x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

If the UAE came under attack ...

If the UAE came under military attack, the state would confiscate necessary fuel, food and medical supplies for immediate use or storage.

ABU DHABI // If the UAE came under military attack, the state would confiscate necessary fuel, food and medical supplies for immediate use or storage, according to a law that was made public yesterday. Transportation means, including lorries and cranes, and properties and factories could be also confiscated, and exporters and importers of military useful materials would need permission from the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces.

These are some of the contingency measures laid out in the General Mobilisation Law that was passed on May 5 in a closed session at the Federal National Council (FNC). The law was made available yesterday after Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE, returned it to the council with minor changes. The council also passed a martial law bill, but its provisions have not yet been released.

The UAE has never come under direct attack by states or terrorist groups, but the laws were considered necessary to set out the framework for a response. They are the first such laws since creation of the federation in 1971. Many provisions of the 39-article bill would be enforced by the Higher National Security Council (HNSC), which is presided over by the President. The HNSC was set up in 2006 and includes the top political and military leaders, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

UAE citizens over 18 would have to join the armed forces should the HNSC introduce conscription. Those who fail to heed the call would be subject to six months in prison or a Dh50,000 (US$13,600) fine, or both. The recent law would be enforced in cases of direct attacks against the UAE and when international security developments had direct impact on the country. It could also be invoked in the case of internal unrest.

Confiscation of property would be subject to "fair compensation", but export-import offenders would face a five-year jail term and a fine of up to Dh3m. The law also stipulates that citizens of countries named by the HNSC, presumably as aggressor nations, could be placed under house arrest and have their financial assets frozen. mhabboush@thenational.ae