UAE's Reliance on Retired U.S. Troops and Its Impact on Foreign Policy

UAE’s Reliance on Retired U.S. Troops and Its Impact on Foreign Policy

The Attraction of the UAE Job Market for Retired U.S. Service Members

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a hot destination for retired U.S. military personnel seeking overseas employment. Over the past seven years, a significant number of military retirees, totaling 280, have sought federal authorization to work for the UAE. This trend has outpaced similar opportunities in other countries, as revealed by documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

American Veterans as Military Contractors and Consultants for the UAE

Among those who have found work as military contractors or consultants for the Emiratis are highly decorated generals with extensive experience in U.S. Middle East wars. Notably, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, who later became the defense secretary in the Trump administration, previously served as a military adviser to the UAE. The influx of American veterans with the consent of the Pentagon and State Department has contributed to the UAE’s development of what many experts consider the most powerful military in the Arab world.

Legal Implications and Disclosures

Federal law prohibits retired military personnel and reservists from accepting employment or gifts from foreign governments without prior approval from the State Department and Pentagon. The aim is to safeguard against veterans becoming beholden to foreign powers and undermining U.S. interests. The UAE has long been an essential U.S. partner on regional security matters, but concerns have arisen about its intervention in Yemen and Libya, with some suggesting that the hiring of numerous U.S. military contractors may have played a role.

UAE’s Military Buildup and Ties with American Contractors

The UAE’s substantial military buildup over the past decade has been driven by concerns about domestic unrest and tensions with Iran. Offering attractive remuneration packages and tax-free lifestyles, the UAE has attracted a multitude of American military contractors to work in various capacities. However, the country’s record of chronic repression and lack of political freedom contrasts with its flashy image.

The Influence of American Contractors on UAE’s Actions

With American contractors and weaponry boosting its military capabilities, the UAE has become more assertive in intervening in conflicts far beyond its borders. Its involvement in Yemen and Libya has been accompanied by accusations of human rights abuses, including running secret prisons with reports of torture and inhumane treatment.

The UAE’s Ambiguous Relationship with the U.S.

Despite close military cooperation with the U.S., the UAE has faced criticism from Congress and human rights groups for its actions, including recent decisions on oil production and its association with Russia’s Wagner Group. The country’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy has raised concerns about its influence on U.S. foreign policy and global stability.

The UAE’s reliance on retired U.S. troops as military advisers and contractors has been met with both benefits and consequences. While it has allowed the UAE to develop a powerful military force, concerns have been raised about the country’s interventionist actions and human rights record. As the UAE continues its close partnership with the U.S., balancing mutual interests and holding it accountable for its actions remains a complex challenge.

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