Major energy reserves, real estate, finance, air travel, Western support, and the country's ability to maintain internal calm in an unstable part of the world have turned the UAE into one of the Middle East's emerging powers. Now the country, which has a population of slightly over 1 million citizens spread over seven semi-autonomous city states, is attempting to rapidly upgrade its military capabilities.
And not just through the draft. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the UAE was the world's ninth-largest arms importer for the period between 2008 and 2012, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In 2013 alone, the UAE imported 14 Black Hawk helicopters from the U.S., 72 Nyala armored personnel carriers from South Africa, 6 corvettes from France, and 1,000 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.