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UAE plans mandatory military service

Emiratis, who are high school graduates, must serve in the military nine months while those without high school diplomas two years

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The United Arab Emirates has begun the process of imposing mandatory military service for adult males for up to two years, the country’s prime minister said Sunday.

High school graduates will be required to serve nine months, while those without a high school diploma must serve two years under the draft legislation, the Associated Press reported Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum as saying on his official Twitter.

The proposed law, which will give the option for females to join the military, will further enhance the country’s defenses, secure its borders and “preserve its achievements,” Sheikh Mohammed added.

While speaking at the cabinet meeting, Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai, said the policy aims to “strengthen the sense of belonging to the nation among young people and plant in them discipline and sacrifice.”

The bill, which will become mandatory for men aged 19 to 30 years, has to be approved by the consultative Federal National Council.

Sheik Mohammed is vice president and prime minister of the seven-state United Arab Emirates federation.

The UAE, especially Dubai, has strong commercial relations with Iran and enjoys warm relations with the United States and other Western powers.

The move by the Gulf country seems to be one that is following in Qatar’s footsteps.

In November, Qatar’s government made a similar move approving a draft law mandating men in the Gulf state to do military service.

Under the legislation, Qatari men aged between 18 and 35 must serve in the military for three months if they are graduates, and four if they are not.

Kuwait is also debating the reintroduction of compulsory military service, cancelled after the Iraqi army invaded the emirate in 1990 and occupied it for seven months.

Compulsory military service is not applied in other Gulf monarchies. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman rely on professional armies in their defense.

(With Associated Press and AFP)