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The UAE’s ‘Dogs of War’: Boosting a Small State’s Regional Power Projection

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Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
Accepted/In press21 Jun 2021


  • The UAE’s ‘Dogs of War_version IV

    The_UAE_s_Dogs_of_War_version_IV.docx, 54.8 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:21 Jun 2021

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


This article contextualizes the changing approach to the commercialization of military services in the Middle East within the wider literature on civil-security sector relations in the region. The literature contends that security sectors in the region, politicised by elites to prioritize regime security over public security or national defence, have deliberately sacrificed military effectiveness for regime security . The commercialization of security thereby has become an additional means for authoritarian leaders to augment insufficient in-house capacity and capability with surrogates-for-hire directly controlled by the regime.

This article, by contrast, shows that the of the United Arab Emirates case study suggests that commercial surrogates can become an integral part of an overall effort of military transformation, helping patrons to increase military capacity and capability on the battlefield. In so doing, the UAE’s surrogate warfare by mercenary is not only driven by attempts to enhance coup proofing or achieve plausible deniability, but also prompted by efforts to overcome capacity and capability shortages.

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