From union (ʾīttihād) to united (muttahida): the United Arab Emirates, a success born of failure

Dr. Brandon Friedman has published an article in Middle Eastern Studies, where he analyzes the background behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971.


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the result of more than three years of failed negotiations to unify the nine pre-state shaykhdoms. Thus, the formation of the UAE may be viewed as a success born of failure. In the period following the 1968 British announcement, the political events that led to the formation of the modern state of the UAE were largely a product of the competition for power or protection between the rulers of the nine pre-state shaykhdoms. This article explains how the personal rivalries and historical animosities between the ruling shaykhs manifested themselves and shaped events that led to the formation of the UAE in 1971.