Thu - 20 Jan 2022 - 02:47 AM

written by : Rasha Abu Baker Writer Archive -

The UAE has always prided itself on the unparalleled level of safety and security it offers its citizens, residents and visitors. Yet, following the Houthis “desperate” attack on the nation’s capital on Monday, many may wonder about the country’s defence mechanisms and the security implications the attacks may have on the UAE and the wider region.

Dr. Mohammed Al Ali, CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory, said that with the UAE’s well-established and protected security, we should rest assured that the UAE is more than capable of defending its territories.

“The UAE has the strongest internal security system in the entire region, thanks to it being based on unparalleled internal cohesion and solidarity.

“It is also based on the high professionalism of military and security establishments and their unwavering commitment to protecting national security. These establishments have demonstrated outstanding professional excellence, not only in making the country an oasis of security, safety and stability, but also in ensuring the security of the entire region,” he told Khaleej Times.

“In a nutshell, these nonsensical attacks will not have an iota of impact on the security and stability of the UAE,” he added.

This opinion was echoed by a few other experts, who also feel that although the attacks have no direct ramifications on day-to-day security in the UAE, they do prove to the whole world the danger posed by the Houthi terrorist militias to the entire regional security system.

Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi, President of the Emirates Policy Centre said: “The UAE is very much capable of protecting its territories and its people. It has the military and other capabilities to tackle situations of this kind.”

“That said, we are faced with a rogue group that owns advanced military systems and can destabilize the region with more such acts of terror. Such attacks also have larger ramifications as they can hamper oil transportation, disrupt navigation routes, and cause a spike in oil prices, which can be extremely harmful to the global economy already suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

Salah Al Junaibi, an independent Emirati political and international relations analyst noted that the UAE defence and military system is of high quality and possesses advanced technology used for monitoring, defending and protecting the homeland across all its military branches. “If we talk about its naval capacities, the UAE boasts a very efficient radar system and powerful missile deterrent capabilities this also true of its land and air defence.”

On drones, Al Junaibi noted they are constantly monitored with a law on drones introduced (which regulates their operation) but “there still remains certain vulnerabilities.”

He called the attack a “one-off incident” that could have taken place as an accident in any facility. “It was not a serious attack and lead to minimal losses.”

However, he stressed, the challenge with dealing with such unorganized militias is that they have no principles when it comes to attacks. “They (Houthis) are not an organised army that adhere to the international norms of warfare.”

“Having said that,” he reassured, “all this is being monitored and analysed. I believe in the UAE’s defence systems and capabilities. Our security institutions are on alert and have a high sense of security.”

Houthis cannot be reasoned with. Dr. Mohamed Al Ali explained that these terrorist attacks have proved to the whole world the danger posed by the Houthi terrorist militias to the entire regional security system, as they target civilian institutions in Yemen and neighbouring countries, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

He said: “The Houthi militias also pose a serious threat to international navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and to global energy security by targeting oil production fields and facilities. With their absurd behaviour, these militias and their likes in the region should be strongly confronted, not only by the countries of the region, but also by the whole international community. This is the only way to achieve peace and security in the Middle East.”

Al Junaibi added: “Under the era of President Donald Trump, the group was designated as a terrorists, yet they have been removed by Joe Biden from the terrorist list despite all their continuous international violations like attacking Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles.”

Why the attacks happened now?

In terms of the timing of these attacks, Dr. Al Ali said he believes they are a desperate attempt by the terrorist Houthi militia to distract attention from the great achievements and victories achieved by the Southern Giants Brigades, which are supported by the Arab coalition forces. “The Brigades have liberated the cities and provinces of the Shabwa and Ma'arib governorates from the Houthi militia during Operation Cyclone of the South. The attacks are also an attempt to claim an imaginary victory by targeting innocent civilians to cover up these losses. This could also be an attempt to shuffle the regional cards at this stage of tension between Iran and the international powers over the renegotiation of the Iranian nuclear programme. Everyone knows that those militias represent one of Tehran's proxies in the region,” he said.

How can the UAE respond to these attacks?

“I believe that the UAE’s response to these terrorist attacks must move along two parallel tracks. The first is to intensify military efforts and operations to deter these terrorist militias and neutralise them,” continued Dr. Al Ali, Trends CEO.

“The UAE has clearly emphasized that this terrorist attack will not go unpunished. We have already started to see this through the intensification by the Arab coalition forces of their military operations in Sanaa and various regions of Yemen.

“The second track is to build on the extensive regional and global solidarity in the face of these terrorist attacks. This would serve to pressure the terrorist Houthi militias to put an end to their attempts to destabilize regional security and stability. We should not submit to their blackmail and instead take collective action to stop their exploitation of Yemeni civilians and their ongoing terrorist crimes.”

Dr. Al Ketbi said the UAE will take the international community into confidence and urge countries such as the United States and its allies to support consolidated efforts toward tackling the Houthis’ menace.

“The international community should also play its role in bringing peace and stability to Yemen and helping restore law and order in the war-torn country. Yemen must be rescued from the claws of terror outfits and returned to its people,” she concluded.
* Rasha Abu Baker is a UAE News Editor at Khaleej Times. Experienced Associate Editor with a demonstrated history of working in the newspapers industry. Skilled in Editing, Research, English Translation, Writing, and Content Development.

The article was originally published by Khaleej Times on Tuesday 19 January 2022. The views expressed represent the author alone.