What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

UAE: in Uruzgan, Afghanistan the Emiratis

"There is no doubt that the reported role being played by the Emiratis is beneficial, but the implication that it should provide a template for NATO forces is overly simplistic."
And Will accepts BBC correspondent Frank Gardner's view that the sort of role played by the Emirates is not likely to be a blueprint (while Frank Gardner thinks it should be).
What can I say? It's not very likely that it will be a blueprint, for sure. Before the BBC article, up till now, only a couple of obscure bloggers have been discussing the UAE's role in Afghanistan - with, uh, me included.
And who's writing an article about them now? A BBC journalist who sees something very remarkable about the UAE's being there. He is right of course. It is remarkable. It is exceptional. That's what it is. (So Frank Gardner discovered Google... or maybe he was just told what he could "now reveal"?)
The Dutch wanted to ask Indonesia for help in Uruzgan last year. Turkey is regularly asked for help all over Afghanistan, as much as they can offer. It's certainly nice for an ordinary Afghan to see that the international soldier coming to their qala is one who knows what for instance Eid al-Fitr means (especially if it means something personal to that soldier, too) and so on. They certainly wouldn't do things like put the Saudi flag on gift footballs.
But a Gulf country like the UAE - they have a reason to keep this on a small scale. The Jordanians are content with keeping a low profile, too. And Indonesians didn't really feel like coughing up troops for ISAF. That's why I wouldn't expect to see many Muslim-majority countries coming in to do things similar to what Turkey is doing, on a similar scale.
But then I see that the article doesn't say which part of Afghanistan it is about. There are UAE troops in Uruzgan, I know (Radio Netherlands' Arabic service reported that long ago). There was talk they might go to Kandahar as well. So what's the reason for this article now? Some new deployment?

A UAE convoy makes so much difference... but really not that much from a distance (pic source)

Update (April 6): Correction - of the title, actually! Based on information just received, UAE troops are not really in Uruzgan any more. Instead they are in [insert name of any Afghan province here until Radio Netherlands or BBC reveals it publicly as a sensational secret that ought to be a blueprint for operations all over Afghanistan].

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