ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates on Saturday issued a list of 83 militant groups which it classified as “militant organisations,” including five from Pakistan.
The list, approved by the Gulf state’s cabinet and published on the official WAM news agency, is similar to an announcement made by Saudi Arabia in March.
It blacklists several arms of al Qaeda, Islamic State (IS), as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and Yemen’s Huthi militia.
From Pakistan, it has blacklisted the Pakistani Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba Pakistan, the East Turkestan movement in Pakistan, Muhammad’s Army in Pakistan and Muhammad’s Army in Pakistan and India.
The UAE has jailed dozens of Emiratis and Egyptians for forming cells of the Brotherhood, outlawed in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which accuses the movement of seeking to overthrow the Gulf monarchies.
On Saturday, the UAE named the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars which is headed by the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi on its terror list.
From inside the Gulf state itself, the list names Al-Islah (reform) Society, dozens of whose members have been jailed, and the previously unknown “UAE jihad cells.”
Hezbollah in the Gulf states and brigades with the same name in Iraq also figure on the list, but not Lebanon’s powerful Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.
Several brigades fighting on both sides in the Syrian conflict along with militant groups in Libya, Tunisia, Mali, Nigeria’s Boko Haram as well as Afghanistan’s Taliban account for the bulk of the list.
Fifteen militants accused of joining and financing Al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al Qaeda franchise, and Ahrar al-Sham, another Syrian rebel group, went on trial in the UAE in September.
The UAE has been taking part in US-led air strikes against the IS group in Syria, along with fellow Arab states Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The Emirati list also includes the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, as well as Muslim associations in Britain and other European countries.
Oddly, the list also includes the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation in the US.
The oil-rich Arab monarchies of the Gulf have not faced the widespread protests which have swept other regional states since 2011. Though, authorities have cracked down on dissent and calls for democratic reform, drawing criticism from human rights groups.
Those mainly targeted have been militants.
In August, the UAE toughened anti-militant laws in a bid to stamp out terror financing, hostage-taking, human trafficking and money laundering.