The United Arab Emirates is a federation made up of seven small
kingdoms--Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, al-
Fujairah, and Ras al-Khaimah--located on the coast of the Arabian
Peninsula. The UAE is considered one of the more liberal countries
in the Gulf, and it has become a key ally of the United States and
other Western nations.Though the UAE is small compared with its Arab neighbors, it
has become important for several reasons, among them the oil controlled
by the UAE and the strategic location it occupies along the
Arabian Gulf, one of the world's major shipping lanes.
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