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United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a state to the east of Saudi Arabia. The country is another resource-rich Gulf Arab monarchy with massive amount of wealth but a human rights shithole at the same time. UAE consists of seven emirates, but Dubai and its capital discount Dubai Abu Dhabi are mostly all that's relevant. Dubai is a symbol of authoritarian regimes thriving on the neoliberal world system and globalization, much like Singapore.[1] Barely 20 years ago Dubai was a middle of nowhere, and now it houses the tallest building in the world. The UAE is Saudi Arabia's bitch,[2] and Qatar is its arch nemesis.

"The Notorious U.A.E."[3] is known for having no concept whatsoever of human rights and humanism. It actively conducts modern-day slavery and human trafficking, by importing helpless workers from South and Southeast Asia, and its poor Arab neighbors. Of a population around 9 million, 58% is from South Asia and around 16% is from other parts of Asia, leaving only around 16% of native Emiratis who live off cheap labor of the migrant workers.[4] Migrants have no rights of collective action to demand better working conditions.[5] If workers cause trouble, they will be easily deported and human traffickers from each of the sending countries will prepare the replacement out of the endless pool of low skilled workers. There's also notorious child slavery, conducted by trafficking young boys from impoverished neighbors and forcing them to work as camel jockeys.[6][7] The UAE also has strict censorship of the media, and human rights activism will land you in jail or detention centers in no time. Activist Iyad El-BaghdadiWikipedia was deported for tweeting.[8]

Wahhabism is prominent in the UAE,[9] and the country has legislation based on strict interpretations of Sharia. It implements the hududWikipedia penal code which enables corporal punishments such as flogging and stoning. Homosexuals and apostasy are punishable by the death penalty, and adultery (if found out) is considered a grave sin which is applicable for non-Muslims as well. Many Western migrants are convicted for being raped.

The UAE, unlike its big boss Saudi Arabia or rival Qatar, is known for attracting the fanfare of neocons and neoliberals alike, because of in spite of the aforementioned human rights violations. Westerners are especially attracted to Dubai, and the city is among the top 10 most visited cities on earth.[10] This is most likely due to their cunning PR strategy in full effect, and not supporting overseas Jihadism led to much less negative coverage among the Western media, which is obsessed with terrorism. Ayaan Hirsi Ali seems to think of the UAE as a role model for Muslim countries in the region, which is just appalling.[11]


Dubai, an emirate/city in the UAE, has lots of money and so has tried to bootstrap itself from medieval theocracy to respected first-world-quality world citizen. This has been less than convincing in many cases.[12]

Dubai has the highest per-capita income in the world, if you don't count all the poor people shipped in to do the actual work, and is currently home to the tallest building in the world.[13]

Dubai is now the new Iceland.[14] When will states finally learn to stop acting like hedge funds (or in Dubai's case, more like private equity)?

Royal family[edit]

Dubai's ruler since 2006 is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE. He is something of a playboy, with a vast number of racehorses and a fondness for hanging out with Queen Elizabeth II of the UK at British racetracks, and is reportedly also an acclaimed poet.[15]

His family's treatment of women leaves something to be desired. His daughter Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum fled the country in 2018, first to Oman and then via yacht towards Goa, but she was captured by armed men off the coast of India and apparently returned to Dubai.[16] One of Sheikh Mohammed's wives, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein (sister of the King of Jordan), also fled from his loving embrace, hiding in London in 2019 claiming to be afraid for her life; the Sheikh responded with a poem and litigation, while reportedly seizing her racehorses.[17][18]

He has a number of palaces in the UK, where he does not operate entirely above the law: a 2011 employment tribunal revealed claims of racism towards black staff, bullying, and spying on guests.[19]

External links[edit]


  1. Dubai, Singapore, and the Future of Neoliberalism. Geopolitcs Made Super. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  2. Beyond Fraternity: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dayan. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  3. As it was called on Air America back in the day
  4. "Labor Migration in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and Responses". Migration Policy Institute. 18 September 2013.
  5. "United Arab Emirates". International Trade Union Confederation. 
  6. "Kidnapped children sold into slavery as camel racers". 
  7. Child slavery provides camel jockeys in United Arab Emirates. Digital Journey. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  8. UAE's crackdown on democracy short-sighted. Middleeastmonitor.com.
  9. Izady, Mehrdad (2014) [1999]. "Demography of Religion in the Gulf". Mehrdad Izady. 
  10. Dubai is sixth most visited city on earth: Euromonitor. Gulf News. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  11. Ali, Ayaan Hirsi (4 December 2017). "Opinion – The Plot Behind Saudi Arabia’s Fight With Qatar". New York Times. 
  12. Detained In Dubai: Cat Le-Huy
  13. The Burj Khalifa
  14. Dubai: the new Iceland? (Eirikur Bergmann, Guardian, 2009-11-27)
  15. See the Wikipedia article on Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
  16. Family of Emirati princess release pictures to rebut 'false' abduction allegations, The Guardian, 24 Dec 2018
  17. Princess Haya: Dubai ruler's wife in UK 'in fear of her life', BBC, 2 July 2019
  18. Dubai's ruler battles wife in UK court after she fled emirate, The Guardian, 1 July 2019
  19. Sheikh's British palace staff worked in 'culture of fear', The Daily Telegraph, 25 Mar 2011