9 May 2012
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for US Policy
The UAE’s relatively open borders, economy, and society have won praise from advocates of expanded freedoms in the Middle East while producing financial excesses, social ills such as prostitution and human trafficking, and relatively lax controls on sensitive technologies acquired from the West. The UAE government is authoritarian, although it allows substantial informal citizen participation and consensus-building. The openness of its society and its economic wealth have allowed the UAE to largely, although not entirely, avoid the popular unrest in the Middle East thus far. Still, there is a public perception that members of the elite routinely obtain favored treatment in court cases, obtain access to lucrative business opportunities, and exert preponderant influence on national decisions.