March 20, 2010: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has, over the last five years, accounted for a third of all arms imports into the region. Israel accounted for 20 percent and Egypt 13 percent. The UAE is fearful of Iran, as well they should be.
The UAE occupies much of the western coast of the Persian Gulf, but has a population of less than three million and armed forces of only 65,000. There are 70 million Iranians, and about half a million of them are in the military. While the Iranian air force only has about 200 operational, and quite elderly, combat aircraft, sheer numbers can be encouraging to the Iranians. The UAE has a hundred, much more modern, warplanes, and it uses the training assistance from the U.S. Air Force, to provide a qualitative edge. The Americans also work with UAE commanders to figure out what kind of surprises the Iranians might try to pull. Arab nations fear the Iranians, who have dominated the region for thousands of years, and have a long history of coming up with imaginative tactics, and using them aggressively and often with success. Meanwhile, the Saudis have a larger air force than the UAE, and it's believed that the Iranians must have some kind of surprises planned, to deal with this imbalance in air power.
Iran has been under various arms embargos since the 1980s. Even with that , Iran ranked 29th in arms imports (compared to the UAE, which is number 4).