United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (i; Arabic: دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة Dawlat al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah), sometimes simply called the Emirates or the UAE, is a country located at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing sea borders with Qatar and Iran. In 2013, the UAE’s total population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates.
Established in December 1971, the country is a federation of seven emirates. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch; together, they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates. Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and Arabic is the official language, although English is widely spoken and is the language of business and education, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The UAE’s oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world, while its natural gas reserves are the world’s seventeenth-largest. The late Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the first President of the UAE, oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenues into healthcare, education and infrastructure. The UAE’s economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, with its most populous city of Dubai emerging into a global city and international aviation hub. Nevertheless, the country remains extremely reliant on its export of petroleum and natural gas.
The UAE has been criticized for its human rights record, including the role of Sharia law in its legal system.The UAE’s rising international profile has led some analysts to identify it as a regional and middle power