4: Materials and Process Assignment Research

United Arab Emirates : Research

United Arab Emirates : Assignment pages



  • Sam Cummings small-scale US arms dealer
  • ‘Man from Wisconsin’ – hapless businessman trying to make an entrance on the scene


To be done


UAE Background

UAE flag

Wikipedia article
BBC article

United Arab Emirates was established in 1971 as a federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi (capital), Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each Emirate is governed by an absolute monarch, together they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as President of the UAE.

It has a very ancient civilisation – stone tools from archaeological sites show  settlement of people from Africa 130,000 years ago. Trade in cooper from Hajar mountains motivated trade with Iran and Mesopotamia around 3000 years ago. There was constant movement of peoples from Bahrain and Oman. The area of the Al Ain/Buraimi oasis (Tu’am) was an important trading post for camels between the coast and Arabian interior. Islam was established shortly after the hijrah.

Peoples were nomadic dependent on varying mixes of aniumal husbandry, agriculture and hunting. Seasonal movements often led to clashes between groups, but also establishment of seasonal and semi-seasonal settlements.

By the 16thy Century came under the Ottoman Empire. Then Portuguese, English and Dutch forces. Al Qawasim tribe practised piracy against the British. Finally 1892 Exclusive Agreement between British and sheikhs – though abolition of slave trade led to some issues.

19th and early 20th century wealth dependent on pearl industry, but this declined early 1930s with invention of cultured pearls. Oil was discovered in early 1950s, and in commercial quantities in 1958.

After Independence UAE was a strategic ally of the US.

100 activists were jailed during the Arab Spring. In November 2012 UAE outlawed on-line mockery of the government, and attempts to organise public protests through social media.

In 2013 of 9.2 million people, 7.8 million are expatriates (27.15% population Indian, 12.53% Pakistani.)


Video 1: 50 minutes (first 42 minutes on UAE) produced 2007. Very interesting overview of history with old black and white photos of boats, old cities and people, and the souq markets. Less romantic than the tourist videos – shows health problems, discussion of impact of oil and situation of immigrants. Sees UAE as very standardised and ‘missing in soul’ except for Fujairah.

Video 2: 8 minute video produced in. Introduction seems a part spoof of the tourist video below ‘Imagine a land where reality actually outstrips fantasy…Imagine a city that has emerged almost over night like a mirage out of the desert built by the sweat of indentured labour. Imagine a place like no other’. Smoochy music. But then rest is a fairly straight history. Airports. Oil and construction.

Video 3: 26 minute promotional tourist video 2010

‘200,000 man [sic] has lived and thrived’. Desert, fertile oases, nature, industry… Lots of ‘Arabian’ film music. ‘In a world of beautiful places you could say that UAE has more than its fair share…a celebration of the big, the bold and the inspired’ etc etc etc

Abu Dhabi

‘energy and ambition’. Pearl industry declined 1930s because of synthetic pearls. 1950s discovered oil. Zayed is a’visionary’ for rising architectural statements.

  • Rubh al-Khali (empty quarter) dunes 400 metre dunes ‘sculpted by wind’ 600,000 sq km emptiness – winds and textures. birthplace of Islam. Now like a car track.
  • Jebel Hafit mountain 1,000 metres with extensive network of caves and ‘world’s greatest driving road up to it used by international cyclists.
  • El Hafit graves 3,000 years BC beehive design.
Rubh al Khali
Jebel Hafit
  • White marble Sk Zayed mosque for 40,000 worshippers.
  • 3bn USD Emirates palace hotel ‘reflects hues and shades of Arabian desert’.
Sk Zayed mosque
Emirates palace hotel
  • Abu Dhabi Golf championships.
  • Yas Island Formula 1 ‘can come by your own yacht and watch from room in Yas Hotel.
  • Bani Yas Island conservation Arabian Wildlife park. Dolphins, dugongs.
  • Liwa oasis ‘splashes of green signify life, crops and man’. Tourism 5 star hotels. ‘tourists who want to experience desert life in a more comfortable way.’ eg ballooning.
  • El-Ayn oasis ‘garden city’ 7,000 years old. Ancient falaj irrigation system. El Jahili fort. El-Ayn palace. Now 380,000 people.
  • Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 initiative – largest commitment in the world to renewable energy: Mazdar solar energy.
Masdar solar energy


Burj Khalifa
Palm Jumeria
Burj al Arab Hotel

Waterway established it as centre of commerce, divides into 2 ‘soul of city’. Use small wooden boats. Development of less than 20 years. Government aimed at new Hong Kong or Shanghai, and attract tourism.

  • Ras al Khor wildlife wetland sanctuary – flamingos.
  • Sk Zayed road and Dubai metro above highway.
  • Burj Khalifa tallest man-made structure in world. 1.5 bn USD.
  • Burj al Arab hotel tallest all-suite hotel built on a small island based on traditional dow sail design. 2004. Cannot see it unless you can afford a room.
  • Cruise ship to see the Gulf.
  • Palm Jumeira – increases waterside real estate
  • The world – man-made islands representing countries also wildlife sancuary
  • Port and harbour – free zone and containers with cranes
  • Golf including ‘Dubai Ladies’ Masters’
  • Hata. 2 watch towers and Juma mosque. Cool refuge from heat – breathtaking hajar mountains


  • was vital stop over for aircraft from Britain to Asia and Australia
  • touches Arabian gulf and Arabian sea so strategic
  • Museums and mosques  UNESCO cultural capital of Arab world
  • Gold and Blue Souqs
  • Support services to offshore oil and international container terminal
  • University of Sharjah brings together cultural and Islamic values. American University co-education.
  • Fishing harbour
  • Mangrove marsh for endangered species
  • Diba fort occupied by Portuguese


The most historic emirate – but trying to ‘modernise’

  • rugged untouched mountains
  • home of UAE 16th Century mosque like West African
  • Fujairah fort and surrounding village restored using traditional materials and methods with Indian architect
  • hotels on palm beaches
  • key international shipping lanes
Fujairah Free Zone !!!!


  • smallest emirate. extensive building in recent years
  • fort

Umm al_Quwain (mother of two powers)

  • Blue green lagoon and wildlife
  • Tel Abrak archaorological site. Was inhabited for 2000 years on coast before sea retreated in 300BC.
Umm Al Quwain Free Zone

Ras al Khaima (top of the tent)

From mountains, deserts and ancient cultural sites to beaches, mangroves, water sports and more,Ras Al Khaimah is a truly unforgettable Arabian experience. Tourist board website

  • inhabited many thousands of years
  • reinventing self for tourism
  • mangrove wetlands with flamingos
  • Hajjar mountains – camel farms and gorges with snow. highest peak 1100 metres.
  • isolated villages perched on rugged outcrops
‘What to do in Ras Al Khaimah’

Research on players from Money Rush

Shkh Zayed 1918 – 2004

50 minutes (late 1950s??) Evocative portrait in Black and White film – if a rather patronising and romanticised BBC documentary that shows its age. Provided a lot of material for sketches of Zayed, falcons and desert driving.

Wikipedia article

Shkha Fatima

Such adulation!!! Born?? Still alive.

Shkha Fatima

Third (or fifth??? is contradiction) wife ‘and most devoted’ of Shkh Zayed ‘mother of the nation’

hosting of Sudanese president’s wife  article

“Sheikha Fatima is one of the women rights supporters in the country. She is the supreme chairperson of the family development foundation. She significantly contributed to the foundation of the first women’s organization in 1976, the Abu Dhabi society for the awakening of women. She was also instrumental in a nationwide campaign towards girls’ education”

Shkha Fatima:

  • heads the United Arab Emirate’s women federation, which she founded in 1975. 
  • president of motherhood and childhood supreme council.
  • At the end of the 1990s, she publicly announced that women should be member of the federal national council of the Emirates.
  • supports efforts concerning adult literacy and provision of free public education to girls. Annually an exclusive award named the Sheikha Fatima Award for Excellence has been presenting in her honour since 2005. It is awarded for the outstanding academic performance and commitment to the environment and world citizenship of the female recipients. It entitles winners to a full-tuition scholarship and extends across schools in the Middle East and was expanded to India as well in 2010. 
  • Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Woman Athletes has been given to female athletes.”
  • 1997 UNICEF, WHO, UNIFEM, UNFP and UNFPA awarded Sheikha Fatima for her significant efforts for women’s rights. UNIFEM stated “she is the champion of women’s right.”
  • 2009 awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order by Tunisian president Zine el Abidine ben Ali for her contributions to raise the status of Arab women.
  • UNESCO Marie Curie Medal for her efforts in education, literacy and women’s rights, being the third international and the first Arab recipient of the award.

Source: Wikipedia article

Sheikh Rashid  1912 -1990

Shkh Rashid
Shkh Rashid in younger days

“My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel”

His son died of a drug overdose amid considerable scandal  (see Wikipedia article)
Wikipedia article

Ghaffar Hussain

Abdul Ghaffar Hussain with Shkh Rashid


Sheikha Sanaa

Sheikha Sanaa Bint Mana al Maktoum’s Beach Palace

Sheikha Sanaa Bint Mana Al Maktoum was the daughter of Sheikh Mana Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, famous for the reform movement in Dubai in 1938–1939. A former education minister described as a “moderniser” by Lienhardt in Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia and an “enlightened philanthropist” by Michael Field in The Merchants: The Big Business Families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. In the 1930s Mani had his young daughter taught to read and write, then an extremely rare thing for women.

Her father, along with key figures from trading families in Dubai, was deported after a civil war with the Ruler Sheikh Saeed II bin Maktum and his son Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (who later became the Ruler). The cause of this civil war in Dubai was their call for more people’s right and more participation in the ruling of the emirate as well as more nationalistic approach to education and commercial management. Many of the key commercial family members were killed and tortured.

After her father was deported, Sheikha Sana was forced, at the age of 10, to marry Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum’s second son, Khalifa. She was the mother of Mana and Rashid. Her son Mana was the head of the Ruler’s Office for more than 20 years during the time of Rashid Bin Saeed.

Sheikha Sana was famous for her love of poetry and support of the local intelligencia. She was, herself, a poet who demonstrated her sadness with repression for what happened to her family. She lived as a key woman in Dubai and her majlis was one of the key gatherings in which, occasionally, men also visited.

Sheikha Sanaa died on 17 June 2006 in Dubai.

Sam Cummings

Sam Cummings

Wikipedia article

Hugh Boughstead

  wikipedia article

Hugh Boustead autobiography

Mahdi Tajeer

Mahdi Al Tajeer

wikipedia article

Margaret McKay

Margaret MacKay

Wikipedia article

Modern updates and critiques

23 minute BBC documentary on Abu Dhabi showing new working lives: Emirati woman pilot, eco city, Emirati woman entrepreneur and Indonesian woman taxi driver.

42 minutes US promotional video promoting technology of Dubai construction industry.

Domestic Worker’s rights

Voice of America article

Voice of America 2014 article

UAE Domestic workers rights

13 minute – early (2006?) US investigative video from ABC News contrasting the OTT luxury and prices of the hotels like Burj el Arab – interviews with Western enthusiasts, managers and promoters (including an admiring Richard Branson and consultant was Bill Clinton paid thousands of dollars) – and billionaire autocracy power of Shk Rashid (billion dollars spent on horses) ‘no end to boom town spending’ on ski mountains etc. BUT treatment of people building it all – living in virtual enslavement in labour camps – though after the film were reported attempts to enforce the labour laws.

12 minute Frontline World video by Mimi Chakarova about Dubai tax haven – men outnumber women by 3-1’capitalism on steroids’. Starts with harrowing story of sex trafficking by journalist who has worked on this issue worldwide. But then goes on to how some of prostitutes are willing ‘businesswomen’ ‘hypnotised’ by the amount of money they can earn and the lavish environment. Chinese are the cheapest, then African and Eastern Europeans. Middle Eastern most expensive. Some is ‘no sex money’ on Internet. Prostitution is safer than many other places. Unregulated but in government-approved tourist bars. But very sad. And the journalist had been watched and followed, and the authorities tried to take all the tapes.

46 minute British ITV video (2007?) by Piers Morgan about possibilities of impact of credit crunch.

UAE first woman fighter pilot


UAE has first woman fighter pilot

Mariam Hassan Salem al-Mansouri has become the first Emirati woman to hold the rank of fighter pilot in the UAE Air Force and may be the first Gulf woman to enjoy the title.

Captain Mansouri, 35, pilots an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft, and is a squadron commander.

With backing from her family, Mansouri, who had always wanted to fly fighter jets for her country, joined the UAE Air Force in 2007 when authorities first announced they were accepting volunteers.

During her career, Mansouri has taken part in a significant number of the aerial maneuvers both inside and outside the UAE alongside allied and friendly states.

Emirati Vice President and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashed al-Maktoum honored Mansouri for her achievement and presented her with a medal as well as the Mohamed Bin Rashed award for distinguished governmental performance.

Etihad woman pilot

Woman pilot for Etihad Airlines

Women entrepreneurs

Environmental projects


Skyline and skyscrapers