Compulsory military service for all male Emiratis will strengthen national identity: UAE papers

WAM ABU DHABI, 21st January, 2014 (WAM) — The introduction of compulsory military service for all male Emiratis will not only strengthen the country’s military capacity, but also have a much wider range of benefits that can only grow over the years, the local dailies commented today.

In its editorial entitled “Reinforcing national identity through military service”, the Dubai-based Gulf News said that immediate benefit will be for all young Emirati men to learn how to serve the nation with honour and pride. It will lead to an increased expression of loyalty to the country and its leaders and of the spirit of dedicated public service that being an active member of the armed forces builds.

“Such national service also reinforces patriotism and national identity. The armed forces are a federal institution that answer to the entire country, drawing their recruits from all over the U.A.E. This means that young Emiratis will have the opportunity to live and work with their peers from all over the country, forging friendships outside their immediate family or emirate circles. In addition, the military training that these young people receive will remain with them for the rest of their lives, offering the U.A.E. a military reserve that will be an important asset,” the paper wrote.

Abu Dhabi-based The National, in its editorial entitled “Military service for Emirati men offers benefits and challenges”, commented that the plan for all Emirati men between the age of 18 and 30 to do military service, as announced by the Cabinet, follows the example of many other countries that require their young people to perform some kind of national service. “While conscription can deliver many advantages to the U.A.E. and its youth, it also comes with some challenges.” The new requirement has been welcomed by many. Compulsory military service will lead Emiratis to have a stronger sense of responsibility towards their nation and also a greater awareness of the challenges facing the U.A.E. by training them to be ready to fight to protect the nation and preserve its independence and sovereignty from any external attack, according to the paper.

Sharjah-based local daily The Gulf Today in its editorial entitled “No service like serving the nation”, said that the United Arab Emirates has taken yet another step in the right direction, an exalted leap that will help the nation move forward through the strong strides of its exciting youth.

It continued, “It will mean great nourishment for an already patriotic lot; it will mean that the national flag wasn’t meant only to flutter but flutter with overpowering nationalism and it will also mean that the colours would be stitched up purely with aspirations and invincible dreams and by the sons and daughters of the soil.” The decision will inculcate a sense of deep commitment and entrench in impressionable young minds the importance of soldiering nationalistic values. The only way of realising that the uniform has a magic is to wear it. Well, the time has come, the paper commented.

WAM/Esraa/AAMIR

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