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The UAE occupies a critical strategic position on the Arabian Gulf, where nearly one-quarter of the world’s oil is produced and shipped. The UAE and the United States share a common resolve to preserve security and stability in the Gulf. US homeland security is tied directly to the UAE’s role as a source of that security and stability.
The foundation for the UAE-US bilateral security relationship is the 1994 Defense Cooperation Agreement. The pact permits the United States to base troops and equipment within UAE federation borders. Jebel Ali port, in Dubai, is crucial to US naval operations, as it is the only harbor in the Gulf deep enough to berth an aircraft carrier.
The UAE is only one of three countries and the only Arab nation to participate with the US in five coalition actions over the last 20 years: Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Bosnia-Kosovo, and the 1990 Gulf War. The UAE has deployed forces and/or provided assistance in:
The UAE provides ongoing and essential support for US forces, and contributes to efforts to fight terrorism and extremism, while working to increase stability and peace in the region. The UAE is:
The UAE is meeting its commitments to Iraq reconstruction by providing important financial and in-kind support, including medical treatment, hospital reconstruction, humanitarian supplies and police training.
The UAE has frozen the accounts of known terrorists and enacted aggressive anti-money-laundering initiatives. New counter-terrorist financing laws and regulations have been introduced and enforced, and in 2005 the UAE committed to the International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Dubai is the sixth largest port in the world for container traffic and the first Middle East entity to join the Container Security Initiative (CSI). In a multinational program to protect global trade from terrorism, CSI stations US Customs officers inside Dubai's ports. The UAE also secures the delivery of oil and gas supplies to world energy markets.
Dubai was the first Middle East entity to join the Department of Energy's Megaports Initiative, aimed at stopping illicit shipments of radioactive material. The UAE has committed to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and is a signatory to the Arab Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism.
The UAE and the United States share a deep concern over Iran’s nuclear development and its impact on peace and stability in the entire region. The UAE fully supports and enforces United Nations Security Council resolutions barring shipment of sensitive materials and technologies to Iran.
Located just across the Gulf, the UAE and Iran have historic ties, including a significant trading relationship. The UAE, with the Gulf Cooperation Council, seeks a region free of weapons of mass destruction.
The UAE has a military presence in Afghanistan, with a strictly defensive purpose, consistent with the UAE Constitution. The UAE Armed Forces on the ground are focused on the protection of humanitarian initiatives and ensuring safety and stability for local communities. Personnel are also directly involved in culturally sensitive community development activities, especially necessitating knowledge of the Arabic language or Islamic traditions, alongside representatives of key humanitarian organizations such as the Red Crescent.
The UAE and US Armed Forces regularly cooperate on both training and operational missions and exercises to strengthen this important alliance. This is evidenced by a recent exercise called Red Flag held at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Please view Desert Falcons, a documentary about a group of Emirati F-16 fighter pilots and maintenance officers from the UAE Air Force, representing their country for the first time at the world's most challenging aerial combat exercise.
The UAE has turned to the United States as a major defense supplier, to help ensure interoperability of forces. In 2009, the US Congress approved a UAE request to purchase more than $15 billion in US defense equipment. Included in this package is the world’s most sophisticated missile defense system, making the UAE the only country, other than the United States, to deploy this technology.
The UAE currently has a number of military equipment programs with the United States, including: