"Regionally, the UAE [United Arab Emirates] has become increasingly assertive against extremist Islamic organizations, to the point of undertaking even some unilateral military action in post-Qadhafi Libya. This UAE policy has led it to join U.S.-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria; to financially assist the military-led government of Egypt that ousted the elected Islamist president in 2013; to support moderate Islamist rebel groups in Syria; and to work against other Muslim Brotherhood-related organizations in the region such as Hamas. […] On domestic politics and human rights issues, the UAE's relatively open borders and economy have won praise from advocates of expanded freedoms in the Middle East. However, the social tolerance has not translated into significant political change; the country remains under the control of a small circle of leaders who allow citizen participation primarily through traditional methods of consensus-building. […] Very few policy changes are anticipated should UAE President Shaykh Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan leave the scene unexpectedly. He suffered a stroke on January 24, 2014, leaving his younger brother Shaykh Mohammad bin Zayid, who already had substantial governing responsibilities, in charge. President Khalifa has not appeared at recent major events, such as the 2014 iteration of the annual GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] summit (December 2014), and the extent of his current governing role is likely limited. The UAE is considered among the wealthiest countries in the world because of the ratio between its government revenues and small population requiring services. It has received no U.S. foreign aid since FY2011, and the aid that has been provided has been minimal but targeted."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21852