Two Gulf States introduce conscription
In November, Qatar’s government approved a draft law making it compulsory for men to do military service for up to four months. This is the first instance of conscription in the state of Qatar. The four-month term would apply to Qatari men who have not attended school, college or university, and those who did attend but did not complete high school after reaching 21. Graduates will be conscripted for three months. No time frame for the introduction of compulsory military service has been given.
Two months later, the nearby UAE (United Arab Emirates) Cabinet approved compulsory military service for all UAE National men aged between 18 and 30. The service will be optional for women.
A strong ally of the USA, the UAE is also a prominent buyer of 'Western military hardware'. It has an ongoing territorial dispute with its much bigger neighbour, Iran, over three Gulf islands controlled by the Islamic republic. UAE's population is around 8.2 million, about 90 percent of whom are expatriates. Shaikh Mohammad, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, announced “The Service will cover military training at the armed forces, 9 months for high school grads & 2 yrs for those with less than high school.”
Incredibly, he added on twitter “Our message to the world is a message of peace; the stronger we are, the stronger our message.” In January, the bill went through it's last stage of approval in from of the Federal National Council.
The Kuwaiti parliament are also discussing reintroducing conscription, which was suspended in 2001.
Source: Just Here, Conscription Law to be enforced in Qatar, 14 November, 2013; The National, Qatar approves compulsory military service for men, 14 November 2013; Doha News, Cabinet OKs draft law mandating military service for young Qatari men, 14 November 2013; Reuters, With eye on troubled region, UAE plans military service for men, January 19 2014; Gulf News, Compulsory military service for UAE National men, January 19, 2014; Khaleej Times, <Federal National Council hails army conscription, 22 January 2013; Kuwait Times, Conscription – Kuwait investment of future.