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UAE bolsters regional intervention by establishing one of the Middle East's largest arms company

EDGE is the result of a huge merger of 25 state-owned and private companies. [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2019

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EDGE, inaugurated by Abu Dhabi's crown prince, is the result of a merger of 25 state-owned and private entities into a single giant defence company.
The UAE on Tuesday announced the creation of a new giant military conglomerate, merging 25 government-owned and private entities into a single defence company.

EDGE was inaugurated at a ceremony by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, with Faisal Al-Bannai selected as chief executive and managing director.

"Established with a core mandate to disrupt an antiquated military industry generally stifled by red tape, EDGE is set to bring products to market faster and at more cost-effective price points," Bannai said in a statement, according to The National.

"Technology is changing the rules of modern warfare to the extent that boots on the ground are not always necessary to fight and win," he added.

"Battles can now be fought in the digital space and through everyday means."

The newly formed defence giant will invest in artificial intelligence, together with research and development.

Read more: Is this Google-sanctioned Emirati company poaching Israeli intelligence officers?

The firm says that its core businesses will also include missiles and weapons, cyber defence, and electronic warfare.

An estimated 12,000 people will be employed by the mammoth new defence venture.

EDGE said that Bannai was hired due to his "proven track record in leveraging emerging technologies at home and abroad".

Bannai is the founder of UAE cybersecurity company DarkMatter. The controversial firm has been accused of hacking Arab activists, media professionals and thinkers.

In July, Firefox's browser maker Mozilla blocked websites certified by DarkMatter, saying they found "credible evidence" that the company had been involved in hacking operations.

A month later in August, Google blocked websites certified by DarkMatter from its Chrome and Android browsers without giving a reason.

The company has also been accused of recruiting CIA and US government officials to ride on their top-level intelligence expertise.

Last month, a report by The New York Times said that more than 8,200 former Israeli army personnel had left the intelligence company NSO to join DarkMatter.


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