Thursday, September 25, 2014

The UAE and IS

As you may have heard, the UAE is part of the coalition that is striking ISIS/ISIL/IS strongholds in Syria. I never thought I'd be living in a country that was bombing Syria, especially a non-US one, but here I am. I confess I'm also surprised that the UAE is getting so involved. From my casual observations in the past, it seems that support from the UAE generally takes the form of written statements + money. Fighter jets, not so much.

Saudi Arabia is part of the coalition as well. In fact, a Saudi prince was one of the air force pilots dispatched to carry out the mission. (To be fair, there are a lot of princes and princesses in Saudi Arabia. I had a Saudi princess in one of my classes last year, for example. But still.)

In my opinion, ISIS/ISIL/IS is pure evil and they deserve to be gotten rid of. But of course it's more complicated than that. I've read that anything that weakens IS will by default strengthen Bashar al-Assad, which is a bad thing. So there's the issue of which one, exactly, is the lesser of two really, seriously, awful evils. It's at least good that the US has some Arab friends along for the ride this time. Jordan, Qatar, Saudi, and the UAE see IS as a threat, too, apparently - enough that they are willing to back up statements and aid money with jets and bombs.

This has actually not been in the news that much around here, at least not in the English-language press. I've seen far more about Yemen and the crap that is currently hitting the fan there. It's also hard to get a sense of how "the UAE" feels about these strikes. It's not something I feel like I can talk about with my students, at least not yet (I only met them this week). And of course, there is no one "the UAE" to even ask - we are from as many different countries and religions and political persuasions as you please.

That's all the insight I have from this side of the fence. How is it looking on yours?


Andrew said...

There's this lady from the UAE too:

Jen said...

^^I was just going to post the link Andrew did.

From this side of the fence it is all a bit frightening, truth be told.

On a not-so-deep level, however, it's NOT my favorite thing that politicians get to decide about war. Because, you know, politicians are sooooooo...uh....qualified for that. ('s a cranky-at-politicians day.)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

The Syrian people are going to lose no matter which way things go. They'll have to cope with IS/Assad/or both. IS has to be wiped out at any cost. I feel prickly sweat coming on if I imagine the holy terror people feel when those guys move into the village. It's no wonder that hundreds of thousands have fled to Turkey in just 1 week.

Susanne said...

I was really sad and disturbed when I heard a PRI story on the way home today from Aleppo and Kafranbel. Especially the one about al-Nusra being part of the people so why is the US going after them. And then Kafranbel (of the great signs!) having people in the streets cheering for ISIS and saying we are attacking Islam! What? After all those Muslims making a point of saying ISIS was not speaking for them?

Just struck me wrong. Maybe because I woke up to my Syrian friend showing me pictures of what MY gov't was doing in his country - and I got to see a picture of a dead baby at 7 AM, and had to deal with HIS hurt and anger.

Life was way more simple for me pre-October 2007.

Back to you...I was thinking earlier today that I wondered how things were like in the UAE so what a neat surprise to check Feedly at 11 PM and find your post. Glad you shared!

Susanne said...

Do I need to clarify that I wasn't on the way home from Aleppo or Kafranbel today...just I sent this without proofreading? And it's past my bedtime.

Hannah said...

I share your concerns about the complicated nature of this situation. Mostly, I just feel incredibly sad that the situation has come down to this.

Bridget said...

WHY is there nothing about her in the UAE news? I just checked, and there are a few more articles about the strikes in both The Gulf News and The National (this article, for instance: The National has an airplane on its front page...but it's about Etihad's new Airbus A380.


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