United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy [June 23, 2011]   [open pdf - 271KB]

"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) 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 (the ruling families of the seven emirates and clans allied with them) routinely obtain favored treatment in court cases, obtain access to lucrative business opportunities, and exert preponderant influence on national decisions. […] For the Obama Administration and many in Congress, there are concerns about the UAE oversight and management of a complex and technically advanced initiative such as a nuclear power program. This was underscored by dissatisfaction among some Members of Congress with a U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear cooperation agreement. The agreement was signed on May 21, 2009, and submitted to Congress that day. It entered into force on December 17, 2009. However, expert concerns about potential leakage of U.S. and other advanced technologies through the UAE to Iran, in particular, remain. For details and analysis of the U.S.-UAE nuclear agreement and legislation concerning that agreement, see Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report R40344, The United Arab Emirates Nuclear Program and Proposed U.S. Nuclear Cooperation, by Christopher M. Blanchard and Paul K. Kerr."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS21852
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