Counter-Terrorism: Places Islamic Terrorists Avoid

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December 9, 2014: The UAE (United Arab Emirates) recently (November 15th) released a list of 83 organizations it considered participants or supporters of Islamic terrorism and enacted legal restrictions on these organizations and their members. The usual suspects (al Qaeda, al Nusra, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, ISIL, Haqqani, Moslem Brotherhood and many smaller, largely unknown in the West groups). The UAE also named several Islamic charities and Islamic lobbying groups (like CAIR in the United States). The charities and lobbying groups deny any involvement with Islamic terrorists but their actions over many years says otherwise. The UAE understands this even if many in the West still do not.

While some Moslem states have many in their political leadership who back, or tolerate, Islamic terrorists (as long as they are not killing anyone nearby) UAE is one of the growing number of Moslem majority  states with little or no sympathy or support for Islamic terrorists, at least not among the senior political leadership. This has not gone unnoticed among Islamic terror groups and these terror organizations have accused the UAE of being “too close to the West” for some time. The UAE has been on the terrorist target list since 2001, when the emirates allowed American military aircraft to operate out of air ports there. In 2008 al Qaeda made some serious threats against UAE leaders because of a recent crackdown on fund raising for "Islamic Charities" in the UAE. The U.S. had been pressuring UAE banks, and others in the region, to stop tolerating customers that move terrorist money around local banks. New banking rules were implemented in UAE and they worked. So al Qaeda sought to scare the UAE back into line. That wasn’t be easy, as UAE security had been getting tighter since September 11, 2001, and especially since the U.S. went into Iraq in 2003. Al Qaeda was never very popular in the emirates, and terrorists that showed up tended to get spotted and turned in quickly. But not instantly, and if al Qaeda or any other major terrorist organization threw enough people into the UAE in a short period of time, something might work. But so far major Islamic terror groups have judged that approach to be counter-productive. Not willing to rely solely on past reputation the UAE continues to strengthen its counter-terrorism capabilities.

 

 


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