It's been six years since the UAE introduced mandatory military service for Emirati men ... and from the looks of it, not all ministers evade it.
This week, the country's Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar Sultan Al Olama, signed up for the mandatory military draft. In a tweet shared on Sunday, the minister said that he signed up to be drafted in the "13th cohort" and did so with "great honor and appreciation."
In doing so, he's become the first Emirati minister to join the national service, according to The National.
"Serving this nation and giving back to the country that has always aspired to provide the best for every Emirati is the greatest pride of my life," he added.
The minister accompanied the text with three photos in which he can be seen signing documents at a recruitment center, shaking hands with an officer, and donning the military uniform.
On Sunday, the 29-year-old joined tens of thousands of Emirati men aged 18 to 30 who must complete 16 months of training as per an amendment to the law in July 2018. Prior to the changes, men were required to serve nine months in the service.
Several members of the Emirati royal family have served in the military.
Among them is Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid, son of Dubai's Ruler Sheikh Mohammed, who publicly joined in November 2014 — the year national service became mandatory in the UAE.
Others include Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, and Sheikh Rashid bin Saud Al Mualla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain, to name a few.
National service became law in June 2014, making it mandatory for Emirati men aged 18 to 30 to sign up for military service. As per the law, women may sign up voluntarily as well.
Those who have not completed secondary education must serve two years.