Archive for category UAE

UAE: The Australian In Charge Of The UAE Presidential Guard

I thought this was cool. Apparently Mike Hindmarsh has been an advisor/commanding general of the UAE’s Presidential Guard since 2009, which performs their special operations mission. Mike’s background is that he was SASR and Special Operations Commander of Australia. This guy is a stud, and the UAE pays handsomely for his services.

The Presidential Guard has been active in Afghanistan over the years, so they do have some combat experience. They have also done some good training with the US Marines. I also imagine that it was these folks that rescued British hostage Robert Semple in Yemen back in August.

Now here is a thought. Maybe Hindmarsh will be the guy commanding these Colombian forces deploying to Yemen?Matt


Commander of the UAE Presidential Guard, Mike Hindmarch, Delivers a Lecture at the National Defense College Entitled “Counterinsurgency Operations”.

United Arab Emirates poaches former major-general Mike Hindmarsh as security adviser
DECEMBER 03, 2009
AUSTRALIA’S top special forces general has been poached by an Arab ruler to work as his national security guru.
Former major-general Mike Hindmarsh retired from his $230,000-a-year job last June after just months as head of the army’s Training Command after a 12-month stint as commander of the Middle East Area of Operations.
The ex-Special Operations Command and SAS chief has moved to Abu Dhabi to work as national security adviser to the United Arab Emirates.
His salary is unknown, but senior advisers in oil-rich states that are not burdened by democratic processes such as parliaments can earn more than $500,000-a-year tax free.
Mr Hindmarsh reports to Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Crown Prince General Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Senior sources said the top-secret appointment was made after months of negotiations and was cleared by defence chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and the Federal Government. “This has been going on for 18 months,” one said.
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Yemen: UAE Deploys It’s Colombian Mercenaries To Yemen

Very interesting news and I thought I would put this up on the blog incase someone has any other information to add to this news. I held off on talking about this when news of it first trickled out, all because I could not find any legitimate news group to confirm it. The New York Times was the group that originally broke the story about Reflex Responses and I put that up on the blog back in 2011. I haven’t heard much about it since.

I do know that the whole thing switched from a PMSC scheme with Reflex Responses as the recruiting company, to just a recruitment of Latin Americans directly to fight for the UAE armed forces. I talked about that transition here and here. It has been quite the drain on the Colombian market of force. Those guys must have been pretty bored all of these years.

Now that the UAE actually has a war to fight in Yemen, and they have lost a few of their own in that war, I am sure the idea of using more foreign troops to do that job will be more appealing to the locals of the UAE. The houthis and Saleh’s guys are definitely giving them a fight, and even launching ballistic missiles.

Back to the deployment of mercenaries in Yemen. What is interesting is that there is some history of mercenaries being used in that part of the world. Former SAS guys were recruited to fight there back in the sixties and did quite well. I imagine the current coalition will use these Colombian/Latin forces for basic infantry tasks, like guarding facilities or light patrolling. We will see how far they will go in their usage. Here is a quote about the make up of this force and what they are getting paid.

The Emiratis have spent the equivalent of millions of dollars equipping the unit, from firearms and armored vehicles to communications systems and night vision technology. But Emirati leaders rarely visit the camp. When they do, the troops put on tactical demonstrations, including rappelling from helicopters and driving armored dune buggies.
And yet they stay largely because of the money, receiving salaries ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 a month, compared with approximately $400 a month they would make in Colombia. Those troops who deploy to Yemen will receive an additional $1,000 per week, according to a person involved in the project and a former senior Colombian military officer.
Hundreds of Colombian troops have been trained in the Emirates since the project began in 2010 — so many that the Colombian government once tried to broker an agreement with Emirati officials to stanch the flow headed to the Persian Gulf. Representatives from the two governments met, but an agreement was never signed.
Most of the recruiting of former troops in Colombia is done by Global Enterprises, a Colombian company run by a former special operations commander named Oscar Garcia Batte. Mr. Batte is also co-commander of the brigade of Colombian troops in the Emirates, and is part of the force now deployed in Yemen.

I could not find Oscar’s company online and if anyone has a link, I will update it here. I did find him on Linkedin, but no mention of Global Enterprises. Interesting stuff and we will see how it goes for them. I imagine we will see more of this kind of thing amongst the wealthy gulf nations. ISIS and Al Qaeda are both expanding and morphing into hybrid terrorist armies, and Iran continues to meddle and cause trouble. The middle east will continue to require manpower for it’s wars and security, and private industry will certainly answer the call. –Matt


Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen
NOV. 25, 2015
The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran.
It is the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years, according to several people currently or formerly involved with the project. The program was once managed by a private company connected to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, but the people involved in the effort said that his role ended several years ago and that it has since been run by the Emirati military.
The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country. Earlier this year, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia, including the United States, began a military campaign in Yemen against Houthi rebels who have pushed the Yemeni government out of the capital, Sana.
It is also a glimpse into the future of war. Wealthy Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates, have in recent years embraced a more aggressive military strategy throughout the Middle East, trying to rein in the chaos unleashed by the Arab revolutions that began in late 2010. But these countries wade into the new conflicts — whether in Yemen, Syria or Libya — with militaries that are unused to sustained warfare and populations with generally little interest in military service.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

UAE: Former Colombian Soldiers Talk About Life In The UAE Military

The truth is that this country, which is under construction and is home to 5 million immigrants, which the Arabs call “expatriates”, aims to grow as a nation, but not with the human material to do so. Their ability to self-protection is insufficient.
So the sheik (King Amir) have government to government agreements with Korea, France and Thailand.
“In UAE all people are equal. There Living Allowance, education and health care are free, military service is voluntary, professional expertise is valued and we, despite being Colombian, we can access all this because our contract includes a resident visa and cedula UAE, “said Camargo…

Pretty cool article and this is a follow up from a post I did on it awhile back. Although this was translated through Google Translator, so it is a little rough. But I was able to get the gist and here are some things that perked me up. The first is how well these guys are treated. They refer to this job as the ‘Arab Dream’ and here is a quote about pay and conditions.

In Colombia earned 800,000 pesos in bonus. In Abu Dhabi has a salary of $ 3,000 free, receiving room and board and free healthcare. Also learned English. In the afternoon, he and his companions travel on buses that are willing to travel to a mall, where they can buy cleaning supplies and, if they want food.

One result when you create an ‘Arab Dream’ or excellent living wage and conditions, is that you have competition for those jobs. So here is the quote that showed how hard it is to get in.

Every three months there interviews for new staff, but filters exceed four times the standard that is the security forces.
We present an average of 1,700 people, including officers and soldiers of all arms, including the police. The first filter is a safety study, training, units where work and experience. This step leaves a number of 700 men.
“Then come knowledge tests, and the group is refined in 400, passing even more detailed study that includes a certification in human rights and judicial situation daily. The final group is 200. That means nine passes one, “says Camargo.
Many do not know that in the last stage is one of the drug tests. It is the most expensive and can determine whether the person has used drugs in the past nine months. If positive, it is immediately rejected.

Not only that, but they are an equal opportunity employer with their latest move of recruiting women. Check this out.

The next addition, which is expected to be in June, aims to bring the first two women, a list of 200 candidates.

So far, according to this interview this force has not been used for anything other than training.  Although I imagine every Colombian in this force is aware of the Arab Spring and the threat by Iran. Interesting stuff. –Matt


The Colombian army serving in UAE
Jineth Bedoya Lima
February 16, 2013
They made history with operations against FARC. Better wages led them to seek the ‘Arab dream’.
“When I say here because I’m ready for the house, I know that within 48 hours I will hug my family. In the jungle, in Colombia, when I said I enlisted, could wait up to a month and did not pass nothing … “.
Camargo is a seasoned Special Forces man who had to choose between her love for the Army and the welfare of his wife and son. So over a year ago, he packed bags and went to the heart of the Arabian Desert, to wear the uniform of a foreign country that has accepted as a war hero.
Like him, 1,400 men retain staff and military doctrine of his former institution, but now serve the UAE government. Its commander is Mohamed Bin Sayed Al Nahyan, commander of the UAE armed forces, and now his mission is to provide security to the country’s infrastructure, which has only 850,000 inhabitants and is one of the largest oil producers in the world.
Long hours of fighting, sleepless nights, patrols and mines were lurking behind. The cambuches in the open now comfortable beds in rooms apartments and recognition “is not just a medal, but a living wage.”
At least that’s what I say all military consulted TIME.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

UAE: Saudi Arabia And UAE Open Strategic Pipelines To Bypass Strait Of Hormuz

Highlighting the importance of the strait, Cyrus Vance, former US secretary of state, called it “the jugular vein of the West”, while Ali Fadavi, of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said Tehran had the ability to “not allow even a single drop of oil to pass” the strait.
“Multiple pipelines would partly negate the Iranian threat to block [the Strait of] Hormuz,” said Rafael Kandiyoti, senior research fellow at Imperial College London and author of Pipelines: Oil Flows and Crude Politics. “Showing increasing pipeline capacity suits the purposes of Saudi Arabia.”

This is big news, just because it gives these countries an alternative to shipping oil through the Strait of Hormuz. Although my first thought after reading this is that Iran will want to attack these pipelines as a way to shut down oil shipments–if Iran is attacked by Israel (and the west) because of it’s nuclear program.

If Iran is attacked, they will no doubt try to strike back by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz. They will also try to attack and destroy any oil infrastructure in any of the countries whom have key oil partnerships with the west. Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be classified as such.

With that said, it makes sense why the UAE would want to plus up their military with combat veterans from Colombia. They are going to need some serious manpower to effectively cover down on 220 miles of pipeline to protect it from attacks. The pipeline also makes it’s way through some interesting mountainous terrain that small attack groups could certainly take advantage of if you do not have an effective defense.

Interesting stuff and we will see how these pipelines fair, if in fact Iran decides to target them after an attack. –Matt


The Habshan-Fujairah pipeline, UAE. Photo –


Saudi Arabia and UAE open strategic pipelines to bypass Hormuz
July 16, 2012
Iranian threats to close the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in response to US and European-led sanctions and pressure over the country’s nuclear programme will seem less alarming with the opening of new Saudi-UAE oil pipelines.
Although the Middle-eastern super-producers did not specify that the pipelines, which bypass the busy shipping lane – responsible for carrying a third of the world’s shipped oil – were a direct response to Iranian sabre-rattling, the move is seen as a pre-emptive strike against an action that would spell economic catastrophe for the region and the West.
The opening of the pipelines comes as diplomatic tensions over Tehran’s nuclear programme – believed to be gearing up to produce weapons grade material – increase and Iran’s oil production, due to the sanctions, has fallen to its lowest level in more than 20 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

UAE: The UAE Military Is Recruiting 3,000 Colombians

The UAE has 80,000 square kilometers and have some military forces of around 50,000 troops. Because oil is one of the world’s richest nations. Although only 900,000 native citizens, has a population of 6 million people from countless nations. “What we realized the UAE, and is the reason why they are rapidly strengthening its army incorporating soldiers of different nationalities, is that they have several threats that make them very vulnerable. Our mission further includes different aspects ranging from urban defense against terrorist attacks and control civil uprisings and even be prepared against possible border conflict with Iran. “explains exoficial.
One reason why the government decided to accelerate UAE recently hiring former military around the world has to do with what has happened in countries hit by the so-called Arab spring, consisting of civil uprisings that ended with the overthrow governments in several countries in the Middle East.

Check this news out. This came through a Google Alert I set up, and I had to translate it in order to see what was up. The above quote is what grabbed my attention. The UAE is planning for a future where refugees and problems are streaming from other ‘collapsing’ countries, or even having to deal with internal rebellion or their own Arab Spring. That, and protecting oil infrastructure and pipelines requires a lot of muscle.

Not to mention that if Iran lashes back if they are attacked by Israel, then the UAE might be a potential target. Either way, they are wanting to recruit a bunch of foreign soldiers with combat experience.

Now this is a separate deal from the Reflex Responses gig, at least from what I can gather. The UAE military is directly recruiting these guys and paying them pretty good.

An active soldier in Colombia earn on average 950,000 pesos a month. Figure down to 690,000 when they are pensioners. Being part of the UAE Army soldier to that pay almost 5 million pesos. The figures are based on range. A lieutenant, who earns approximately 1,400,000 pesos in Colombia, is tempted to go for a salary of 6 and a half million pesos a month. The offer for a colonel in Colombia perceived 5,500,000, can reach $ 18,000.

Colombia is probably a little worried that the UAE will draw all of their top tier retired guys, or even motivate some folks to leave the military just to join this crew. I also imagine Colombians will be popular contract soldiers in Mexico, now that Nieto has won and his ‘security adviser’ is a retired Colombian general. lol –Matt


Former members of the homeland to the United Arab
June 30, 2012
More than 800 former military nation Colombians, many of them elite, have enlisted in the Army in the UAE. We pay up to $ 18,000 a month. One that does not stop bleeding.

For the past year, dozens of the best soldiers in the country are leaving the ranks of the Colombian Army. Most of them are seasoned experienced military who fought in elite units and special forces, among others. The reason why many have decided to hang up their uniforms after ten or 15 years of service is as exotic as controversial. Resigned from the army of his country to travel and sign up to join the Army and military in the UAE.

The matter has not been away from controversy and in some sectors of the disbanded army has caused discomfort. “They have recruited experienced soldiers in combat, men with years of valuable service and that the Army also has invested heavily in their training. It is certainly a loss for the Army. But there’s not much you can do because it is not nothing illegal, “said to Semana a general. What says the officer summarized the official position of the Armed Forces, who are powerless such recruitment. “The trouble is we can not do anything to retain and prevent the lower request because it is a matter of supply and demand. To go to UAE are paid wages that are five to ten times more than they earn here,” says the general.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Legal News: Reflex Responses Hires Patton Boggs LLP For Lobbying In DC

Every once in awhile, I like to flex my ‘Google Fu’ skills and do some digging around. Low and behold, I found an interesting little tidbit about the UAE’s mercenary army called Reflex Responses Management Consultancy LLC or R2 for short.

They just hired the services of Patton Boggs LLP for lobbying in Washington DC in the ‘trade’ department. So my question here is what does R2 plan on selling to the US? Could they offer training services, or maybe even maritime security services to US flagged vessels? Who knows, but I do know that Patton Boggs LLP is no small potatoes law firm/consultancy. They also have a long history and relationship with the UAE.

It is also interesting that all of this lobbying registration happened on 10/20/2011, which was the same time that a consulting firm registered to lobby for Maersk and International Org/Masters/Mates/Pilots. Now what I speculate is that Maersk is seeing the writing on the wall when it comes to having armed guards on boats, and they need some folks in DC to help clear things up.

Maersk is up against a Jones Act based lawsuit filed by crew members involved in the famous Maersk Alabama pirate attack that happened a few years back. They are claiming that Maersk put them needlessly at risk for not providing armed security on the boat. It would make sense that Maersk would lobby DC to alleviate some of the legal concerns about having armed guards on boats.

So how does this connect with the R2 deal?  I don’t know, and maybe it is just coincidence. But it is also interesting that Secretary Clinton put out her memo in support of armed guards on boats a couple of days after these lobbyists registered. hmmmm

The other thing to note is that the UAE is on a blitz of sorts to promote anti-piracy efforts. The article I posted below lists a pretty extensive effort and strategy to tackle the problem. So does R2 play into that anti-piracy strategy?

Even if they are not connected, I think Maersk, the unions, and R2 are all interested in getting armed guards on boats. Either for capturing market share in the maritime security industry, or for liability reasons so they don’t get sued by the unions and crews for not protecting seafarers out there. Worse yet, if unions strike because vessels are not providing security, then that could have a serious impact on commerce. Hence why it behooves the government to do something about this. –Matt


Patton Boggs LLP for Reflex Responses Management Consultancy LLC
Issues: Trade (Domestic/Foreign)
Specific issue: Issues related to security consulting and related licensing matters.
Lobbyists: ?Farber, David J ?Garrett, John C ?McHale, Stephen (covered positions: Acting General Counsel, Treasury, Jan-Jun 2001; ActGCTreasury01 ) ?Oresman, Matthew Scott (covered positions: Sen.E.Kennedy,Intern,99;SenateJuducCom,LawClrck,05 )
Link to report here.
Turner Pollard Strategies for Maersk Inc.
Issues: Defense; Marine/Maritime/Boating/Fisheries; Taxation/Internal Revenue Code; Trade (Domestic/Foreign); Transportation
Specific issue: All issues relating to the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine, including the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, the establishment of a Marine Highway, Cargo Preferences Statutes, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, the Tonnage Tax, Title XI (the Federal Ship Financing Program), and the protection of U.S. merchant ships from piracy.
Lobbyists: ?Pollard, John J III (covered positions: Staff of Rep Ike Skelton ans HASC ) ?Turner, James T
Link to report here.
Turner Pollard Strategies for International Org/Masters/Mates/Pilots
Issues: Defense; Marine/Maritime/Boating/Fisheries; Taxation/Internal Revenue Code; Trade (Domestic/Foreign); Transportation
Specific issue: All issues relating to the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine, including the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, the establishment of a Marine Highway, Cargo Preference Statutes, the Harbor Maintenance Trust fund, the Tonnage Tax, Title XI (the Federal Ship Financing Program), and the protection of U.S. merchant ships from piracy.
Lobbyists: ?Pollard, John J III (covered positions: Staff of Rep Ike Skelton ans HASC ) ?Turner, James T
Link to report here.


UAE renews support to all military operations and critical measures aimed at ending piracy off the Coast of Somalia
Nov 18, 2011
The United Arab Emirates renewed its strong support for all military operations and critical measures aimed at improving the process of pursuing and prosecuting those responsible and involved in piracy acts, considering these measures as a strong deterrent for preventing this phenomenon from continuing.
In an intervention made by Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations Ahmed Al-Jarman before the Meeting of the Contact Group on Combating Piracy off the Coast of Somalia on Thursday at the UN Headquarters, he added : “At the same time, the UAE emphasizes that such measures are not sufficient to eliminate totally and permanently these serious acts at sea, and the international community is required to adopt a comprehensive cooperation strategy that ensures the total elimination of this phenomenon, which constitutes a form of organized crime that threatens countries and is subject to international laws”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,