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Emirati Army

Sheikh Zayed realized the importance of protecting the new federation with a strong Army to deter any aggression as he said, "We are building an Army not with the purpose of aggression or fighting another country, not for eventual expansion, but merely for self defense". This approach was driven from the Holy Quran in this verse: "And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly".

On another occasion of the unification of the separate defense powers of each Emirate into the unified Armed Forces Sheikh Zayed said, "The building of Armed Forces in any countryin an endeavor most cherished by its people. Under the pressure of urgent need, we were induced to mete our Armed forces into the UAE Army. This has been our hope from the very start because it meant oneness of decision, unity of hearts and mutual support among brethren having common bonds of kinship and neighborhood".

Despite the promises and pledges of 1976, true integration and unification of the UAE armed forces did not take place for many years. The UDF was seen by some, particularly the amir of Dubayy, as merely an extension of Abu Dhabi power. Individual amirs view their forces as symbols of sovereignty no matter the size or combat readiness of the units. The separate forces therefore continue as they had earlier, but they are called regional commands, only nominally part of the UDF. Shaykh Zayid ibn Sultan's attempt to install his eighteen-year-old son Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan as commander in chief in 1978 shook the fragile unity of the UDF. Although the appointment was rescinded, Dubayy's resolve strengthened to maintain the autonomy of the Central Military Command, its own regional military command. In 1997 the union was further strengthened when Dubai disbanded its armed forces and integrated them into the federal General Headquarters, which are based in Abu Dhabi. Nonetheless, a decade later, Dubai still maintained two Brigades of its own that are not integrated into union forces.

Union Defense Force
U/I Royal Guard Brigade
U/I Armored Brigade
U/I Armored Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Infantry Brigade
U/I Infantry Brigade
U/I Artillery Brigade
U/I Artillery Regiment
U/I Artillery Regiment
U/I Artillery Regiment
Dubai Troops
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
U/I Mechanized Infantry Brigade
The force strength is set at about 50,000 men. Due to the UAEs small manpower base, about 30 percent are expatriates. In reality, however, the country has difficulty maintaining a full complement. The army has a force structure of about 44,000 men, including 15,000 in two Dubai brigades that are not totally integrated into the other forces.

The army, which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is organized into one Royal Guard brigade, two armored brigades, three mechanized infantry brigades, two infantry brigades, and one artillery brigade (of three regiments). Dubai had two mechanized infantry brigades that were not integrated into union forces. In early 2010, the Presidential Guard (PG) was formed, though this appears not to be part of the regular Land Forces. The PG is comprised of Marines, Reconnaissance, Aviation, Special Forces/Amiri Guard and Mechanized Brigades. PG personnel conducted operations in Afghanistan (the only Arab personnel undertaking full-scale operations in the country).



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