Hegemon in the Middle East: Iran’s Motivation to Keep Hacking UAE Cyberspace

The cross-border relations between Iran and UAE have long been disturbed. However, it was especially since the cyberwar began between the two that, homeland security became a raging concern. There have been a series of small scale attacks on the Middle Eastern cyberspace, but four of the latest consecutive hacks are what raised some significant questions.

Cyber security researchers have observed that despite experiencing U.S. dominance in some of its own regions, Iran tries to demonstrate its dominance in the Middle East by being a constant, uncontrolled threat in the region. This has turned out to be one of the biggest reasons behind the initiation of a cyberwar by Iran with UAE.

Varying Statistics

Iran remained the face of Islam in the entire Middle East region until the rise of al Qaeda and ISIS. Interestingly, despite being the face of Islam a much larger population in Iran practices Shia Islam while the rest of the Muslims globally practice Sunni Islam.

The contrast is considered significant because the root cause of all the persistent tension in the Middle East is, the enmity between the two sects — Shia and Sunni.

Iran Hacks UAE: What’s the Intent?

The United Arab Emirates is one of the Sunni Islamic nations aligned with the U.S. both militarily and economically, making it a clear target of the Iran cyberwar. Despite having served as the face of Islam once, Iran’s Shia Muslims are still a minority in the Middle East. Therefore, Iran aims at establishing itself across the Middle East as a dominant power, which provoked them to led a notorious and uncontrolled cyberwar against the UAE.

However, the challenge is to minimize the Western influence in some of Iran’s own regions as it is the only way that would help increase its influence on the neighboring nations.

If Iran continues to advance its attacking mechanism the way it has over these years, the day isn’t too far when it will gain full access control to the UAE and other Middle East dominants. Iran has already covered the gap it once shared with U.S. and Russia in terms of cyber intelligence and cyber capability. And since then, Iran has been a consistently persistent cross-border cyber enemy to most of the Middle East, especially the UAE. What once began as a subtle and unsophisticated malicious code, turned into a well-planned and executed cyberwar to gain hegemony in the Arab world.