The United Arab Emirates has reportedly recruited soldiers form the Colombian army’s special forces units to protect the sheikdom in case of heightened tension in the Persian Gulf or domestic unrest.
According to the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, the oil-rich Arab country offers Colombian soldiers between USD 2,800 and USD 18,000 per year while officers are said to earn USD 550 a month in Colombia.
According to reports, more than 800 Colombian troops and officers have already been brought to the UAE and a total of 3,000 others are planned to be hired.
It is said that the UAE is employing the forces due to concerns in the Arab country regarding a conflict with neighboring Iran which may begin by an attack on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities or as a result of the growing tension over the UAE’s ownership claims on the three Iranian Persian Gulf islands.
On the other hand, the UAE rulers are worried about the public protests and the impact of the Arab Spring in their own territory. Colombian soldiers can then display their power and capability on the streets.
The choice of these soldiers is not surprising at all. Colombian troops have gained international recognition for fighting against underground groups and drug gangs.
According to some reports, the troops have acquired this capability and skill through training they have received from Israeli, US and British experts.
This is why Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in 2009 that Colombia is the “Israel of Latin America” as he was pointing to extensive military ties among Colombia, the US and Israel.
In recent years, the Colombian media have spread numerous reports about Israel’s interference in training the country’s forces in fighting the militia.
Colombia’s FARC rebel group said in 2007 that Israeli commando officers are training the country’s army in the Colombian jungles.
The Colombian Defense Minister Jose Manuel Santos announced that a group of former Israeli intelligence officers advised the Colombian military’s Chief of Staff.
- U.S.’s Post-Afghanistan Counterinsurgency War: Colombia (alethonews.wordpress.com)