Country Report on Terrorism 2011 - Chapter 2 - United Arab Emirates


Overview: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government improved border security measures and renewed its efforts to counter terrorist financing. In December, the UAE agreed to implement the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Immigration Advisory Program at Abu Dhabi Airport. Prominent officials and religious leaders continued to publicly criticize extremist ideology.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The UAE participated in the Megaports and Container Security Initiative (CSI); on average, approximately 250 bills of lading were reviewed each week, resulting in about 25 non-intrusive inspections per month of U.S.-bound containers. Examinations were conducted jointly with Dubai Customs officers, who shared information on transshipments from high-risk areas, including those originating in Iran.

In 2011, memoranda of cooperation signed in 2010 between the UAE Ministry of Interior and the Abu Dhabi Customs Authority with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) went into effect. These agreements facilitated ICE assistance to provide technical support and instruction in the establishment of two separate training academies to further build Emirati Customs and Police capacity. The Abu Dhabi Customs Academy established last year now hosts six retired ICE and Customs and Border Protection instructors. The academies trained nearly a thousand personnel in 2011.

Countering Terrorist Finance: The UAE continued efforts to strengthen its institutional capabilities to counter terrorist financing, but challenges remain. It is a member of the Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task Force, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and chairs the Training Working Group. Its Financial Intelligence Unit, the Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit ( AMLSCU) in the Central Bank of the   United Arab Emirates , is a member of the Egmont Group. The Mutual Evaluation Report recommended that authorities amend the federal anti-money laundering law and increase dedicated resources available to the AMLSCU, which has supervisory authority over hawala . Although the UAE has taken important steps to address hawala remittances and was in the process of implementing a new hawala law that will monitor remittances performed through alternative channels, the AMLSCU staff was overwhelmed by the number of remittances. Additionally, the UAE has not yet mandated formal registration with the Central Bank for hawala .

The UAE Central Bank provided training programs to financial institutions on money laundering and terrorist financing. The United States and the UAE continued working together to strengthen efforts to combat bulk cash smuggling (BCS), in particular from countries at higher risk of illicit finance activity, and have stressed the importance of countering BCS to other countries in the region. However, BCS to the UAE remains a serious problem.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: The UAE is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). At the GCTF launch in September, the UAE indicated its intention to open the first-ever international center for training, dialogue, research and collaboration on countering violent extremism (CVE) in Abu Dhabi in the fall of 2012 . The UAE and United Kingdom co-chair the GCTF CVE Working Group.

In December, law enforcement agencies from over 20 countries attended a Global Police Chiefs Symposium hosted by the UAE.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In order to prevent extremist preaching in UAE mosques, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments provided guidelines for all Friday sermons and monitored compliance. The UAE worked to keep its education system free of radical influences and emphasized social tolerance and moderation. Also, the UAE has a cyber-crime law criminalizing the use of the Internet by terrorist groups to “promote their ideologies and finance their activities.”