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State

Capital

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi

Currency unit

UAE dirham

Connections

Arabs

Gulf

Empire

Islam

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

This is an area of Arabia which did not come under the control of the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. It is inhabited by Arabs (apart from the numerous foreigners who do the work).

In 1820 the British East India Company concluded a general treaty with the sheikhs and Emirs of the Gulf coast. The main purpose was for them to renounce piracy. In 1853 a further treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed. This was the Truce from which came the name the Trucial States or Trucial Oman. Following the 1892 Exclusive Agreement on foreign policy each state had a British Resident who represented the British Indian government and influenced the local ruler. This was the equivalent of declaring a Protectorate. Control was less defined than it would have been in actual Protectorates. Britain never claimed sovereignty. Bahrain and Qatar were included but these became independent separately. Kuwait had a similar agreement.

When the British withdrew from the Gulf in 1971 a Federation was set up with a weak Federal government. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most important states. Abu Dhabi has the bulk of the oil reserves but Dubai has had the money (until the end of 2009). The traditional Emirs continue to control the state governments and one of them is elected by the others as President.

There has been a dispute with Saudi Arabia over the borders which are not certainly demarcated. Both countries and Oman have claimed the Buraimi Oasis. The frontiers pass through almost empty desert which may cover oil fields. The main importance of the UAE to the world is that it is an important oil producer. There are also disputes with Iran over islands in the Gulf which could be used to control traffic. Iran seized some of the important ones in the time of the Shah.

The state of Dubai, controlled by the Maktoum family, is building a huge and opulent city on its territory with a large port, and hotel complex. It seems to be modelled on Las Vegas - though without the gambling.

However, this state has very little oil and has paid for the grandiose developments with borrowed money. In the later parts of 2009 it has become clear that the various companies building these complexes cannot service their debts. Will this damage still further the western banks that lent the money? Will Abu Dhabi bail out Dubai, and if so, at what price?

Languages

Arabic

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

Politics are a matter of the prestige of the traditional rulers. No elected institutions. The head of state and government is chosen by the rulers of the emirates. At present, and since independence, the President is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the largest and richest state. Sheikh Zayed is in his eighties and has ruled since 1966. He is likely to hand it on to his son, crown prince Sheikh Khalifa.

The federation itself is rather weak but this is masked by the wealth of the dominant ruler.

If Abu Dhabi bails out Dubai will it also control that state?

Interesting Reading

See Gulf page

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

Important Gulf oil producer, able to influence world market prices. The Sheikh of Abu Dhabi was an investor in the BCCI bank (though not responsible for its criminality). Since independence the income per head has risen from very low indeed to roughly US levels (except for immigrant workers), as a result of the oil industry.

Tourism also is growing - mainly from the extremely rich to the hotels and resort complexes of Dubai.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

The modern developments depend entirely on the continuing use of oil. The new city of Dubai has no indigenous sources of water or energy. It must be one of the world's largest emitters of carbon dioxide per head.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

Torture by the political police reported.

The situation of the immigrant workers, who do all the construction, is bad with low wages and poor employment protection.

Climate effects

Could the climate get even hotter and drier? UAE is significant mainly as a cause of climate change with its production and high consumption of oil, rather than as a sufferer.

There is just a chance that the southern areas may receive rain from an expanded monsoon, but this is speculation.

Last revised 29/11/09


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