United Arab Emirates

Bordering the Gulf on the northern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the seven states of the UAE are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaywayn, Ras al Khaymah, and Fujayrah.


Geography:

Mostly flat, semiarid desert with dunes, salt pans, and occasional oases. 

Cities are watered by extensive irrigation systems.

Climate:

Summers are humid, despite minimal rainfall. 

Sand-laden shamal winds blow in winter and spring.

People & Society:

Emirians, who make up just a quarter of the population, are mostly Sunni Muslims of Bedouin descent, and largely city dwellers. In theory, women enjoy equal rights with men. 

Poverty is rare and there is no income tax. 

The 1970s oil boom encouraged the immigration of workers, mostly from Asia. 

Western expatriates are permitted a virtually unrestricted lifestyle. 

Islamism, however, is a growing force among the young.

Economy:

Major oil and natural gas exporter; plentiful reserves.

Financial center.

Water is scarce. 

Imports most food. 

Some emirates are less developed. 

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