United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy [May 9, 2012]   [open pdf - 381KB]

"The UAE's [United Arab Emirates'] relatively open borders and economy have won praise from advocates of expanded freedoms in the Middle East while producing financial excesses, social ills such as human trafficking, and relatively lax controls on sensitive technologies acquired from the West. Moreover, the social and economic freedoms have not translated into significant political opening; the UAE government remains under the control of a small circle of leaders, even as it allows informal citizen participation and traditional consensus-building. Members of the elite (the ruling families of the seven emirates and clans allied with them) also routinely obtain favored treatment in court cases and lucrative business opportunities. However, economic wealth-- coupled with some government moves against political activists--have enabled the UAE to avoid widescale popular unrest that have erupted elsewhere in the Middle East since early 2011. [...] 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, submitted to Congress that day, and 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."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS21852
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