Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Chapter 42: United Arab Emirates
Mervyn J. Morris Introduction The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is part of the geographic region known as the Middle East. With a land mass of 82 000 square kilometres, predominantly desert and mountains it is bordered by Oman, Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf.1 The UAE is strategically located due to its proximity to other oil rich Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The UAE was formed from a federation of seven emirates2 (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujuriah, and Um Al Quain) in December 1971 (Ras Al Khaimah did not join the federation until 1972) (Heard-bey, 2004: 370). Abu Dhabi is the political capital, and the richest emirate; while Dubai is the commercial centre. The majority of the population of the various Emirates live along the coast line as sources of fresh water often heavily influenced the site of different settlements. Unlike some near neighbours (Iran and Iraq) the UAE has not undergone any significant political instability since it was formed in 1971. Due to early British influences the UAE has had very strong political and economic ties with first Britain, and, more recently, the United States of America (Rugh, 2007). Until the economic production of oil in the early 1960s the separate Emirates had survived on a mixture of primary industry (dates), farming (goats and camels), pearling and subsidies from Britain (Davidson, 2005: 3; Hvidt, 2007: 565) Along with near neighbours Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE...
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