Oman: A Gulf State, A Nation Of Peace And Prosperity For Their People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Oman

Introduction The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman’s dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman’s moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries.
History From the 6th century B.C. to arrival of Islam in the 7th century A.D., Oman was controlled and/or influenced by three Iranian dynasties of Achaemenid, Parthians, and Sassanids [2]. Achaemenid (6th-4th century B.C.) controlled and/or influenced over the Oman peninsula. This was most likely exerted from a coastal center such as Sohar [2]. By about 250 B.C., Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman. Because they needed to control the Persian Gulf trade route, the Parthians established garrisons in Oman. In the third century A.D., the Sasanids succeeded the Parthians and held area until the rise of Islam four centuries later [3].

On the advent of Islam, the faith reached Oman within Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime. The conversion of Omanis is usually ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who visited the region between 627-32.[4] By the middle of the eighth century AD, Omanis were practicing a unique sect of the faith, Ibadhism, which remains a majority sect only in Oman. Ibadhism has been characterized as “moderate conservatism,” with tenets that are a mixture of both austerity and peace.

The Portuguese occupied Muscat for a 140-year period (1508–1648), arriving a decade after Vasco da Gama discovered the seaway to India. In need of an outpost to protect their sea lanes, the Europeans built up and fortified the city, where remnants of their colonial architectural style still remain.

Revolting tribes drove out the Portuguese, but were pushed out themselves about a century later (1741) by the leader of a Yemeni tribe leading a massive army from varying other tribes, who began the current line of ruling sultans. A brief Persian invasion a few years later was the final time Oman would be ruled by a foreign power. Oman has been self governing ever since.

The British slowly brought about a collapse of Muscat and Oman’s “empire” by the end of the nineteenth century without use of force. Through gradual encroachment on its overseas holdings economically and politically, they caused Oman to retreat to its homeland. In time Britain held such sway in Muscat and Oman itself that it became in effect, and later in fact, a British protectorate.

Having control of the country’s military, the British helped subdue rebel tribesmen in the 1950s, driving most into Yemen. But the sultan ran a repressive regime, with laws forbidding numerous activities, including the building and even repair of his subjects’ own homes without permission. In 1970, almost certainly with British backing, he was overthrown by his son, the present ruler, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, and the country declared independence the following year as the Sultanate of Oman.

Qaboos is generally regarded as a benevolent absolute ruler, who has improved the country economically and socially. Oman has maintained peaceful ties on the Arabian Peninsula ever since ending another tribal rebellion in the southwest in 1982 by forging a treaty with Yemen. Oman’s oil revenue has been consistently invested in the national infrastructure, particularly roads, schools, hospitals, and utilities. More than ever, the country is poised to take advantage of its strategic trade location on the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to further its economic growth and role in the world.

Except for those who travel to remote Middle East locales, the country has seldom been in the public eye other than for the use of its military bases by U.S. forces in recent years. American and British bombing raids were launched in 1991 from Oman against Iraq in the Gulf War. A decade later, U.S. forces stationed there were involved in raids against Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden.

Geography Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE
Geographic coordinates: 21 00 N, 57 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 212,460 sq km
land: 212,460 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundaries: total: 1,374 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, UAE 410 km, Yemen 288 km
Coastline: 2,092 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
Terrain: central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m
highest point: Jabal Shams 2,980 m
Natural resources: petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
Land use: arable land: 0.12%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 99.74% (2005)
Irrigated land: 720 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 1.36 cu km/yr (7%/2%/90%)
per capita: 529 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in interior; periodic droughts
Environment – current issues: rising soil salinity; beach pollution from oil spills; limited natural fresh water resources
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Politics Chief of state and government is the hereditary sultān, Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said who appoints a cabinet called the “Diwans” to assist him. In the early 1990s, the sultan instituted an elected advisory council, the Majlis ash-Shura, though few Omanis were eligible to vote. Universal suffrage for those over 21 was instituted on 4 October 2003. Over 190,000 people (74% of those registered) voted to elect the 84[5] seats. Two women were elected to seats. The country today has three women ministers. H.E. Dr. Rawiyah bint Saud al Busaidiyah – Minister of Higher Education, H.E. Dr. Sharifa bint Khalfan al Yahya’eyah – Minister of Social Development and H.E. Dr. Rajiha bint Abdulamir bin Ali – Minister of Tourism.

The sultan functions as an absolute ruler.

People Population: 3,311,640
note: includes 577,293 non-nationals (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.7% (male 721,796/female 692,699)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 1,053,040/female 752,962)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 51,290/female 39,853) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 18.9 years
male: 21.3 years
female: 16.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.19% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 35.26 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 3.68 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.4 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.29 male(s)/female
total population: 1.23 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 17.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.91 years
male: 71.64 years
female: 76.29 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.62 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 1,300 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Omani(s)
adjective: Omani
Ethnic groups: Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African
Religions: Ibadhi Muslim 75%, other (includes Sunni Muslim, Shi’a Muslim, Hindu) 25%
Languages: Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Literacy: definition: NA
total population: 81.4%
male: 86.8%
female: 73.5% (2003 est.)

Railway Linking Israel To Saudi Arabia In The Near Future?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL NEWSPAPER)

 

Israel to begin promoting railway linking Haifa seaport with Saudi Arabia

Transportation minister says he has begun consulting with leaders of relevant countries regarding plan that would give Gulf easier access to Europe

Government officials taking part in a test ride on a new train route near the northern city of Carmiel on March 21, 2017 (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Government officials taking part in a test ride on a new train route near the northern city of Carmiel on March 21, 2017 (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Israel Katz agreed this week to begin promoting their “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative that is intended to create a trade route connecting Europe with the Persian Gulf and Israel, Hadashot news reported Saturday evening.

“Tracks for Regional Peace” is based on the planned extension of railway tracks in northern Israel, which would link Haifa’s seaport to Jordan’s rail network, which in turn will be linked with that of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states.

The network is envisioned as creating a regional transportation system to enhance trade relations and promote peaceful coexistence.

Introduced in a new PR video from Netanyahu and Katz’s offices, the initiative will see the eastward extension of the Haifa-Beit She’an rail line to the Jordanian border and will also include a stop in Jenin, connecting the Palestinians to the broader plan.

Goods would be shipped from Europe to Haifa, allowing them to bypass civil war-torn Syria.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz in front of a map of the proposed rail network on April 5, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

“There are two central components at the heart of this initiative,” Katz explained when discussing the plan back in April. “Israel as a land bridge between Europe and the Mediterranean and Jordan; and Jordan as a regional transportation hub, which will be connected to a railroad system to Israel and the Mediterranean in the West; to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iraq in the East and southeast; and to the Red Sea, through Aqaba and Eilat, in the south.”

“Beyond its contribution to Israel’s economy, the Jordanian and the Palestinian economies, the initiative will connect Israel economically and politically to the region and will consolidate the pragmatic camp in the region,” he claimed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, during the former’s surprise visit to Amman on January 16, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Palace)

The existing transportation infrastructure in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf will allow for the application of the initiative in a relatively short amount of time, the PR video said.

The initiative is said to also offer shorter, cheaper, and safer trade routes in light of regional instability threatening passageways through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern end of the Red Sea.

In a meeting this week, Katz and Netanyahu reached an agreement regarding the details of the initiative, with the latter instructing his office to begin advancing the plan in consultations with the US, European Union, and various countries in the Middle East and Asia.

Israel is expecting the US to play an important role in providing political backing for the plan.

Responding to a Times of Israel query on behalf of Greenblatt in April, a White House official said the proposal was “interesting,” but said the US does not yet have an informed position on it.

While Katz has said that he has spoken with the leaders of the relevant countries regarding the initiative, there is no indication that any of them have agreed to its application.

The transportation minister, who opposes Palestinian statehood, has argued that connecting Israelis and Palestinians with the Sunni Arab world would dramatically increase trade and lay the groundwork for a future regional peace.

READ MORE:

HOW DOES ISRAEL’S MILITARY COMPARE TO IRAN?

(THIS ARTICLE SI COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

HOW DOES ISRAEL’S MILITARY COMPARE TO IRAN?

Relations between Israel and Iran are at breaking point. The multinational nuclear deal signed with Iran is on the verge of collapsing—partly thanks to Israeli lobbying against it. Iranian leaders have warned that if it fails, the country will resume its uranium enrichment program, a step Israel considers a threat to its very existence.

Meanwhile, multiple Israeli strikes have sought to dislodge Iranian forces from Syria, where Tehran enjoys increasing influence. Israeli leaders are fighting hard to stop Iranian soldiers deploying along its northern border.

Though it would appear that neither nation wants a full-scale war, the potential for miscalculation and escalation remains. Both nations have considerable military clout, and any prolonged confrontation between them would be bloody.

RTS1IFO9Israeli forces are seen near a border fence between the Israeli-occupied side of the Golan Heights and Syria, on November 4, 2017. Israel is wary of Iran’s growing influence across its northern border.REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD

Iran is a much larger country with a far higher population than Israel, but numbers alone do not dictate military capability—combat technology and experience are vital factors too. Technological capability is even more important in an era where technology is changing the way war is waged, allowing nations to hit each other harder, from further away and with less human involvement.

A small nation with a population of just 8.5 million, Israel’s military punches significantly above its weight. Formed amid a war with seven Arab neighbors, the country’s short history is punctuated with conflicts fought for its survival. This tough history combines with a burgeoning technology sphere and close relations with powerful western nations to create one of the world’s most formidable fighting forces.

According to Global Firepower, Israel has approximately 170,000 active personnel with a further 445,000 in reserve. Conscription exists for all non-Arab citizens of Israel over the age of 18, giving the country a large and well-trained pool of fighters to call up in the event of war.

Though less sophisticated than Israel, the Iranian military is a force to be reckoned with. Its large population—around 82 million—enables Tehran to maintain a standing force of around 534,000 soldiers, with a further 400,000 in reserve, making it the largest force in the Middle East.

In a drawn-out engagement, national manpower becomes an important issue. Iranian available manpower is around 47 million compared with just 3 million for Israel. Of course, how important this is will depend on the nature of any war being fought.

RTXYQI5Members of Iranian armed forces march during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 18, 2013.REUTERS/HAMID FOROOTAN/ISNA/HANDOUT

In 2017, Israel spent $16.5 billion on its armed forces, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Iran was not far behind on $14.5 billion. Though this does not seem like a big gap, the fact that Israel is spending billions more than Iran on a smaller military indicates the gulf in the quality of equipment used.

Israel fields more tanks than Iran—2,760 compared to 1,650. Israel wins this matchup on quality as well as quantity, the latest version of its Merkava tank being one of the best and most heavily defended in the world. Iran is mostly using second-rate tanks, though it has announced the development of the new Karrar platform, which it claims will be able to compete with top-class opponents.

The Israeli air force is one of the best in the world, equipped and trained to the highest level. Its pilots are experienced too, having regularly conducted missions against targets in Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and even Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Its 250 or so fighters include a handful of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft, one of just four fifth-generation fighter planes in the world. Israel will eventually have 50 F-35s.

By contrast, Iran fields around 160 fighter jets, none of which are as advanced as the F-35. Furthermore, its pilots are less well-trained and experienced than their Israeli counterparts.

Neither nation is a significant maritime power. Iran has more than 30 submarines, five frigates, three corvettes and more than 200 patrol craft. Israel currently has five submarines, three corvettes, eight missile boats and 45 patrol boats. Considering the geography, the naval theater is unlikely to play any significant role in a potential conflict.

RTX2UPSIAn Israeli soldier sits inside a F-35 fighter jet after it landed at Nevatim air base in southern Israel on December 12, 2016.REUTERS/AMIR COHEN

In the event of an all-out war, Israel holds the nuclear trump card. Notoriously secretive about its nuclear arsenal, the country is believed to possess between 75 and 400 warheads. The weapons can be delivered using Israel’s Jericho ballistic missiles, submarine-launched cruise missiles or even fighter planes.

Iran has no nuclear capability. Even if talks break down, it will take many years before Tehran joins the nuclear club. Iran is working hard to improve its ballistic missile arsenal, already one of the most potent in the region and well-able to hit Israel.

But Iran has other tricks up its sleeves. Financial and military support for anti-Israeli militant groups across the Middle East give it an unconventional way to hit its rival in the event of conflict. The Shiite Lebanese Hezbollah group, especially, is a worry for Israeli leaders. Hezbollah has a well-trained and well-equipped military, far more powerful than the Lebanese army and able to operate freely.

Hezbollah’s experience fighting alongside regime forces in Syria has given it vital combat exposure. The group maintains a huge rocket arsenal, and its weapons can hit anywhere in Israel. Iran also provides support to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups in Gaza, which maintain smaller, but still significant, rocket capabilities.

United Arab Emirates: The Truth Knowledge And History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

United Arab Emirates

Introduction The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states – Abu Zaby, ‘Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn – merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra’s al Khaymah. The UAE’s per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region.
History The United Arab Emirates was originally formed from tribally-organized Arabian Peninsula sheikhdoms along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman. It had been part of Oman and was then called Oman’s Gulf. The UAE was established in 1971 when the emirates bonded together and became one united country. It has since evolved into a modern, high-income nation.

Portuguese

Portuguese expansion into the Indian Ocean in the early sixteenth century following Vasco da Gama’s route of exploration saw them battle the Ottomans up the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Portuguese controlled the area for 150 years in which they conquered the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. It is noteworthy to mention that Vasco da Gama was helped by Ibn Majid, an Arab from Julphar (now known as Ras Al Khaimah, one of the UAE emirates), to find the route of spices.

British and Ottomans

Then, portions of the nation came under the direct influence of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. Thereafter the region was known to the British as the “Pirate Coast”, as raiders based there harassed the shipping industry despite both European and Arab navies patrolling the area from the 17th century into the 19th century. British expeditions to protect the Indian trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbours along the coast in 1819. The next year, a peace treaty was signed to which all the sheikhs of the coast adhered. Raids continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea. In 1853, they signed a treaty with the United Kingdom, under which the sheikhs (the “Trucial Sheikhdoms”) agreed to a “perpetual maritime truce.” It was enforced by the United Kingdom, and disputes among sheikhs were referred to the British for settlement.
See also: British Residency of the Persian Gulf

Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, the United Kingdom and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar to treaties entered into by the UK with other Persian Gulf principalities. The sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the United Kingdom without its consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack.

In 1955, the United Kingdom sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter’s dispute with Oman over the Buraimi Oasis another territory to the south. A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia would have settled the Abu Dhabi-Saudi border dispute; however, the agreement has yet to be ratified by the UAE government and is not recognised by the Saudi government. The border with Oman also remains officially unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999.

Sheikh Zayed, oil and the Union

In the early 1960s, oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, an event that led to quick unification calls made by UAE sheikdoms. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and the British started losing their oil investments and contracts to U.S. oil companies.

The British had earlier started a development office that helped in some small developments in the Emirates. The sheikhs of the Emirates then decided to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. They formed the Trucial States Council, and appointed Adi Bitar, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s legal advisor, as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the Council. The Council was terminated once the United Arab Emirates was formed.

In 1968, the United Kingdom announced its decision, reaffirmed in March 1971, to end the treaty relationships with the seven Trucial Sheikhdoms which had been, together with Bahrain and Qatar, under British protection. The nine attempted to form a union of Arab Emirates, but by mid-1971 they were still unable to agree on terms of union, even though the British treaty relationship was to expire in December of that year.

Bahrain became independent in August and Qatar in September 1971. When the British-Trucial Shaikhdoms treaty expired on December 1, 1971, they became fully independent.

The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai decided to form a union between their two emirates independently, prepare a constitution, then call the rulers of the other five emirates to a meeting and offer them the opportunity to join. It was also agreed between the two that Adi Bitar write the constitution by December 2, 1971.

On that date, at the Dubai Guesthouse Palace, four other emirates agreed to enter into a union called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined later, in early 1972.

The UAE sent forces into Kuwait during the 1990–91 Persian Gulf War.

The UAE supports military operations from the United States and other Coalition nations that are engaged in the invasions of Iraq (2003) and Afghanistan (2001) as well as Operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism for the Horn of Africa at the Al Dhafra Air Base located outside of Abu Dhabi. The air base also supported Allied operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch.

On November 2, 2004, the UAE’s first president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the constitution, the UAE’s Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa as president. Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Geography Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 24 00 N, 54 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 83,600 sq km
land: 83,600 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries: total: 867 km
border countries: Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
Coastline: 1,318 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: desert; cooler in eastern mountains
Terrain: flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas
Land use: arable land: 0.77%
permanent crops: 2.27%
other: 96.96% (2005)
Irrigated land: 760 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 0.2 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.3 cu km/yr (23%/9%/68%)
per capita: 511 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: frequent sand and dust storms
Environment – current issues: lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography – note: strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Politics The UAE’s political and governmental structure is composed within a framework of a federal presidential elected monarchy and composed of a federation of the seven Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain.

The Presidency and Premiership of the United Arab Emirates is de facto hereditary to the Al Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Al Maktoum clan of Dubai. The President of the United Arab Emirates and the head of state is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, is the ruler of Dubai and the head of government. The political influences and financial obligations of the Emirates are reflected by respective positions in the Federal government. While each Emirate still retains autonomy over own territory, a percentage of its revenue is allocated to the UAE’s central budget.

The federal system includes the executive branch which consists of the President, Vice President, the Federal Supreme Council (comprised of the Emirates’ seven rulers), and a Cabinet, or Council of Ministers. The legislative branch consists of a parliamentary body, the Federal National Council. A constitutionally independent judiciary includes the Federal Supreme Court.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the union’s president from the nation’s founding until his death on November 2, 2004. The Federal Supreme Council elected his son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president the next day. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the heir apparent.

The Supreme Council elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed/elected forty-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws. The UAE’s parliamentary body represents the Emirates, and is half appointed by the rulers of the constituent states and the other half elected indirectly to serve two-year terms. The council carries out the country’s main consultative duties and has both a legislative and supervisory role provided by the Constitution.

There is a federal court system; all emirates except Ras al-Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have both secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts.

The UAE took its first steps towards indirect elections for the country’s parliament on National Day, December 2, 2005 upon the official announcement by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan which followed the formation of an Electoral College. A National Electoral Committee was created and the UAE’s first election occurred during mid-December 2006. The election and appointment of nine women (comprising 22.5 per cent of the Council) strongly signified advancement and political participation of women in the United Arab Emirates. The long-term objective is for the FNC to be wholly-elected.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization has prompted extensive diplomatic and commercial relations with other countries. It plays a significant role in OPEC, the UN and is one of the founding members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Regionally, the Emirates have long maintained close relations with Egypt and remain the highest investors in the country from among the rest of the Arab world. Pakistan has also been a major recipient of economic aid and relations have been extremely close since the founding of the federation. Pakistan had been first to formally recognize the UAE upon its formation and continues to be one of its major economic and trading partners with about 400,000 expatriates receiving employment in the UAE. India’s large expat community in the UAE also has for centuries evolved into current close political, economic and cultural ties. However, the largest demographic presence in the Emirates is Iranian. Like most countries in the region, the UAE and Iran dispute rights to a number of islands in the Persian Gulf but this has not significantly impacted relations due to the large Iranian community presence and strong economic ties.

Following the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait, the UAE has maintained extensive relations with its Western allies for security and cooperation towards increasing interoperability of its defense forces. France and the US have played the most strategically significant roles with defense cooperation agreements and military material provision. Most recently, these relations culminated in a joint nuclear deal for the US to supply the UAE with nuclear technology, expertise and fuel. Commercially, the UK and Germany are the UAE’s largest export markets and bi-lateral relations have long been close as a large number of their nationals reside in the UAE.

People Population: 4,621,399
note: estimate is based on the results of the 2005 census that included a significantly higher estimate of net inmigration of non-citizens than previous estimates (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.5% (male 484,102/female 462,405)
15-64 years: 78.6% (male 2,663,702/female 970,672)
65 years and over: 0.9% (male 26,244/female 14,274)
note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 30.1 years
male: 32 years
female: 24.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.833% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 16.06 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 2.13 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 24.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 2.74 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.84 male(s)/female
total population: 2.19 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.11 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.32 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.89 years
male: 73.35 years
female: 78.56 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.43 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.18% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Emirati(s)
adjective: Emirati
Ethnic groups: Emirati 19%, other Arab and Iranian 23%, South Asian 50%, other expatriates (includes Westerners and East Asians) 8% (1982)
note: less than 20% are UAE citizens (1982)
Religions: Muslim 96% (Shia 16%), other (includes Christian, Hindu) 4%
Languages: Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77.9%
male: 76.1%
female: 81.7% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2003)
Education expenditures: 1.3% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: United Arab Emirates
conventional short form: none
local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah
local short form: none
former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States
abbreviation: UAE
Government type: federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
Capital: name: Abu Dhabi
geographic coordinates: 24 28 N, 54 22 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 7 emirates (imarat, singular – imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), ‘Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra’s al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn (Quwayn)
Independence: 2 December 1971 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 2 December (1971)
Constitution: 2 December 1971; made permanent in 1996
Legal system: based on a dual system of Sharia and civil courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: none
Executive branch: chief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President and Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN RASHID Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister and Vice President MUHAMMAD bin Rashid Al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers SULTAN bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 20 November 1990) and HAMDAN bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan (since 20 October 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
note: there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the seven emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets four times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
elections: president and vice president elected by the FSC for five-year terms (no term limits) from among the seven FSC members; election last held 3 November 2004 upon the death of the UAE’s Founding Father and first President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (next to be held in 2009); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: KHALIFA bin Zayid Al-Nuhayyan elected president by a unanimous vote of the FSC; MUHAMMAD bin Rashid Al-Maktum unanimously affirmed vice president after the 2006 death of his brother Sheikh Maktum bin Rashid Al-Maktum
Legislative branch: unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; 20 members appointed by the rulers of the constituent states, 20 members elected to serve two-year terms)
elections: elections for one half of the FNC (the other half remains appointed) held in the UAE on 18-20 December 2006; the new electoral college – a body of 6,689 Emiratis (including 1,189 women) appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates – were the only eligible voters and candidates; 456 candidates including 65 women ran for 20 contested FNC seats; one female from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi won a seat and 8 women were among the 20 appointed members
note: reviews legislation but cannot change or veto
Judicial branch: Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders: none; political parties are not allowed
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Yousef bin Mani Saeed al-OTAIBA
chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
consulate(s): New York, Houston
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Richard G. OLSON, Jr.
embassy: Embassies District, Plot 38 Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi
mailing address: P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
telephone: [971] (2) 414-2200
FAX: [971] (2) 414-2603
consulate(s) general: Dubai
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side
Culture Once a part of Oman, the United Arab Emirates was formed on 2 December 1971. From this point in time, the United Arab Emirates has flourished in a wide range of fields, to be known today as an extremely large economic center in the world, and continues to expand at a rapid rate. While from the outside many may know the Emirates for Dubai and the extravagant resorts, in reality, the people of the Emirates is what is really shaping the country as a whole. The culture that has been cultivated in the area for many years is one that is unlike anything else, and continues to thrive and be an important part of everyday life. The people, from the high ranking international business men to the lower income workers all contribute to the countryʼs well being and individuality. The countryʼs direction can be contributed to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has been a main component in the economic stimulus and growth of the nation, and for the bettering of life for its people. His idea for his country has allowed for a new life for the people of his country, while still keeping the values of old, and setting the platform for a new culture and way of living that was once inconceivable for them to have, and aspects of life that they could have only once dreamed of .
Economy Economy – overview: The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US. The country’s Free Trade Zones – offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes – are helping to attract foreign investors. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, housing shortages, and cheap credit in 2005-07 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. The global financial crisis and the resulting tight international credit market and falling oil prices have already begun to deflate asset prices and will result in slower economic growth for 2009. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce are significant long-term challenges. The UAE’s strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $186.4 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $270 billion (2008 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 8.5% (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $40,400 (2008 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 61.8%
services: 36.6% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 3.266 million (2008 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 7%
industry: 15%
services: 78% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 2.4% (2001)
Population below poverty line: 19.5% (2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed): 20.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $83.15 billion
expenditures: $48.3 billion (2008 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 22.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14.4% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate: NA
Stock of money: $49.5 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $104.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $155.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $224.7 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
Industries: petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles
Electricity – production: 62.76 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 57.88 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 2.948 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 381,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 2.703 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil – imports: 232,300 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas – production: 48.79 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 43.11 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 6.848 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 1.343 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 6.071 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: $36.41 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $207.7 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports – commodities: crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates
Exports – partners: Japan 23.6%, South Korea 9.2%, Thailand 5%, India 4.8% (2007)
Imports: $141.1 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports – commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food
Imports – partners: China 12.8%, India 10%, US 8.7%, Japan 6.1%, Germany 5.9%, UK 5.3%, Italy 4.6% (2007)
Economic aid – donor: since its founding in 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has given about $5.2 billion in aid to 56 countries (2004)
Economic aid – recipient: $5.36 million (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $67.24 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt – external: $73.71 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $62.69 billion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $28.95 billion (2008 est.)
Currency (code): Emirati dirham (AED)
Currency code: AED
Exchange rates: Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar – 3.673 (2008 est.), 3.673 (2007), 3.673 (2006), 3.6725 (2005), 3.6725 (2004)
note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 1.385 million (2007)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 7.595 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile-cellular telephones; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai
domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber optic and coaxial cable
international: country code – 971; linked to the international submarine cable FLAG (Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe); landing point for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks; satellite earth stations – 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia
Radio broadcast stations: AM 13, FM 8, shortwave 2 (2004)
Radios: 820,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 15 (2004)
Televisions: 310,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ae
Internet hosts: 381,915 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 2.3 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 39 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 22
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 17
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 5 (2007)
Heliports: 5 (2007)
Pipelines: condensate 520 km; gas 2,908 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 2,950 km; oil/gas/water 5 km; refined products 156 km (2007)
Roadways: total: 4,080 km
paved: 4,080 km (includes 253 km of expressways) (2008)
Merchant marine: total: 58
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 9, chemical tanker 4, container 8, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 24, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 14 (Denmark 1, Greece 3, Kuwait 10)
registered in other countries: 313 (Bahamas 23, Bahrain 1, Belize 5, Cambodia 2, Comoros 7, Cyprus 9, Dominica 1, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 3, Hong Kong 1, India 6, Indonesia 2, Iran 1, Jordan 13, North Korea 8, Liberia 23, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 15, Mexico 1, Netherlands 5, Panama 109, Papua New Guinea 6, Philippines 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 18, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, Saudi Arabia 1, Sierra Leone 8, Singapore 12, Somalia 1, Turkey 1, UK 9, unknown 6) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Mina’ Zayid (Abu Dhabi), Al Fujayrah, Mina’ Jabal ‘Ali (Dubai), Mina’ Rashid (Dubai), Mina’ Saqr (Ra’s al Khaymah), Khawr Fakkan (Sharjah)
Military Military branches: United Arab Emirates Armed Forces: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force and Air Defense, National Coast Guard (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for officers and women; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 2,405,884 (includes non-nationals)
females age 16-49: 884,853 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 2,004,558
females age 16-49: 760,637 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 25,856
female: 23,085 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: boundary agreement was signed and ratified with Oman in 2003 for entire border, including Oman’s Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah enclaves, but contents of the agreement and detailed maps showing the alignment have not been published; Iran and UAE dispute Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island, which Iran occupies
Illicit drugs: the UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug-producing countries; the UAE’s position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving, but informal banking remains unregulated
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