The UAE hosted the first “Lessons Learned from Countering Improvised Explosives Devices, C-IED”, conference in Abu Dhabi, to discuss ways and share expertise to defeat the growing threat of these lethal booby-traps.
“The main purpose of this 2-day conference (27-28 March 2018) is to increase cooperation and exchange of information, experiences and lessons learned in order to counter the IED threat. This will be a great benefit for all of us as we will avoid mistakes and will not waste resources on developing equipment that has already proven of no avail,” Major General Saleh Mohammed Al Ameri, Commander of UAE Land Forces, said in his inaugural speech.
“The success of holding this conference with the participation of more than 25 states and organizations in this short period comes only in response to the urgent needs and requirements of our states and peoples, and the participation of the UN in this conference is a clear demonstration of its interest in fighting all forms and types of terrorism. It is of highest importance for us to convene together for the interest of our countries and for the innocents who always fall victims to the IEDs,” he added.
Held under the patronage of UAE Ministry of Defense, MoD, in cooperation with the Joint IED Defeat Organization, JIDO, USA, the first "Lessons Learned Countering Improvised Explosives Devices, C-IED, Conference inaugural day saw the participation of Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Lieutenant General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, and a number of senior Armed Forces officers, officials from the diplomatic corps, and foreign delegates.
The Commander of the UAE Land Forces said: “The Iranian Houthi Militia began extensively using various types of IEDs, especially when the Arab Coalition Forces launched the operation to liberate the Red Sea Coastal cities. These guerrillas have never used such new types of the IEDs before.”
“The increased use of the IEDs by militia exacerbates the suffering and agony among the Yemeni people. Based on our statistics, IEDs resulted in a heavy toll of 146 victims, including 30 children, and 164 civilian injuries of which 28 were children and 26 were women,” he added.
Major General Saleh Mohammed Al Ameri told the audience that “the UAE has been one of the leading states to fight terrorism regardless of its forms, in addition to its efforts of fighting terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Iranian Houthi militia. Our Armed Forces exerted substantial efforts in bringing stability back to the liberated Yemeni areas. In this connection, the UAE EOD team successfully neutralized 2610 IEDs in the costal front alone, saving the lives of countless innocent people.”
“Therefore, we have taken on the responsibility on our own shoulders and listed these threats as our top priority to preserve the civilian lives and ensure that relief operations are conducted smoothly. However, defeating this threat requires monitoring terrorists in their pursuit to develop IED techniques. While at the same time endeavoring to acquire knowledge, technical methods specialized training and appropriate TTP (tactics, techniques and procedures),” he added.
At the end of his speech, the Commander of the UAE Land Forces of the UAE said that as this threat is ever-changing and endless, “I suggest that one of the participant states volunteers to host the second conference next year.”
The conference sessions then followed with a working paper presented by Russell Faulkner, Advisor, Joint Expeditionary Team of JIDO, on lessons learned from the fight against IEDs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Quentin Ygorra, C-IED Operations Analyst, United Nations Mine Action Service, Somalia, presented a working paper on lessons learned from the fight against IEDs under United Nations supervision Phillip Quinlan, Operations Officer with United Nations, Mine Action Service, presented a working paper on civilian military cooperation against innovative IEDs under the auspices of the United Nations.