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UAE Security Crackdown: A View From The Emirates

Sultan al Qassemi writes that there is no support for the protesters currently being arrested in the UAE. Across liberals and conservatives alike, sentiment is overwhelmingly against the detained activists. Qassemi sees the UAE's political Islamists as having failed in gauging the level of support for political reform and an Islamic state.
Pro-government protesters hold a banner with an Emirati flag and pictures of rulers of United Arab Emirates on it as they participate in a pro-government rally held in al Fateh Grand Mosque in Manama, February 11, 2012. Thousands of pro-government supporters attended the rally, which was organised by The Gathering of National Unity society, holding Gulf countries flags condemning the acts by opposition groups of Bahrain.    REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed (BAHRAIN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

Since the start of the Arab uprisings the UAE has witnessed a widespread campaign of arrest mostly involving political Islamists. Five activists were detained early last year, sentenced then pardoned by the country’s president. Then in December six naturalized individuals had their citizenships revoked for “threatening national security.”

In April this year a distant cousin of mine, believed to be involved at a senior level of the UAE Muslim Brotherhood chapter, was put under palace arrest. Finally, this week a number of political Islamists were arrested, while a formerly stateless activist who has since acquired foreign citizenship was deported. Certainly, this is all very alarming, but these decisions by the UAE government hardly seemed to have registered on the wider national scene. Indeed, what I have come across from people I spoke to and on social media is overwhelming support and in some cases criticism toward the government for “not acting earlier.”

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