The United Arab Emirates and the Hazard of Iran’s Nuclear Programs

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 6
Words: 2741
Reading time:
11 min
Study level: PhD


A crisis management program for the United Arab Emirates is critical because of the potential threat presented by natural disasters and artificial emergencies which leads to economic loss, loss of lives, breakdown of law and order, and the destruction of critical infrastructure. The ministry of the interior should coordinate at the strategic and operational levels the disaster response plan to preserve national assets and carry out the recovery plans using the police and other trained human resource staff to address the emergencies. Such disasters justify the need to put in place a security crisis management program to save critical infrastructure.

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This study focuses on the need for a security crisis management program for the United Arab Emirates to be implemented by the ministry of interior from the hazards caused by natural disasters, breakdown in technology with the risk of the breakdown of the widely dispersed Iranian nuclear reactors in context of the impact of emergencies. According to Seeger, Sellnow and Ulmer (1998, p.9), Unlu, Kapucu and Sahin (2010, p. 6), and Zhong and Low (2009, p. 8), a crisis management program is the process for responding to a disaster that has the potential to cause harm. Unlu, Kapucu and Sahin (2010, p. 6), and Holt, Campbell & Nikitin (2012, p.6) regard disaster management as the activities for disaster recovery, mitigation, and preparedness to minimize the effects of a hazard if an emergency happens. Typical examples include the breakdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant and the earthquakes that have occurred in Turkey and India (Iranian Studies Group 2004, p.2; Paraskevas 2006, p.2).

Many countries are exposed to the threats of nuclear disasters in the context of the threats from earthquakes such as happened in Turkey, Mozambique, in Honduras or the breakdown in law and order (Wiles, Selvester & Fidalgo 2005, p. 4; Telford, Arnold & Harth 2004, p. 4). This study raises questions on the level of preparedness of the ministry of interior on crisis management if a disaster happens on a wide or small scale. The UAE particularly the ministry of the interior does not have policies in place to coordinate emergency rescue efforts.

The aim of the research

The aim of the research is to discover the best security crisis management program for the United Arab Emirates by the ministry of interior to counter the potential hazards and effects of natural disasters, complex emergencies, pandemic emergencies, or technological breakdowns such as the breakdown of Iranian nuclear programs by the interior ministry.

Research Objectives

  1. Conduct a comprehensive study on emergencies
  2. Study multidisciplinary responses to such emergencies
  3. Establish a framework for the response, mitigation, preparedness, and prevention for the United Arab Emirates in case of an earthquake-related emergency.
  4. Comprehensively study the geographic distribution of vulnerable areas in the UAE.

Significance of the Study

The tectonic structure and the geographic position of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East and its close position with respect to Iran which has widely distributed nuclear reactors make the UAE vulnerable to the occurrence of natural disasters, the occurrence of pandemic emergencies, and technological nuclear disasters. The potential effects of the occurrence of any natural or artificial disaster can be devastating to business continuity, to the security of the UAE, and the normal running of the public. The potential implications of a nuclear disaster to the existence of the UAE’s critical infrastructure such as the loss of lives rises the insecurity resulting from such a catastrophe and requires that the ministry of interior formulate a well-coordinated emergency response program using the police (Holt, Campbell & Nikitin 2012, p.6). Such a timely response could enable the country to be back to normal in case of a disaster of any dimension.

Literature Review

Orientation to Previous Research

This study relies on previous research on security crisis management of hazards, drawing a parallel from the management of natural disasters such as earthquakes and the response, preparedness, recovery, and mitigation strategies by various institutions as experienced in many parts of the world including Turkey and India (Holt, Campbell & Nikitin 2012, p. 23). The countries provide lessons on the approach’s institutions have used in disaster preparedness and response based on experience and the appropriateness for a potential nuclear strike from the Iranian nuclear installations.

The need for a security crisis management program for the Arab Emirates is demonstrated from the events that followed the threats from the earthquakes that hit Turkey and that have happened in countries such as India. The research shows the disastrous effects caused by earthquakes and the potential impact on the Iranian nuclear installations. Studies by the Iranian Studies Group (2004, p. 3) contributes to the knowledge on security and crisis management that institutions have put in place in preparations for the occurrence of such disasters and how they have coordinated responses to such crisis. The underlying model provides the basis for addressing effectively the effects of such emergencies by the ministry of interior. The destructive effects of an earthquake or any natural or artificial disaster on the community and the existing infrastructure can be potentially damaging.

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A typical example is an earthquake that occurred in Turkey in 1999 besides other devastating earthquakes that have had significant damaging effects on the lives of the people. A parallel can be drawn from the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Mainly because of Turkey’s tectonic structure, the land is vulnerable to natural disasters which have occurred with potentially destructive effects. The occurrence of a disaster in the form of an earthquake caused tens of thousands of residential buildings to collapse leading to the loss of 1800 lives. The problem was compounded by a lack of coordination or poor coordination efforts in response to the disaster. Aimin (2010, p.3) argues that the lack of a crisis management plan by the ministry of interior has the potential to adversely affect the United Arab Emirates in the vent of a disaster compelling for disaster preparedness in the case of a hazard (Aritua et al. 2009, p.30).

Lack of experience and dispersed resources for addressing nuclear emergencies, poorly coordinated and collaborative work and weak capacity to dynamically respond to a crisis underpins the need for a disaster management program for the United Arab Emirates. Aimin (2010, p.3) and Aritua et al. (2009, p.5), Hallgren & Wilson (2008, p.4), and Orr & Scott’s (2008, p.4) have argued from the perspective of construction project management both in theory and practice, with Thomas and Fernandez’s (2008, p.5) study contributing to the study from the perspective of the success of crisis management of complex projects.

Soderholm (2008, p.4) argues that pre-crisis prevention and post risk reduction and management of vulnerabilities due to threats and emergencies is better than the treatment of emergencies likely to arise because of a nuclear accident. Soderholm (2008, p.4) agrees with VanDonk and Molloy (2008, p.5) that an emergency framework that integrates crisis prevention, preparedness, and crisis treatment based on a crisis management plan for disasters response and preparedness is critical in the event of a nuclear emergency. A structured framework for addressing such emergencies is the way to go for the United Arab Emirates. According to Zhong and Low (2009, p.5) and White and Fortune (2009, p.7), crisis communication and reliability analysis are key elements in crisis management. Foster and Kesselman (1998; 2001, p.6), and Du et al. (2002, p.8) provide detailed literature on practical aspects of crisis management in the event of a disaster.

Crisis Response Mechanism and disaster Response

In the context of security crisis management, the event of a crisis following a disaster requires rapid mobilization of resources and putting policies in place to counteract the hazard (Unlu, Kapucu & Sahin 2010, p5). The United Arab Emirates has no legal framework for dealing with such events, reinforcing the need to put a framework in place by drawing on lessons from similar hazards that have occurred previously (Unlu, Kapucu & Sahin 2010, p.3; UNDP 2005, p.4; Kelman, Glantz & Paxton, R n.d).

In the context of the current study, the need to educate all stakeholders and the government of the United Arab Emirates to create an awareness program in crisis management is compelling (Zhong & Low 2009, p.4). Research by Zhong and Low (2009) and Unlu, Kapucu and Sahin (2010, p. 9) on crisis management shows that Government intervention and other necessary stakeholders’ agencies both in public and private sectors need to respond to a crisis or be prepared in advance in the event of a crisis. The Health and Safety Executive (1992, p.5) has confirmed in detailed research the need for a crisis management program and recommendations on the preparedness of government agencies to provide reliable countermeasures against the risk of a disaster, minimizing the occurrence of widespread destruction. Zhong and Low (2009, p.5) have shown in their studies that toward addressing an impending crisis in the event of a hazard, the ministry of the interior should have in place comprehensive contingency plans with disaster planning having the key components of preparedness, response, and recovery as being critical in the emergency plan. In addition, it has been recommended that creating an emergency committee in the ministry of interior is a critical approach that the country should put in place to address a disaster from disaster.

Zhong and Low (2009, p.3-5) have proposed awareness training programs through a good communication framework for creating and explaining policies as a contingency measure to address disaster preparedness. Typically, the need to use reliable and real-time communication systems to reach the public has been recommended as being a critical component of the crisis management program. In addition, Edelman, Krepinevich & Montgomery (2011, p.11) assert the need to communicate policy throughout the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Effective communication

According to Edelman, Krepinevich & Montgomery 2011, p.13) and Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency (2012, p.4), the core components of responding to a crisis are evident in many cases is reliable and transparent communication framework (Herman 1982, p. 2). The use of reliable and trusted communication leads to positive outcomes if the communication is sustained to transmit safety information to the public and within entrusted parties. The solution is to create trust with the public, an image of transparency, and competency through an independent authority. That decreases public anxiety because the people affected by the hazard have to be developed and confidence in the emergency response team has to be put in place (Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency 2012, p.4).

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Emergency Preparedness

In the context of the United Arab Emirates, the ministry of the interior should formulate an emergency response plan even without the occurrence of a disaster (Herman 1982, p. 12). Typically, a communication and coordination plan is critical when appropriately integrated into the overall emergency plan at the local, regional, and national level by the Ministry of the interior (Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency 2012, p.6). In addition, the occupier of the position of the ministry of the interior should take the responsibility of identifying threat categories of natural or artificial disasters (Coburn & Spence 1992, p.3). In that context, the likelihood of emergencies occurring because of natural or artificial disasters can be monitored and controlled. Information and preparation for disaster response are crucial for the training, exercise program, and drills for the public by the police department by the ministry of the interior (Unlu, Kapucu & Sahin 2010, p.5). It is crucial to train the police to provide consistent communication in the response to emergencies using clear and authentic languages after a disaster preparedness audience has been identified and created (Unlu, Kapucu & Sahin 2010 p.5).

Context of the Study

The potential threat from natural or artificial disasters and technological disasters such as earthquakes and the vulnerable Iranian nuclear reactors is a major threat and risk to the security of the United Arab Emirates. The study will focus on disaster preparedness especially on the role of the ministry of interior in coordinating the human resources especially the police in disaster preparedness and response based on case studies by other countries. The threats are all too evident because natural disasters have happened elsewhere in the world with catastrophic consequences such as the breakdown of law and order in society and other negative effects. Armitage and Nye (2012, p.5), Burby (1991, p.5), and UNDP (2005 p.5) provide lessons from which to learn besides the evidence that a clear threat from natural calamities is worth preparing for.. A natural or artificial disaster can be a major cause of damage to the physical infrastructure of the UAE leading to a crisis in the event of an earthquake, as happened when a Tsunami hit Japan (UNDP 2005, p.5). The UAE’s geographic location makes it prone to earthquakes making the need for disaster response and preparedness program a critical component (Edelman, Krepinevich & Montgomery 2011, p44; Zhong & Low 2009, p.4; (Maloney 2013, p3; Event of a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency 2012, p.2).

An analysis of the locations of the geological structure, previous natural or artificial disasters that have occurred in the UAE in the past presents high potential risks. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is within reach of a natural disaster that the nation has no control over or any artificial or technological disaster like the breaking down of the Iranian nuclear reactors making the UAE vulnerable to the adverse effects of any such a disaster. In addition, the potential consequences of a disaster included negative economic and environmental impact because of the destruction of critical infrastructure (Edelman, Krepinevich & Montgomery 2011, p. 44).

Research Methodology

The current study draws on both qualitative and quantitative techniques to inform the study (Armitage & Nye 2012, p.5). In context, a qualitative approach provides information based on desktop analysis of literature on risk and crisis management, disaster response, preparedness, and recovery from various databases, journals, and other primary sources. On the other hand, a quantitative method includes a thorough analysis of secondary sources of data on crisis management, a collection of data related to the occurrence of disasters using tools such as questionnaires, case studies of similar disasters, and the response programs that the countries have used and how well the coordination between different institutions responded. That is in addition to the best practices for risk management. In addition, the study draws on Turkey and India’s disaster response approaches that the countries used in managing earthquake-related crises (Armitage & Nye 2012, p.5). The questionnaires and the research focus on a detailed analysis of the literature on techniques to identify risks associated with natural hazards and methods for mitigating emergencies. In this case, a study of the hazard prevention and mitigation strategies and associated risk treatment will be conducted.

The security management system by Ministry of Interior

A command and control structure by the ministry of interior is a critical component for addressing potential threats from nuclear accidents that might result from the effects of natural disasters likely to be caused by earthquakes and technological disasters. The ministry is solely responsible for policing, reinforcing the rationale for integrating the disaster management program into the policing activities of the government. The entire system will include using the police by educating them to be able to respond to the emergency needs that arise from nuclear disasters.

Discussion and Conclusion

This study focuses on the need to formulate a security crisis management program for the United Arab Emirates by the ministry of the interior because of the threats and vulnerabilities caused by the natural or artificial disasters the UAE is exposed to with eventual consequences from the Iranian nuclear crisis. The emergencies include technological disasters such as the risk of the breakdown of any of the Iranian nuclear reactors, earthquakes, and pandemic emergencies underlie the need for the ministry of interior of the United Arab Emirates to organize resources and assign responsibilities to plan and respond to such disasters. The Turkish and Indian earthquakes provide lessons on the need for security crisis management that the UAE should learn from. That is because natural and artificial disasters can occur and bring about widespread disastrous effects such as the loss of lives, destruction of critical infrastructure, pandemic emergencies, and vandalism. The different case studies on disaster response by the Indian government and Turkey provide lessons that the ministry of the interior should learn from to formulate responses at strategic and tactical levels to mitigate the effects of the disasters.


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