Sunday, May 15, 2011

UAE - as always, best avoided. Crown Prince Al Nahyan sets up mercenary army

It's long been the advice of Muscat Confidential that the UAE is 'best avoided'. A thin veneer of oil wealth supplied shiny stuff barely covers a culture of intolerance and expat exploitation. There is little true rule of law.

As recently commented in the previous post, The New York Times has just broken a big story that Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan has established a secret UAE based mercenary army in copperation with Blackwater founder Eric Prince. The outfit, staffed with mercs from Latin America to South Africa [but specifically no Muslims] is tasked with a mission scope that includes suppressing local riots, from expat labour camps or locals, plus defending islands from occupation by a few Iranians.

Photo: Effective ruler of the UAE, Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

While the unit was set up long before the Arab Spring swept the region, old Ghaddafi has shown that when you're a dictator it's useful to have a few rentals on hand who have no qualms shooting the local civilian populace.

Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.

It's a long article. You can read it in full here.

Meanwhile, a UAE man was busted in Thailand while attempting to board a 1st class flight to Dubai with carry on that contained a baby leopard, panther, bear and monkeys. He obviously wasn't too worried about being searched on arrival in the UAE...

Post-script: The smuggler was one Noor Mahmoodr, a 36 year old male from UAE, according to No word on who he was smuggling them for...

UAE: Best avoided.


  1. The geographical location of the Islands, their historical rule from Persia (Hormuz, Lingah etc), the Qawasim historical origins on the Persian littoral (Lingah) and the fact that Britain chose to have them administered from Sharjah, would make any UAE claim interesting to see put forward in an international court of law.

    Military action to secure 3 small Islands by a mercenary force of 800 (presumably leading the highly disciplined and motivated UAE armed forces) would result in an even more interesting reaction from the over 1million members of Irans Active and Reserve military personnel.

    One suspects that the UAE Sheikhs have decided that largesse to secure their position needs to be matched with power to defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers and put down internal revolts or unrest in their crowded labour camps or a challenge by pro-democracy protests, rather than irritate the regional superpower. Notwithstanding, of course, the highly disciplined and motivated UAE armed forces who in any case are stuffed with lower paid mercenaries.

  2. Perhaps the same Emirati ‘mawatin’ caught in Thailand was responsible for 'teleporting' the Oryx and Ibex into the UAE from a place much closer to his home ..............

  3. LoL that's not even Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed's picture...

  4. lol - sure looks like him
    who do you think he is, me?

  5. You beat the NY Times - they owe you a credit:

  6. and yet another reason to avoid the UAE - they dope their horses - so that the Sheiks can ride a dopey horse to vistory

    Dopey Horse Lover


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