Useful Notes: United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (Arabic:
دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة Dawlat al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabiyyah al-Muttaḥidah) is a federation of seven emirates on the Arabian Gulf.
Formerly known as the Trucial States (up until 1971), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the 5th wealthiest per capita state in the world.
A country with twice as many men as women due to the influx of guest workers, it is a major oil producing state and acquiring further wealth all the time. It provided troops to the UN coalition in the 1991 Gulf War. A lot of economic migrants go there.
Not a democracy, although slight moves to that system have been made. It is close to the US and bought F-16s from them in 1999, and many ships of the United States Fifth Fleet are based in the UAE.
Camel racing is popular and the place is attracting motorsport too. Tourism brings in big money. This has resulted in a bit of a culture clash between the covered-up, teetotal locals and the scantily-clad, beer-drinking tourists. Homosexuality and adultery are against the law.
Like the other Gulf emirates, citizens experience a highly luxurious life. This includes a very cushy welfare state, free healthcare, and free education up to the Doctorate level. Even the large welfare states of northern Europe seem threadbare and stingy in comparison to that provided in the UAE. Not so great is the fact that all this luxury is mostly built on the backs of the country's vast population of non-citizen guest workers, most of whom are criminally underpaid and emphatically not
supported by the welfare state. The country has a population of 8.3 million. 87% of this population consists of guest workers.
- Abu Dhabi — The largest and most populous of the seven, constituting about 87% of the land area and over 25% of the national population. Its eponymous capital is the second most-populous city in the UAE as well as its capital.
- Ajman — The smallest emirate in size and a primarily agricultural area, with 95% of its population living on the eponymous capital.
- Dubai — The largest city in the UAE, and home to the world's tallest skyscraper, as well as the financial center in the region.
- Fujairah — The very last of the seven emirates to go under British protection in 1902 and the only emirate to face the Gulf of Oman. It is also home to Al Badiyah Mosque, the oldest in the country.
- Ras al-Khaimah — Home to some of the oldest archaeological sites in the UAE, some dating back 5,000 years.
- Sharjah — Has many universities that attract students from around the UAE and the region, mostly located in the appropriately-named "University City" complex on the border with Dubai.
- Umm al-Quwain — The least populous of the seven emirates.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are well-enough known in the UK that people referring to them without country descriptor.
The UAE and its residents in fiction
Abu Dhabi was popularized in the comic strip Garfield
and the subsequent television show being the place where Garfield was always trying to mail Nermal. One episode featured a musical number about the city.
Abu Dhabi, it's far away
Abu Dhabi, that's where you'll stay
Abu Dhabi, the place to be
For any kitten who's annoying me, yeah!
Jim Davis dicusses the reason for his choice in this article.
The second Sex and the City
movie is partly set in Abu Dhabi, but filmed in Morocco, as the government didn't like the script.
In Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
, Ethan's team has to infiltrate the Burj Khalifa to intercept the Big Bad
's plan and capture the assassin providing him the launch codes to Russia's nuclear subs.
The Emirati flag
The flag uses the very familiar Pan-Arab colors, arranged as green, white and black horizontal stripes with a red vertical stripe on the hoist; all colors symbolize Arab unity.