activities. It is also clear that the fight against terrorism is an unbearable thing for one country. In this difficult and tricky process the commitment and help of other nations is very much appreciated. The UAE needs to implement special measures to fight terrorism as well as to reduce threats coming from other hostile environments. Therefore, this will ensure that UAE can achieve its Vision of 2030. Promoting education on awareness efforts to fight terrorism is important and this can be done through social media and religious institutions. Well development economy and friendly cooperation with other nations will help to eliminate terrorism and to achieve the Vision 2030.