Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 21, 2008

Middle East Eyes Homeland Security

Filed under: Infrastructure Protection,International HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on February 21, 2008

The Middle East is beginning to appreciate the importance of homeland security in new ways, and the United Arab Emirates appears to be at the forefront. With what’s being billed as the Middle East’s first event focused exclusively on homeland security, Abu Dhabi will host a conference on protecting national borders, building disaster resilience, and countering international terrorism next month.

Entitled “International Security / National Resilience,” the gathering takes place March 2-5, 2008, at Abu Dhabi and is sponsored by HH General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, along with the UAE Ministry of Interior. ISNR Abu Dhabi follows ISNR London, which was held 4-5 December 2007.

Last year the UAE President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan created a new government agency charged with protecting vital facilities and utilities in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. With critical infrastructure that includes onshore and offshore petroleum facilities, power generation stations, water desalination plants, a natural gas transportation network, airports, seaports, and service networks, its no wonder they see the value in their own version of a DHS. However, since all of this infrastructure is owned by the emirate, they’ll likely have an easier go of it than DHS, which must navigate a domain of critical infrastructure owned almost entirely by the private sector.

Promoters of ISNR Abu Dhabi explain that the gathering will provide a comprehensive look at homeland security issues to enable “governmental authorities to respond resiliently to natural disasters as well as man-made ones.” This is just the sort of opportunity the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should capitalize on by sending delegates armed with speeches and presentations that explain the way we perceive the threat, the lessons we’ve learned, and the interest we have in supporting their efforts in a partnership against a threat that requires cooperation in order to be combated.

This blog has written before about the opportunities – some missed – for sharing our expertise in homeland security to benefit reluctant friends overseas. We have a shared interest in protecting our civilians. And the U.S. could really use some friends nowadays in that region.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 21, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

I guess other countries can just reliably adopt the successful US model of Homeland Security. After all no successful attacks since 9/11. Should be a big market for our experience and expertise or maybe our luck.

Comment by Jonah Czerwinski

February 22, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

WRC — Check back here on Monday for a post that details ways in which we can productively share HLS capabilities with countries from crucial regions. Mechanisms for doing so — e.g. NATO — already exist, but are underutilized. We shouldn’t have to rely on conferences, but we shouldn’t pass them up either if we’re doing little else.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Forge a New Currency of Counterterrorism Cooperation Through NATO

February 25, 2008 @ 12:01 am

[…] post here earlier this week detailed a conference on homeland security taking place in the Middle East next […]

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

Jonah! You later post was full of excellent suggestions. Not sure NATO is the best vehicle but perhaps after seeing how KOSOVO plays out in NATO we will know more.

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