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UAE Move to Shield from Nuclear Risk in Region

T. Ramavarman (
KT exclusive) / 14 January 2009

ABU DHABI - The Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) will soon submit its recommendations to support the UAE’s plans to draw up a comprehensive air defence system which will take into account the potential risks and threats from the formation of the ‘nuclear arc’ in the region.

This was disclosed to Khaleej Times here by General (R’td) Khaled Abdulla Al Bu-Ainnain who is also the former Commander of UAE Air Force and President of the INEGMA.  INEGMA is a major ‘think tank’ of the UAE on the defence related issues and Khaled Abdulla Al Bu-Ainnain is considered as a leading intellectual on regional missile and air defence.

He said by next month INEGMA will be submitting its recommendations on the development of a comprehensive air defence systems for the UAE, based on the discussions of the ‘Middle East Missile and Air Defence’ (MEMAD) symposium arranged by the Institute last month.

The symposium which had drawn the participation of experts from the US, France, Germany, Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE was the region’s first dedicated high-level conference to explore the merging threats and challenges in the form of air and missile attack, he clarified. “The UAE is confronted with almost a 180 degree nuclear arc, starting from Israel, Iran and reaches up to India and Pakistan at the other end. All these countries are known to be possessing nuclear armaments and have acquired a sophisticated delivery systems for such Weapons of Mass Destruction.’’

Meanwhile, Federal National Council Member Ahmed Shabib Al Dhahiri told Khaleej Times on Tuesday that an estimated $100 million budget has been earmarked for UAE Nuclear Authority, which will implement the country’s peaceful nuclear programme.

“This in no way means that all these countries are hostile to the UAE. But we cannot be blind to the risks and threats involved in these countries arming with nuclear capabilities.  We may even become victims of cross-fires between different countries.

Suppose Israel or the US attacks Iran, we could be caught in between. Our rulers have been acutely sensitive to these realities and are in the process building up a robust air defence system for the Emirates,’’ Khaled Abdulla Al Bu-Ainnain said. Asked about the decision of the UAE to buy Patriot, THAAD and SLAMRAAM Missiles from the US, he said “This is only one component in the development and deployment of comprehensive air defence system for UAE. It is the ‘system of systems’ involving early detection, separation, elimination and the complete command control.’’

“Whatever the country of origin, of the missiles, they will be manned, maintained, operated and even modified by the people of the UAE. We had the potential to buy these missiles ten years ago. But we wanted to develop the human resources from within the UAE so that our people will be put in command. We want to defend the country through our own people, and not through outsiders,’’ he said.

Responding to questions, he said the new Patriot and THAAD Missiles would be deployed within three years in the UAE. Initially, some experts from the US suppliers would be coming to educate the defence personnel of the UAE on the features and operation of the missiles.

ramavarman@khaleejtimes.ae

 
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