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?

September 26th, outsourced

Reviews: Potted Potter and Divergent