Print This Page
From: Intelligence Specialist - Arabian Peninsula Schenk

The United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates

Representative: Alex Berg

Historical Background: Islam traveled up the peninsula in 630AD. In the 16th century the Persian Gulf became an important hub for ports and was under the direct influence of the Ottoman Empire. In addition to having an important role for British goods traveling to and from India, the area relied heavily on the pearling industry. Decades of maritime disputes with the British eventually led to a 1892 Treaty recognizing the “Trucial States” and making the British their protectorate. The pearl industry began to go into extreme decline following WWI, leading to widespread economic hardship. British oil companies explored finding oil among the Emirates in the 1920s, however commercial level extraction was elusive until the 1970s. The UAE now has the 7th largest proven oil reserves. The revenues from these reserves were used in creating modern Dubai. In the late 1960s the British found themselves incapable and unwilling to protect the Trucial States and despite the their persuasions this position was made official in a 1971 Treaty relinquishing British protection and making the United Arab Emirates an independent state. The UAE joined the Arab League on 6 December 1971 and the United Nations on 9 December. They were the founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council in 1981. The UAE joined its allies following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. They currently have a close military and diplomatic relationship with the United States.

Political System: Federal sovereign absolute monarchy. A federal system of seven Emirates each having their own ruler, comprising a Federal Supreme Council. One of the rulers serves as the president of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is it’s capital. Economic System: Centrally-planned free-market capitalism

Economic Standing: 2nd largest economy in the Arab world with a GDP OF 348 billion US dollars (USD). Growth of 3.4% in 2017 and GDP per capital of 40,106 USD. Dubai currently serves as a massive world financial hub, having a GDP of 105 billion USD.

Military Strength:
64,000 active personnel
Reserve personnel: 0
540 military aircraft: 97 fighters, 103 attack, 175 transport, 166 trainers. 206 helicopter, 30 of them being attack
464 tanks
2,204 armored vehicles
54 rocket projectors
Extremely limited naval capabilities

Foreign Military Bases: None

Other Capabilities and Assets:
Close military allies with the US, Saudi Arabia and Arab League. Home to 3 western Foreign military bases. Member of OPEC. Oil pipeline across strait at the Persian Gulf and large oil reserves. Large migrant labor population capable of building vast amounts of infrastructure for very little cost.

Geographic Location and Features: The United Arab Emirates lies in the Middle East, bordering Saudi Arabia and Oman. Has a 404 mile coastline that is slightly south of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Sub-tropical arid with large areas of deserts that rely on underground or transported water sources.

Other Internal Characteristics: The UAE is one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban of Afghanistan as their legitimate government. The UAE spends more than any other country in the world to influence U.S. policy and shape domestic debate. Has been subject to territory disputes with Qatar, Iran, Oman and Saudi Arabia for decades.

Political Culture: A strict hereditary absolute monarchy heavily reliant on the tenants of Islam for the rule of law (Sharia Law). First ever elections were held in 2006 for the Federal National Council, an advisory body. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the countries current president.

Internal Strengths: Strong diplomatic, economic and military ties to powers and superpowers, including the US, China and Russia. A member of the Arab League, OPEC and recognized by the UN since 1971. Large oil reserves ensure revenues for government operations. Significant growth in military capabilities over the past decade. Important geographic location for the transportation of goods including oil and gas.

Internal Weaknesses: Longstanding territory disputes with regional neighbors. Dependence on oil and general lack of resources and fresh water. Having a hereditary monarchy and strict Sharia punishments gives less integrity of leadership generally in the eyes of western democracies.

Internal Objectives and Capabilities: To further diversity their economy to be far less reliant on oil. Resolve border disputes that may jeopardize neighboring alliances. Maintain the strict observance of Islam and Sharia Law. Continue and optimize diplomatic and economic standing with allies, especially the US. Further and significantly build up their military capabilities. See an end to the rebellion in Yemen with a pro-Arab League government. Preventing social turmoil which was seen in neighboring countries during the 2009 Arab Spring. Seeing Iran’s regime weakened or replaced. Further construction of oil lines which would avoid an Iranian blockage of the strait.

External Orientation

Key Institutional Membership: OPEC, Arab League, UN General Body and a Military defense Agreement with the US.

Policy Promotion: Maintaining and increasing energy exports to Western Europe. Increasing international standing and attracting international investment particularly from China, UK and US. Influencing American politics with very significant financial contributions, with particular interest in negatively casting public opinion on Iranian leadership. Showing regional powers the increased investment in military capability. Continuing cooperation between Arab League States. Assisting the Saudi government to provide stability in Yemen with friendly leadership.

Policy Detraction: International condemnation of human rights abuses from Sharia judicial sentences to migrant workers treatment. Iran’s extension into regional conflicts and invigorated attempts to influence. A rise in renewable energy and cultures resisting fossil fuels especially among western states.

Allies: Arab League, US, China, Australia, Japan, Britain, Germany, Russia, Israel, Albania, France, Greece, Kosovo, Ireland, Denmark and Tuvalu.

Adversaries: Iran, Qatar (although an Arab League member) and Houthi fighters in Yemen.

Capabilities: Oil reserves and related revenues. Growing military strength with growing air fleet. Bordering close and powerful allies. Strong relationship with global powers and superpowers. Rapid growth in financial sector and business infrastructure.

Obstacles: Consistent regional instability and military activation. Iran’s superior resources and capabilities. Working in unison with the Arab League in decision-making. Reliance on fossil fuel production in a increasingly renewable world.

Leave a Reply