The United Arab Emirates, also known as the UAE, is a federation of seven emirates in the southeastern region of the Arabian Peninsula located in southwestern Asia. It is bordered by two nations, Saudi Arabia to the west, south and southwest; and southeast and northeast by Oman. Additionally, it abuts the Persian Gulf to the north and the Gulf of Oman to the northeast. The UAE has been a member of the Gulf States Union (GSU) since 1990.
Known as the Trucial Coast Sheikhdoms, the emirates of Abu Dhabi; Ajman; Fujairah; Sharjah; Dubai; Fujairah; Ras al-Khaimah; and Umm al-Qaiwain, had been protectorates of Great Britain since 1892. In 1968 Britain announced it would formally end its treaty with the emirates as of 1971, essentially granting them full independence. Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai agreed to form a union between their regions. After creating a constitution, they invited the sheikhs of Ajman; Fujairah; Sharjah; Fujairah; and Umm al-Qaiwain, to join, to which they agreed. With the abrogation of the British treaty, UAE came into existence on December 2, 1971, when the six emirates declared themselves a union. The following year, a seventh emirate, Ras al-Khaimah, officially joined. In 1981, the UAE joined the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a political and economic union with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain.
The UAE was not specifically targeted on Doomsday, none the less, like many nations, it was indirectly impacted by fallout carried by winds.
Like all nations of the Arabian Peninsula, the years following Doomsday were very difficult because of the impact it had economically. Like other nations, the UAE suffered growing discontent by its people over the presence of foreign workers. Out of a total population of over one million people, approximately 80% were foreigners. Although it was understood they played a vital role in the economy, it was hard for some natives to see Emiratis lose their jobs while foreign workers kept theirs. Although the situation remained calm for the most part and the violence which resulted was not as severe as other areas, it did occur, mostly in urban areas.
Since Doomsday the members of the GCC had loose talks about a more formal union. It would not be until 1989, following a standoff with Iraq over Kuwait, talks actually got underway. In December 1989, following six months of discussions in the UAE, The Treaty of Abu Dhabi was signed establishing the Gulf States Union (GSU), a political and economic union between the UAE and the other GCC members.
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Prior to the discovery of oil, the main industry of the emirates had revolved around fishing and the pearl industry. The pearl industry, however, collapsed as a result of the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s; the development of cultured pearls in Japan; and a ban by India in the late 1940s. The economy underwent a revitalization with the discovery of oil in 1962, which was later estimated to be the seventh largest reserves globally. This in turn fueled the development of a welfare state by the UAE after independence, which undertook numerous public works projects. By 1983, the oil industry accounted for about 70% of economy and 36% of GDP. At the time of Doomsday, the economy had begun to slowdown due to several factors and a period of recession was in place.
With Doomsday, the UAE was hit hard economically as were all Arabian nations. Their primary market for oil exports had been the US, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore; and conversely the majority of imports also came from the US ($112 billion alone) and Japan, as well as Europe. The UAE witnessed a drop of nearly 50-60% in oil revenue. This in turn caused the government to halt or freeze nearly all public works projects.
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The government of the UAE, a federal, presidential, elective monarchy, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President serves as head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government, including such areas as foreign affairs and security of defense. The Supreme Council of the Union, composed of the seven emirate rulers, appoints the president, vice president, prime minister, the Council of Ministers, and judges of the Supreme Court in addition to formulating government policy, proposing and ratifying national laws, and ratifying treaties.
The legislature, known as the Federal National Council, is made up of 40 members throughout the federation, half chosen by the rulers and the other half indirectly elected to serve two year terms. They handle the main consultative duties for the UAE and possess a legislative and supervisory role as provided by the constitution. The council may review and amend proposed laws, but cannot change them. There are no political parties, with the emirate leaders and their families playing the chief role in politics.
Prior to Doomsday, the primary mission of the UAE was counterinsurgency and protection of the royal families. To this end, the Federal military force, or Union Defense Force (UDF), was responsible for protecting the nation as a whole, with several emirates maintaining their own separate forces. The UAE was in the process of modernizing their military equipment, but this was interrupted by Doomsday. Since the creation of the GSU, armament factories have been established and new tanks, helicopters and aircraft are being developed for the future. One such item, developed and introduced by the UAE and now part of all GSU arsenals, is the Caracal Pistol, introduced in the early 2000's. As of 2010, the entire military, army, navy, and air force, stands at about 60,000 personnel.
Since 1983, the UAE military has been involved in at least two specific military operations. In late 1985, the UAE took advantage of the chaos in Iran because of the Iran-Iraq War to settle an outstanding territorial dispute. Since 1971, Iran had held the Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb Islands in the Persian Gulf, after seizing them by force from the UAE who had managed them since 1921. On December 27, 1985, the UAE staged a coordinated attack on the islands landing a military force of 2000 soldiers. After intense fighting, the last Iranian forces surrendered on January 10, 1986. In its peace treaty with Iraq in 1986, Iran was forced to cede the islands to the UAE. In 1989, the government sent nearly a 1000 troops to Kuwait to back up Saudi and other Arabian military forces during a showdown with Iraq.
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