You are on page 1of 127

Atlas of the Gulf States

Atlas of the Gulf States


By

Philippe Cadne and Brigitte Dumortier

LEIDENBOSTON
2013

This atlas was originally published in French in 2011 by Presses de luniversit Paris-Sorbonne (http://pups.paris-sorbonne.fr) and RFI (http://www.rfi.fr), with funding from the French
National Research Agency (Agence nationale de la recherche) as a part of the CITADAIN Project, under ISBN (hardback) 978-2-84050-775-8.

This publication has been typeset in the multilingual Brill typeface. With over 5,100 characters covering Latin, IPA, Greek, and Cyrillic, this typeface is especially suitable for use in the
humanities. For more information, please see www.brill.com/brill-typeface.
ISBN 978-90-04-24560-0 (hardback)
ISBN 978-90-04-24566-2 (e-book)
Copyright original French edition 2011 by Presses de luniversit Paris-Sorbonne (PUPS) and Radio France Internationale (RFI).
Copyright English translation 2013 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Global Oriental, Hotei Publishing,
IDC Publishers and Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in
a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.
Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV
provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center,
222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA.
Fees are subject to change.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Contents

Introduction

The Gulf: A Strategic Space between the Sea and the Desert
A Semi-enclosed Sea
An Area of Continual Movement
The Crossroads of Civilizations
A Muslim World
Singular States
Water Scarcity
Oases and Pastoral Nomadism
Marine Resources

6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20

The Gulf: The Heart of the Worlds Energy Reserves


Petroleum, a Complex Sector
Oil Production and Reserves
Gas Production and Reserves
Processing and Transport of Oil and Gas
Numerous Tensions

24
26
28
30
32

A Speedy and Radical Transformation


Influx of Migrants
Spectacular Urban Growth
Quality Infrastructure
Developing an Industrial Sector
Free Zones and Special Economic Zones
Explosion of Finance and Real Estate Sectors
The Rise of Tourism
Towards a Knowledge Society
The Gulf Cooperation Council

36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52

Dissimilar Territories
The State of Kuwait
Saudi Arabias Eastern Province
The Kingdom of Bahrain
The Emirate of Qatar
The Federation of the United Arab Emirates
The Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai
The Emirates of Ajman and Sharjah
The Northern Emirates
North Oman
The Iranian Coast of the Gulf
The Iraqi Governorate of Basra

56
58
60
62
64
66
68
70
72
74
76

Urban Societies
Basra City
Kuwait City
Greater Dammam
The Oasis City of al-Ahsa
Manama, an Island Capital
Greater Doha
The Island and the City of Abu Dhabi
The Coastal Conurbation of Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman
The al-Ain-Buraimi Oases
Muscats Capital Region
Sohar and Sur: Two Cities on the Gulf of Oman
The Port City of Bandar Abbas
Abadan and Khorramshahr: Two Oil Cities
Integration of Metropolitan Areas

80
82
84
86
88
90
92
94
96
98
100
102
104
106

Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

108
111
115

Introduction

In the vast expanse of land dominated by Muslim countries, it is customary to


distinguish between the Arab world, which stretches from the Persian Gulf to
the Atlantic Ocean and encompasses countries bordering the Red Sea and the
Mediterranean, and the Turco-Iranian world, which extends from the Dardanelle Straits to the Indus River and the western borders of China. Those who
support this view claim that despite the differences in geographical, linguistic, and political conditions, the Turco-Iranian world has a unity which stems
from the interpenetration of the Iranian and Turkish civilizations in the course
of history. As for the Arab world, it is characterized by the principle of unity
in diversity. The perennial or seasonal shortage of water, the use of the Arabic language, and the presence of oil deposits constitute distinctive common
denominators, and, paradoxically also the reason for internal differences. The
feeling of unity, strengthened by memories of a glorious shared past, combined
with a common religion and later exalted by the ideology of pan-Arabism,
is founded on a common written language. At the same time, the diversity
asserted by groups and individuals, who believe that belonging to a particular
nation, region or locality takes precedence over a transnational Arab identity,
is also visible in the landscape, social conditions, dress, food habits, dialect,
etc. The sense of belonging to the umma, or community of believers, competes
with the feeling, among Christian minorities, of belonging to the Arab world.
Colonization, followed by independence, led to the emergence of a national
patriotism so strong that in some countries there are now demands that dialectal Arabic, which only used to be spoken but is now in the process of also
being written, be recognized as national languages. Ultimately, belonging to a
particular tribe or community remains an important reality.
Considering the dialectics between unity in diversity inherent to the geographical approach, Arab geographers contrast Maghreb (the West) to Mashriq
(the East), while Western geographers divide the Arab world into sub-regions
with a variable geometry. Beyond multiple variants from one author to the
other, there is a tendency to distinguish between the Maghreb, the countries
of Nile Valley, the Horn of Africa, the countries of the Fertile Crescent, and
the Arabian Peninsula. Like any division, it is not a simple recording of facts
but the result of an intellectual construction; therefore, it cannot be confined
within normative limits because there are peripheral areas and transitional

areas. Further, it is not permanent, because the world is continually changing


and the geographer must be cognizant of these changes.
With regard to todays importance of the Middle East in the field of energy,
the traditional division of the Arab world is no longer pertinent. It means
dissociating Iraq, one of the major countries of the Fertile Crescent (a term
first used at the end of the nineteenth century to describe an area known for
archaeological riches and achievements in the history of irrigation) from its
other oil-rich neighbors, particularly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia situated in the
Arabian Peninsula, which serves as a bridge between Africa and Asia. Its physical demarcation is not difficult, but it presents an internal diversity not to be
underestimated. In addition, however true it may be, the cleavage between the
Arab and Persian worlds must be discussed. Iran is an oil-producing country
like its neighbors on the opposite shore of the Gulf. We have therefore decided
to include in the same group Iran and the Arab countries bordering the AraboPersian Gulf, i.e., Iraq and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, with the
exception of Yemen. Including the Sultanate of Oman among the Gulf states
may give rise to debate since it is situated mainly on the Gulf of Oman and the
Arabian Sea, with some twenty-odd kilometres bordering the Persian Gulf. But
the countrys centrepiece, situated in its north, resembles the northern part of
the United Arab Emirates.
The decision to prepare this Atlas of the Gulf States was not based on the sole
consideration that these countries are among the worlds major oil exporters.
It is also based on an understanding of civilization that does not always stress
divisive factors at the cost of those that unite. When geography is considered
from the Orientalist viewpoint, which has few followers today, the Persian Gulf
appears as a dividing line between two distinct cultural areas, the Semitic and
the Indo-European. This interpretation is based on archaeological arguments
that have been discredited by the excavations conducted over the past thirty
years and ethno-linguistic considerations that need to be moderated in view
of the findings of recent studies of dialects spoken in the Gulf region. Further,
the existence of a khaleeji identity (is it not revealing that we have to resort to
a neologism derived from the word khaleej, which means gulf in both Arabic
and Persian?) is now emphasized. There is no doubt whatsoever that eastern
Arabia is very different from central Arabia and that the part of Iran situated
1

between the Zagros Mountains and the sea has its own peculiar characteristics
and that these two peripheral areas maintain links that are as complex as they
are ancient. In many ways, this narrow stretch of shallow water can be regarded
as a Mediterranean Sea, not from a bio-climatic point of view, but in the sense
of the French historian Fernand Braudel, i.e., as a space that fosters human
movement and exchanges. Consequently, semantic arguments on the choice
of name that excite specialists may be less difficult to resolve.
While it is not our task to find a solution to this debate which exploits onomastics, we cannot afford to ignore it altogether. There is nothing unusual
about it, because every riparian State sees things from its own viewpoint. Thus
the sea between France and England known as La Manche in France becomes
the English Channel in England and what the French call Dtroit du Pas-deCalais is called the Strait of Dover by their British neighbors. There is therefore
nothing unusual in that the Persian Khalij-i Fars should become al-Khalij alArabi for the Arabs. But in a confrontational environment, linguistic ethnocentrism becomes an unending source of protest and the struggle to impose
the Persian or the Arabic name on the international community has become
extremely virulent. On the grounds of the names antecedence and antiquity,
some writers outside the region advocate the continued use of the name Persian Gulf. They add that medieval Arab geographers spoke of the Persian Sea
and used the name Arabian Sea to denote the Red Sea. The same argument
has been put forward by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, which recommends the use of the term Persian Gulf in its Report
No. 61 (Spring 2006). This recommendation, made in a working paper to add
legal weight to the historical argument, does not have the value of a resolution,
though the United Nations uses the term Persian Gulf in its maps. If history
can be mobilized by listing ancient, medieval, and modern geographers and
cartographers who have used the term Persian Gulf, it is also possible to invoke
contemporary geographical reasons to take into account the viewpoint of the
seven other riparian states. The Gulf cannot be considered Persian forever. At
the same time, it cannot be treated as exclusively Arabian. Calling it the AraboPersian Gulf seems to be a reasonable compromise, but we have opted to use
the simple term Gulf in this atlas. We will follow the local usage where khaleej
is used without an adjective to designate the Gulf considered in this book.
The expression Gulf states, which figures in the title, is used in the text
to describe not only the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Kuwait,
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman), but all
the riparian states, including Iraq and Iran. However, it does not necessarily
cover the entire territory of the States bordering the Gulf. Hence, we have not
taken into account the central desert of Saudi Arabia and its Red Sea coast.

Black Sea

Caspian
Sea

Mediterranean
Sea

Iraq

Iran
Kuwait

Saudi
Arabia

Red
Sea

Bahrain
Qatar
UAE
Oman

Indian Ocean

500 km

Central Iraq and the Kurdish provinces in the north have also been left out
for the purposes of this book. Only the coastal provinces of Iran bordering
the Gulf and the northern part of Oman have been studied, since southern
Oman is considered to be a part of southern Arabia. So, in discussing the Gulf
states, we refer to countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab
Emirates, as well as parts of some countries like the Governorate of Basra in
Iraq, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, North Oman, and the Iranian coast
bordering the Arabo-Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Despite their small area, covering less than one million square kilometres as
compared to the earths total land surface of more than 149 billion square kilometres and their low population of barely 25 million as compared to the total
world population of more than 7 billion, the coastal regions of the Gulf occupy
an important place in the international economic and political arena. These
regions are frequently in the limelight and there are numerous references to
them in the media. Economic columnists and commentators regularly consider
the key role played by the Gulfs financial institutions, particularly their richly
endowed sovereign and investment funds. Conversely, It was believed that
Dubai, which receives the most attention from the international media and is
widely praised for its forward-looking policies, could trigger an international

introduction
stock market crash after the speculative real estate bubble burst and the local
banking system, already in the throes of the subprime crisis, was subsequently
weakened in 2009.
With regard to the general public, for whom it can be either Eldorado or Hell,
the Gulf also evokes memories of several wars involving, in varying degrees,
leading Western powers, especially the United States, whose armed forces are
present throughout the region. Finally, the Gulf seems to be continually faced
with the threat of imminent conflagration, particularly because the external
tensions linked to Irans efforts to become a nuclear power could lead to a
point of no-return. There is also the possibility of the regions governments
being destabilized by internal tensions.
Of course, the Gulf states receive a great deal of attention because of the
regions strategic importance: it holds more than 50 percent of the worlds oil
reserves and 40 percent of its gas reserves. Another reason for this interest lies
in the way most of these countries manage this natural bounty, by seizing the
opportunities offered by globalization, with either determination or reticence,
to use the sizeable means at their disposal to move from a rent-based economy
to a productive one. National oil companies earn enormous profits. Instead of
exporting crude, they have now invested in industrial complexes in petroleum
related sectors to add value to their exports. As a result, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, aluminium factories, steel mills, and so forth have mushroomed
in the region. Many Gulf states have also successfully developed the services sector. The financial sector, of course, owes its prosperity to the wealth earned from
oil and gas exports. Maritime trade served by modern port facilities has turned
the Gulf into an important artery and trading hub between Europe and Asia
while air transport has benefited by the development of very efficient transit
facilities for intercontinental flights. The tourism industry has taken advantage
of the sunshine, sea, and desert. It is now working to diversify by promoting cultural tourism. This multifaceted development, in various stages of advancement
in the different countries of the region, has reduced the share of oil revenue in
their GDP and led to an explosion in the real estate sector.
The spectacular changes visible in the Gulf, which have been largely initiated by a new generation of decision-makers, aided by skilled manpower from
abroad (mostly from other Arab and Asian countries), oblige us to take a fresh
look at the regions geography. Given these developments, it would not be
implausible to imagine the Gulfs Arabian shore being gradually transformed
into a vast megalopolis that covers a dozen cities of different sizes, some of
them approaching or even exceeding one million inhabitants. Such a multipolar urban system has not yet come into existence, but it is evidently taking
shape in the plans being drawn up by the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is necessary to examine this prospect of a megalopolis in the regions geopolitical

context, which could jeopardize its future: the tensions caused by the American intervention in Iraq continue to have economic and political repercussions in neighboring countries; and the threat posed by Iran on account of its
religious policies and nuclear strategy could have a destabilizing effect on the
region, even though it continues to be an important commercial partner.
The Atlas of the Gulf States is meant to be a document combining maps and
text to facilitate the understanding of ongoing changes in the Gulf states. This
book is as much against essentialism, which stresses cultural factors to explain
the progress or the backwardness of these societies, as it is on any analysis supportive of the Third World, which inevitably looks at the oil-producing
countries of the Gulf as peripheral areas dominated by the capitalist West and
ruled by a fabulously wealthy tribal oligarchy. This work simply aims to present,
in all their complexity, the distinctive traits of the new centre emerging in a
region of the world characterized by its immense oil reserves, the phenomenal
growth of its coastal cities, and the constraints imposed by a parched land. It is
also necessary to understand the practicalities of managing a region simultaneously strong and fragile; an area that lies between the sea and the desert. Preparing this Atlas of the Gulf States has been a challenging task. The object was
to provide readers with reliable up-to-date information together with analyses
which challenge stereotypes often verging on prejudice.
This atlas is not a textbook, nor is it a compilation of existing works, though
it has drawn on the most relevant among them. A large number of maps in this
book have not been published until now. We offer our readers the fruit of serious research, the successful outcome of a multi-scale approach, the product of
numerous field studies, the result of digital, graphic and cartographic processing of data obtained from numerous national and international sources, duly
criticized and compared to create databases. We will not go into the details
of the methodological problems encountered in the course of the geographical study of a space shared by eight sovereign States, most of them of recent
origin and having very different political and economic conditions, but they
cannot be totally ignored. In fact, most of these States do not have statistical
institutions able to provide data regarding their population and economy. The
need for infra-national statistics about some countries only added to our difficulties. Further, tensions related to the strategic aspects of operating oil wells
and transporting oil, the existence of different religious sects, and the presence
of large expatriate communities impeded access to reliable and quantifiable
information on sensitive topics.
Finally, by calling upon the concepts and methods available to geography,
the science of territories, and by abiding by the rules of graphic semiology, we
have tried to present a book that opens up new prospects for specialists while
remaining accessible to non-specialists.
3

The Gulf: A Strategic Space between the Sea and the Desert

A Semi-enclosed Sea

BATHYMETRY, TOPOGRAPHY AND COASTAL MORPHOLOGY


5000'E

5500'E

ZA

GR

OS

OU

3000' N

NT

AI

NS

r
-P

e r
s i
a n

Strait of
Hormuz

G u
l f

Gu

100 km

f
UN

Sebkha

TA

IN

Coral reef
Topography (metres)
200

an

MO

Swamp

100

2500' N

Om

AR

Mangrove

lf o

J
A L HA

TWO ASYMMETRIC SHORES

The Arabo-Persian Gulf is an extension of the Indian Ocean connected to the Gulf
of Oman, another extension of the same ocean, by the Strait of Hormuz. While the
Gulf of Oman drops off to a depth of more than 1,000 meters, the Arabo-Persian Gulf
is an epicontinental sea, which means that it is quite shallow. It is characterized by a
bathymetric dissymmetry linked to the mainlands relief. Hence, its depth increases
faster along the Iranian shore, which is dominated by high mountains, than along the
Arabian coast, where plateaus and plains extend right up to the sea. Except for the
area around the Strait of Hormuz where there is an increase in altitude and depth,
the Arabian shore is quite low and flat with a sandy and muddy foreshore bordered
with islands, shallows, and coral reefs. The numerous lagoons turn into sebkhas (sandy
plains), where their access to the sea is cut off and gradually filled up by a gypseous
crust due to evaporation. In this arid environment, the process is accelerated as blown
sand is deposited in these areas. Towards the lower latitudes, the lagoons provide a
fertile ground for mangroves, which are very common on the shores of the Gulf of
Oman. These mangroves, generally of the dwarf variety and a far cry from the luxuriant growth normally associated with them, constitute a rich ecosystem that has been
destroyed or mistreated in many places, but which is now protected as a natural heritage. The straight line of the coast is broken up by bays and khors, i.e. waterlogged
paleo-estuaries, similar to rias, which are a legacy of wetter climatic periods. These
natural harbors were, historically, the sites of ports that grew into large coastal cities
following the development of the oil industry. The sudden urbanization of the coastal
areas and their artificial alteration as a result of the straightening and construction
of artificial islands, peninsulas, and embankments for building industries, ports, and
airports are likely to damage the fragile environment. However, protective measures
are now being taken in the form of bird sanctuaries, marine reserves, and the protection of endangered species like the dugong and the tortoise.
The hot and dry climate means that the temperature of the water surface is
quite high and also subject to considerable seasonal variation and high salinity,
which increases from the north to the south, because more rivers empty into the
sea at the northern end of the Gulf. This is where the Shatt al-Arab, called Arvand
Rud in Persian, enters the sea after having passed through marshy territory.

500

Bathymetry (metres)
1 000

2 000

3 000

-3 200 -2 000 -1 500 -1 000

-500

-300

-150

-100

-70

-50

-30

-15

This 195-kilometer long waterway is formed by the confluence of the


Tigris and the Euphrates, whose silt deposits form an underwater deltaic cone. The high tidal range, which can give rise to violent local currents, reaches 3.5 meters in Kuwait, but does not rise above one meter
on the coast of the United Arab Emirates. It is said that after seeing

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
WARM WATERS
TEMPERATURE* SUMMER

SALINITY** SUMMER

TEMPERATURE* WINTER

SALINITY** WINTER

CURRENTS

40

25

40
3

25

15

38

40
39

17

16

39

24
25

Upwelling

30

29

4
4

30

37

40

20

37

40

18

19

31

22

* Surface temperature (Celsius). ** Surface salinity (Practical Salinity Unit). Practical Salinity Unit (psu) is a conductivity ratio used to describe the concentration of dissolved salts in sea water. 1 PSU means 1 pound of salt per 1,000 pounds of sea water. The average salinity of sea water is around
* Surface temperature (Celsius). ** Surface salinity (Practical Salinity Unit). Practical Salinity Unit (psu) is a conductivity ratio used to describe the concentration of dissolved salts in sea water. 1 PSU means 1 pound of salt per 1,000 pounds of sea water. The average salinity of sea water is
35 psu, i.e. 35 g/l or 35 .
around 35 psu, i.e. 35 g/l or 35 .
From R. M. Reynolds, "Physical Oceanography of the Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman - Results from the Mt Mitchell Expedition", Marine Pollution Bulletin, 1993, vol. 27, p. 3559.
From R. M. Reynolds, Physical Oceanography of the Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of OmanResults from the Mt Mitchell Expedition, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 1993, vol. 27, p. 3559.

the tides in the Persian Gulf in the fourth century BC,


Selerrens of Babylon established the link between this
phenomenon and the phases of the moon and pointed
out the effects of the declination of stars on tidal movements. In this inland sea, the proportion of sweet water
(precipitation plus fluvial discharge minus evaporation)
is very low because of low rainfall and arheism (lack of
runoff and surface drainage) in the Arabian Peninsula,
combined with a high rate of evaporation due to heat
and dry winds. This deficit is, however, compensated by
the exchange of salt water in the Gulf of Oman, which
produces a flushing effect in the Strait of Hormuz where
the two currents overlap. The upwelling or rising of cold,
heavy, sub-surface water rich in nutrients is conducive to
the production of phytoplankton, which in turn contributes to the proliferation of fish in the Strait of Hormuz
and the area around it.

Depth

Ocial dimensions

Width

Surface

average (m)

maximum (m)

km

km

km

42

115

950

180 to 320

240,000

Arab-Persian Gulf
Strait of Hormuz
Gulf of Oman

Length

Volume
km
10,000

56

229

195

83

16,200

900

1,393

3,691

450

180 to 330

112,000

156,000

From International Hydrographic Organization.

A SHALLOW SEA

HYDROLOGY OF THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ

SUPERFICIES OF THE ARAB-PERSIAN GULF AND OF


THE GULF OF OMAN BY DEPTH SLICE

A DEFICIT IN THE ARABPERSIAN GULF


BALANCED BY SUPPLIES FROM THE GULF OF OMAN

Arab-Persian Gulf

Gulf of Oman

superficy
(000 km2)
240

200

160

120

superficy
(000 km2)

depth
(m)
80

40

40

0 to 1,000
1,000 to 2,000
2,000 to 3,000
Continental shelf
(0 - 200 m)

3,000 to 4,000

Data from Atlas okeanov, terminy, ponjatija, spravocnye tablicy


1980.

Data
from
okeanov,
terminy, ponjatija,
spravocnye
tablicy tables),
(Atlas
of Atlas
Oceans,
terminology,
concepts,
statistical
(Atlas of Oceans, terminology, concepts, statistical tables), 1980.

80

120

(m)
0
200
400
600
800
1 000

Fresh water balance

Salt water exchanges


through the Strait of Hormuz

P + r - E = - 1 380 mm

x - y = + 1 380 mm

+ 270 mm

+ 150 mm

- 1 800 mm

AF

Arab-Persian Gulf
(P + r - E) + (x - y) = 0
P = precipitation
AF = runof
E = evaporation
x = inow
y = outow

Strait of Hormuz
x
y

Gulf of Oman

Communication from Prof. F. Carr.

Communication from Prof. F. Carr.

An Area of Continual Movement

The funding of excavations in the Gulf has been made possible by the income
from oil. It has allowed rapid advances in archaeology during the last three or
four decades, revealing that maritime traffic was intense in early times. The
discovery, around Hormuz in the 1990s, of pottery originating from the northern Gulf shows that the people living on the coast crossed this shallow inland
sea as early as 5000 BC, before venturing into the Indian Ocean to trade with
the mouth of the Indus. The location of Meluba, Dilmun, and Magan, mentioned in a cuneiform inscription on a clay tablet dating back to 2300 BC, has
been the subject of speculation and controversy among scholars for a long
time. Since it is now accepted that Meluba was situated on the west coast of
India, this discovery confirms the regularity of trade between the Gulf and
India. In addition, archaeological and geological evidence now enable us to
identify Dilmun with Bahrain and Magan (the land of copper and precious
stones) with northern Oman, thus proving the presence of links within the
Gulf region between the northern civilizations and their trading partners in
the south.
As for southern Arabia, the boswellia sacra, a bush native to Dhofar, supplied
products that were exported from the end of the second millennium BC. Its
resin, used as incense, was transported by caravan along with myrrh, the gum
of the balsam tree. The Nabataeans, who carried these precious perfumes to the
Mediterranean, controlled the land route across western Arabia. The supremacy of Nabataean traders was undermined by the merchants of Gerrah, a city
on the east coast of Arabia, whose precise location is still disputed. The inhabitants of Gerrah controlled the sea route along the coast of the Arabian Sea. At
its busiest during the Roman era, it transported incense to ports in Mesopotamia and India. Like the perfume route, the continental silk route, which crossed
Central Asia, also had a corresponding sea route. Arab geographers and travellers have described the bustling and cosmopolitan atmosphere in Sur, Sohar,
and Julphar (present Ras al-Khaimah). But the two most important ports in
the Gulf were Basra, where the sea route meets the river route to Baghdad, and

THE PERFUME ROUTES OF ANTIQUITY


Alexandria

Gaza

Jerusalem

Babylonia

Petra
Persepolis

Apologus
Myos
Hormos

Leuce
Come

Gerrah ?
Thaj

Daydan

Koptos

Gerrah ?
Yathrib

Berenice

to North
India
Cryptus

Najran

Adulis

Frankincense
production area
Myrrh production
area
Sea route
Land route

Moscha
Marib

Sarnhar

Shabwa

Muza

to South
India

Qani
Eudaemon Arabia
Mosylbum
Mendus

Opone

Dioskouridou

to Rhapta

300 km

From various archeological reports, D. Potts works and Maritime Incense Route <http://nabataea.net/isearoute.html>.

From various archeological reports, D. Potts works and Maritime Incense Route <http://nabataea.net/isearoute.html>.

Siraf (present Bandar Taheri), the last stop for ships coming from India, Maritime Southeast Asia, and China. Persians, Arabs, Indians, Malays, Chinese, and
Jews traded in spices and other oriental products as well as in precious goods
like amber and linen cloth brought from the Baltic through the Caspian Sea.

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
THE CONTAINER LINES

THE MARITIME SILK ROAD

Damascus
Tiran

Baghdad

Esfahan

Mary
Mashhad
Herat

Shiraz

Red Sea

Siraf
Julphar

Tashkent

Bukhara

Tehran

Frunze

Samarkand Kashgar
Kabul

Kuqa

Khotan

Karashar

Bushehr

Land route

Jubayl

Shanghai

Dunhuang

Qarqan

Gilgit

Dammam

Xian

Lanzhou

Islamabad

Hormuz

Agra

Calcutta

Bay of Bengal

So

Arabian Sea

Palk

500

1000 km

I n d i a n

Mal
acca

Shabahar
Khor Fakkan
Fujairah
Mina
Sultan Qabous

Container traffic 2008


twenty-foot equivalent
unit (TEU)
11,827,000

Salalah

3,000,000
500,000
75,000

300 km

Data from Containerisation International Yearbook, London, Informa and estimations


by Prof. J. Charlier.

O c e a n

The Gulfs commercial role and the importance


of the Strait of Hormuz on the route to India aroused
the greed of the western seafaring countries quite
early in history, starting with the Portuguese in the
sixteenth century, and soon followed by the Dutch,
before the English had time to consolidate their
supremacy over the sea and maritime trade in this
strategic space in the nineteenth century.
Long-distance shipping of precious goods
required a thorough knowledge of navigation. Like
the legendary Sindbad the Sailor, the regions inhabitants were exceptionally skilled seamen. Around
851, Suleiman Sirafi gave an accurate description of

Jebel Ali
Mina
Sharjah
Sulman
Mina Zayed

Vanarasi

Sur

Mogadishu

Shahid Rajaee

Jeddah

Canton

Kandahar

Sohar

Bab al Mandab

Hami
Anxi

a Sea

Alexandria
Cairo

Tbilisi

Chin

Erzurum
Aleppo
Palmyra Deir ez Zor

Sea

Khorramshahr
Bandar Imam Khomeini

Sea road
Tiran Strait

uth

a
ne

ea

Astrakhan

ian Sea

Konya

kS

Casp

a
err
Medit

Bla
c

Sunda

his voyage from Siraf to India and China. In 1490,


Ahmad bin Majid, a navigator from Sohar or Julphar who served as Vasco de Gamas pilot, wrote
The book of useful information on the principles
and rules of navigation. He explains how ships
gathered at the Horn of Arabia in the spring to set
sail for the Indian coast, taking advantage of the
summer monsoon winds, and then headed back
towards the African coast in autumn driven by the
winter monsoon. Dhows, a generic term covering
several types of ships with lateen sails now powered by engines are used for fishing and transport.
They still sail along the Gulf coast towards Pakistan

or the Horn of Africa and contribute to bypassing


the restrictions in Iran on unloading the miscellaneous cargo brought from ports on the Arabian
coast. But the Gulf is now a space traversed mainly
by oil and gas tankers and container ships. Jebel Ali
is one of the worlds few container ports with traffic
exceeding 10 million twenty-foot equivalent units.
As in ancient times, the Gulf is connected to the
Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and even further, to the
Mediterranean, through straits, land bridges across
deserts where long convoys of trucks have taken
the place of caravans of dromedaries, or hub ports,
Salalah and Jeddah having now become gateways
to the Gulf that enable ships to avoid the Strait of
Hormuz.

The Crossroads of Civilizations

Instead of separating the Arab and Persian worlds, from very ancient times the Gulf
has encouraged the movement of people, goods, and ideas. It is thus a Mediterranean
Sea in the sense used by Braudel, an interface between two shores that are sometimes united, sometimes in conflict, but linked by geographical proximity and common interests. The Median Empire (728550 BC) controlled the northern shore of the
Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, but did not extend west of the Tigris; the Achaemenid Empire (550330 BC) included Mesopotamia and its access to the sea and the
Parthian Empire (247 BC224 AD) dominated the Arabian coast right up to Qatar. The
Sassanids (224642 AD) controlled it up to the Arabian Sea.
In the seventh century, there were two Christian Arab kingdoms located between
the powerful Christian Byzantine Empire in the west and in the east the Zoroastrian
Persian Empire. (Zoroastrianism descended from the ancient Vedic religion that also
gave birth to Hinduism and is based on the teachings of Zarathustra, who lived in
the first millennium BC.) To the west, allied with the Byzantines, was the kingdom
of the Ghassanids who followed the Monophysitic Jacobite doctrine, which asserted
the existence of only one nature of Christ, the divine having absorbed the human.
To the east, the Lakhmid kingdom, which had sworn allegiance to the Persians, followed the Dyophysitic Nestorian doctrine, which asserted the disunion between the
human and divine natures of Christ. These two doctrines opposed the Hypostatic doctrine (the consubstantial union of the two natures) proclaimed in the Nicene Council
(325 AD) and were declared heretical. The condemnation of the Nestorian doctrine
by the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) did not prevent its spread in the Middle East
during the following decades and its establishment in the Sassanid Empire under the
leadership of the bishops of Ctesiphon. The spread of monastic communities in the
Arabian Peninsula, including eastern Arabia, which was converted to Christianity in
the middle of the fifth century and was the seat of a bishop mentioned in Christian sources, is supported by archaeological evidence dating back to the pre-Islamic
period, particularly the vestiges of a Nestorian convent and a church discovered in the
1990s on Sir Bani Yas Island to the southwest of Abu Dhabi.
This time of debates on Christology and dissidence on the eastern borders on
Christendom was revealed in Arabic in the religious expression of the desert peoples.
In 610 AD, Muhammad, a respectable merchant of Mecca, received his first revelation. In 622, he migrated to Medina. This event, called the hijra, marks the beginning

10

THE ARAB FRINGES

OF
ACHAEMENID
THETHE
ARAB
FRINGES AND SASSANID EMPIRES
OF THE ACHAEMENID AND SASSANID EMPIRES

Achaemenid Empire
(550330 B.C.)
Achaemenid
Empire
Sassanid
Empire
(550330A.C.)
B.C.)
(224642
Sassanid Empire
Vassal
kingdoms
(224642
A.C.)
Maximum
extension of
Vassal kingdoms
Sassanids
Eastern Roman Empire,
Maximum
extension of
(early
6th
century)
then Byzantine Empire
0
500
1000 km
Sassanids
Eastern Roman Empire,
(early
6th
century)
then Byzantine Empire
0
500
1000and
km from Revue Questions Internationales.
From I. Barnes et R. Hudson, The History Atlas of Asia, London,
Macmillan,
1998
n 25, 2007.

OF THE SELJUK AND OTTOMAN EMPIRES

OF THE SELJUK AND OTTOMAN EMPIRES

Seljuk Empire (10401194)


Maximum
extension
(17th) of
Seljuk Empire
(10401194)
Ottoman Empire (13001922)
Maximum extension (17th) of
Ottoman
EmpireThe
(13001922)
From I. Barnes
et R. Hudson,
History Atlas of Asia, London, MacMillan, 1998.

From I.I. Barnes


From
Barnes et
et R.
R. Hudson,
Hudson, The
The History
History Atlas
Atlas of
of Asia,
Asia, London,
London, MacMillan,
Macmillan, 1998.
1998.

500 km

500 km

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
EXPANSION OF THE ARAB MUSLIM DIVISION

Abbas came under the rule of a Turkish dynasty


between 1040 and 1194. While the Ottoman Turks
ruled the eastern part of Arabia from a distance,
the area around Hormuz and the coast of Oman
passed alternately under the control of Arab and
Persian rulers. The Qawassim of Sharjah and Ras
al-Khaimah ruled over principalities on the Persian
coast until the early twentieth century just as the
sultans of Muscat controlled Baluchistan.

Medina
Mecca

Bastakiya, a historic district of Dubai, derives its


name from a village near the Iranian port of Bandar
Lengeh. Thus, despite linguistic competition between
Arabic (the Khaleeji dialect) and Persian, there are
Persian-speaking pockets on the Arabian coast and
Arabic-speakers (Khaleeji and Bandari) on the Iranian coast, in addition to peninsular dialects (Shikuki
of Musandam) and island dialects (Qeshmi of Qeshm
island) that have borrowed from both languages.

ARAB AND PERSIAN: A LINGUISTIC DIVISION


Extension of Islam
at the death of the
Prophet (632)
about 650

500 km

From
Dumortier,
Atlas
religions,
Autrement,
From B.B.Dumortier,
Atlas
des des
religions,
Paris,Paris,
Autrement,
2002. 2002.

of the Islamic calendar. At the time, most Arabs


practiced a form of polytheism in which each tribe
worshiped its own god; the statues of all these deities, traditionally numbering 360, were kept in a
central shrine in Mecca known as the Kaaba. Apart
from the Nestorian communities, Jewish tribes had
settled in Arabia. The new religion of Islam spread
rapidly and the Arabian Peninsula passed to the
rule of the caliphs, who conquered the declining
Persian empire; the majority of the population converted to Islam. There was no linguistic arabization
except for the adoption of the Arabic alphabet with
four additional letters. Within a short period, all the
areas surrounding the Gulf had embraced Islam.
With the arrival of the Seljuk Turks, the northern
end of the Gulf and the Iranian coast up to Bandar

Arab
Arab-Persian
dialects
Persian

Baluchi
Kurdish
Qashqai

100

200 km

From
School
of International
and Public
Affairs,Affairs,
Columbia
University.
FromGulf/2000
Gulf/2000Project,
Project,
School
of International
and Public
Columbia
University.

11

A Muslim World

Around 630 AD, during the Prophets lifetime, his emissaries spread his message in
eastern Arabia. After his death, his successor, the caliph Abu Bakr, quelled a rebellion by several tribes. These were known as the Ridda Wars (632633) and were
considered by Muslim historians as Wars of Apostasy led by false prophets. They
have also been interpreted as resistance on the part of chiefs who were unwilling
to submit to the caliphs authority and pay tribute to him. After their defeat near
present-day Riyadh and the death of their chief Musaylimah on the battlefield,
the Banu Hanifa of Yamamah (eastern Nejd) submitted to Islam, as did the rebels
of Bahrain after their defeat. Hudhaifa bin Mihsan was sent by the caliph to subdue the Yazd tribes who controlled the area now occupied by the Emirates and
North Oman. His army was reinforced by the troops of Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, the
Prophets companion who had just crushed the rebels of Yamamah and won the
Battle of Dibba against Laqit bin Malik Dhu al-Tag, the leader of the insurrection.
Following this, the entire Arabian coast of the Gulf embraced Islam.
Having consolidated their power over the Arab tribes during the rule of the
first caliph, the Muslims launched a campaign against Persia under his successor, Umar. The Sassanid Empire, which had adopted Zoroastrianism as its
official religion, was weakened by internal struggles and its rivalry with the
Byzantine Empire. Initially, the Sassanids fought back the incursions by the
newly converted nomadic tribes. After the capture by the caliphs armies of
the Lakhmid capital, al-Hira, on the right bank of the Euphrates, the Persian
war elephants routed the Arab cavalry that had crossed the Euphrates (Battle
of the Bridge, 634). Two years later, the Shahs armies crossed the Euphrates and reached the edge of the Arabian desert. The Persians had the upper
hand for the first two days, until a sandstorm broke out, giving the Arabs an
advantage, as they were more familiar with the territory. The subsequent capture and decapitation of their leader forced the Persians to retreat (Battle of
al-Qadisiyya, 636). The Muslims expanded their domain further with the conquest of the Iranian plateau (Battle of Nahavand, 642). After the death of
Uthman, the third caliph, the Prophets son-in-law Ali was elected caliph. His
legitimacy was disputed by the Sunnis, who had been won over by Muawiyah,
the Umayyad claimant to the caliphate. While he was willing to submit the dispute to arbitration, it was not acceptable to some of his supporters (Kharijites).

12

BRANCHES, SCHOOLS AND SECTS OF ISLAM


Period of establishment and doctrine
outside Gulf
States

viiith-ixth century
Greater emphasis on reasoning,
less constraint

Hana

ixth century
Greater emphasis on the practice of local
community

Maliki

Sunni

ixth century
Greater emphasis on Sunna, consensus of
the Muslim community and not only of the
doctors of law

Shai

original
Hanbali
Wahhabi
Imami
(Twelvers)

viiith century
Close to Sunnism

Shia
Alawi

Nizari

Druze

Kharijites

Ibadi

From
Atlas
des des
religions,
Paris,Paris,
Autrement,
2002. 2002.
FromB.B.Dumortier,
Dumortier,
Atlas
religions,
Autrement,

xviiith century
Condemnation of the cult of saints,
severe conservatism, greater emphasis on
Quran and Sunna
viith century
Divine knowledge and authority of the
Imam, esoteric theology

Zaydi
(Fivers)

Ismaili
(Seveners)

ixth-xth century
Strictness about dogma,
rigorism about moral code

ixth century
Esoterism, syncretism and trinitarianism
xth century
Esoterism, syncretism, and
neoplatonicism
xith century
Esoterism, syncretism and belief in
transmigration of souls
viith century
Eligibility of any pious Muslim to the
leadership of the community, right to revolt
against any ruler who deviates from justice
and consultation

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
SHII CRESCENT, SUNNI AREAS AND IBADI PLACES

MOSQUES AND NEIGHBORHOODS


Shia
Maliki or
Shai
Wahhabi

THE CASE OF KUWAIT SOUTH SUBURBS


N

Ring 6

Ibadi
Desert

Sabah
Al Salem

ce
enden
Indep
ay)
ressw

al Exp

(Istiq

Sunnis represent the faith of the majority in the


Arab world, and play a dominant political role in
Saudi Arabia in its Wahhabi interpretation, while
Shiism, which was declared the official religion by
the founder of the Safavid dynasty in Tabriz in 1501,
is the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran
established in 1979.
Today, more than 90 percent of the native population of the countries and regions of the Gulf are
Muslims, though the presence of large numbers
of Hindu and Christian migrants has considerably

ssway

Ali was assassinated in 661 and his son Hussein was


killed in 680 in the Battle of Karbala. Together with
Najaf (where Ali was buried), Karbala became a holy
city for Shii Muslims, the followers of Ali. The politico-religious dissensions in the early years of Islam,
along with the theological and juridical divergences
during the following centuries, divided Islam into
three sects. All are found around the Gulf, which is
characterized by a very complex religious geography, and thus cannot be considered a simple dividing line between Sunnis and Shiis. Nevertheless,

Al Qurain

ssway

From
of of
International
andand
Public
Afairs,
Columbia
University.
From Gulf/2000
Gulf/2000Project,
Project,School
School
International
Public
Affairs,
Columbia
University.

Expre

100 km

Al Qusor

Expre

sques

ly Mo
o Ho
he Tw

n of t

stodia

hd Cu

Fa
King

Al Adan

Ring

Urban area
Unbuilt area

Fintas

Mosque
0

0,5

1,5 km

From Hamdy El-Gamily, Geoinformatics Center, Kuwait.

From Hamdy El-Gamily, Geoinformatics Center, Kuwait.

altered the proportion of Muslims in the resident


population. The presence of recently constructed
mosques of monumental proportions and the density of neighborhood mosques are reminders of the
dominance of Islam in this region.

13

Singular States

THE ARAB RULING FAMILIES IN THE GULF

In 1507, the conquest by Alfonso de Albuquerque of Hormuz Island, one of the


three key outposts, with Goa and Malacca, of the Portuguese colonial empire
in Asia marks the beginning of a domination that lasted almost one and a
half centuries. The Portuguese, who seized ports in the Gulf of Oman and the
Strait of Hormuz either by force (Muscat and Khor Fakkan) or by conciliation (Sohar), faced numerous rebellions and Ottoman military expeditions. For
defence, they built a series of forts along the coast, some of which have now
been restored. The Gulf was thus opened to trade with the Dutch and the
French who were granted commercial privileges together with the British. The
latter formed alliances with local families and drove away the Portuguese, but
they faced resistance from the seafaring merchant tribes, who are, in colonial
historiography, considered pirates. The British led naval expeditions to ward
off the Ottomans and took advantage of the rivalry between various tribes to
impose truces and treaties until a permanent peace treaty guaranteeing them
PORTUGUESE FORTS 15001650
Gombroon-Comorao

Ar

ab

-P

Catifa

ers

Bahrein

ian

Gul

Hormuz
Queixome

Khasab
Julfar
Libedia
Mada

Doba
Corfaao

Gu

Quelba
Soar
Borca

100

lf o
f Oma
n

Sibo

Matrah
Mascate
Curiate

200 km

FromM.
M.Ramerini,
Ramerini,
The
Portuguese
inArabia
the Arabia
Peninsula
andPersian
in the Gulf,
Persian
Gulf<www.colonialvoyage.com/eng/asia/persian_gulf/>
, 2007,
From
The
Portuguese
in the
Peninsula
and in the
2007,
<www.colonialvoyage.com/eng/asia/persian_gulf/>
M. Ziolkowski,
Excavations
al-Bidiyya:
new light
Portuguese
and
M. Ziolkowski, Excavations at al-Bidiyya: new lightand
on the
Portuguese presence
in the at
Emirates,
Tarabulus,
Al on
Ain,the
Emirates
Natural
presence
in the
Emirates , Tarabulus, Al Ain, Emirates Natural History Group, 1999.
History
Group,
1999.

14

Kuwait

Al Sabah, 1752

Sharjah

Al Qassimi, 1727**

Saudi Arabia

Al Saoud, 1932*

Ajman

Al Nuaimi, 1800

Bahrain

Al Khalifah, 1783

Umm al Quwain

Al Mualla, 1775

Qatar

Al Thani, 1868

Ras al Khaimah

Al Qassimi, 1680

Abu Dhabi

Al Nahyan, 1761

Fujairah

Al Sharqi, 1876

Dubai

Al Maktoum, 1833

Oman

Al Bu Said, 1744

family
already
controlled
a first
Saudi
State
(17441818), then a second
** Foundation
Foundationofofthe
theKingdom
KingdomofofSaudi
SaudiArabia,
Arabia,but
butthe
theSaudi
Saudi
family
allready
controlled
a rst
Saudi
State
Saudi State
(18241891)
(1744-1818),
then
a second Saudi State (18241891)
**The dynasty
with
Al Al
Qasim
BinBin
Rashid
Bin Bin
Mohamed
who who
ruledruled
from from
1575 to
1600.
**The
dynastyconsiders
considersits
itsreign
reignbegining
begining
with
Qasim
Rashid
Mohamed
1575
to 1600.

safe navigation and trade monopoly was signed; this took place only after they
overcame a rather feeble resistance from the French in the southern part of
the Gulf and the ambitions of Germany and its Turkish and Persian allies in
the north. The British gained control over Kuwait and Basra, among the rare
ports at the northern end of the Gulf, as a way of containing the expansionist
designs of the Ottomans and fending off the Germans since, in the beginning
of the twentieth century, controlling the Gulfs oil reserves had become considerably more important than controlling the route to India.
From the arrival of the resident general of the British East India Company in
1763 until the independence of the last British territory in 1971, the Gulf occupied a strategic place in the British Empire. The resident general in the Gulf
was subordinate to the governor of Bombay and the viceroy of India until India
became independent in 1947. Posted in Bushehr on the northern coast until his
transfer to Bahrain in 1947, the resident general coordinated the activities of
British residents and a network of political agents posted in the formal protectorates (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial States) as well as the informal
protectorates (Muscat and Oman) on the southern coast. For more than two
centuries, the British did not interfere with the tribal system that constitutes
the basis of political structures in the Gulf region, where the concept of the
nation-state does not exist. In the traditional Bedouin structure, the sheikhs
exercised a paternalistic and nepotistic authority. They were responsible to provide sustenance for the tribe and ensure its security, consult its elders, receive
its members, and listen to their concerns. They were dismissed if they failed in
their duty. The British made these tribal chiefs sovereigns with the title of emir.
The al-Bu Said rulers, who had built an overseas empire from their capital in
Muscat, assumed the title of sultan and in 1932 Ibn Saud, who ruled the territories that lay outside British control, proclaimed himself King of Saudi Arabia.

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
Their immense oil reserves and political independence increased the power of
these dynasties, which shared part of the oil revenue with their subjects and
legitimized their position by adopting constitutions sanctioning a hereditary
monarchy in which succession is regulated through the institution of the crown
prince. The latter is not necessarily the eldest son, but a member of the family considered to be the most suited to perform the kings duties. Neither the
ruler nor the crown prince are irremovable, as is evident in various instances
in which a king or an emir has been deposed with the familys consent and
replaced by one of his relatives. In this arid land where space is conceived in
terms of the itineraries of nomads rather than in terms of territorial entities
based on tribal allegiances, the rise of independent states raised the question
of borders that were earlier blurred and porous. Boundary disputes and territorial claims have brought into conflict almost all countries around the Gulf
and given rise to a range of geopolitical peculiarities: neutral zones, enclaves,
detached fragments, and no mans lands. Despite the gradual resolution of
these problems in the 1980s and 1990s through bilateral agreements, exchange
of territory, and international arbitration, disputes reappear, especially those
related to sovereignty over islands and uninhabited islets. They remain unresolved because they involve rights over the continental shelf, and therefore
over offshore oil reserves, and represent a major strategic stake in the region
around the Strait of Hormuz. Maritime boundaries, too, are not clearly demarcated and are therefore the subject of bitter disputes.
A CONTROVERSIAL BORDER DEMARCATION
THE CASE OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Ar

ab-

Persian Gulf

Ras al Khaimah

Abu Dhabi
Al Ain

Fujairah

Buraimi

of

lf

Khor-al-Odaid

Gu

Umm al Quwain
Sharjah Ajman
Dubai

Doha

Om

an

Sohar

Muscat

Safaq Wells

Bonayan
Qusaiwara
Al Qarayni

100 km

Ummal-Zumal

TIMELINE OF THE BRITISH PROTECTORATES IN THE GULF REGION


1763

First English East India Company factory established in the Gulf at Basra.

1793

English East India Company factory established in Kuwait.

1798

The Qawasim begin resisting British ambition to control sea trade and
attack British ships.

1805

Royal Navy raid from Bushehr against Qawasim.

1809

Second Royal Navy raid against Qawasim.

1819

Royal Navy expedition from Bombay against Qawasim eet and bases.

1820

Agreement between the English East India Company and the Al Khalifa
of Bahrain ; maritime truce imposed on the Sheikhdoms of the coast.

1835

British-Bahraini Peace Treaty ; General Treaty of Peace imposed by the


British on nine Sheikhdoms.

1853

Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship changing the Arab Sheikhdoms


known as the Pirate Coast in British historiography into the Trucial States.

1861

Bahrain signs Protectorate Agreement with Britain.

1868

Anglo-Bahraini agreement by which Britain recognized the Al-Thani rulers of Bahrain.

1892

Trucial States signs Protectorate Agreement with Britain.

1899

Kuwait sign Protectorate Agreement with Britain.

1904

British political resident assigned to Kuwait.

1913

British monopoly on oil exploration and exploitation.

1916

Qatar signs Protectorate Agreement with Britain.

1935

Royal Navy Gulf Headquarters are moved from Bushehr to Bahrain.

1940

British political agent assigned to Dubai.

1946

Senior British ocial in the Middle East is moved from Bushehr to


Bahrain.

1956

Anti-British riots in Bahrain.

1961

Independence of Kuwait.

1963

Anti-British general strike in Qatar.

1971

Independence of Bahrain, Qatar and the Trucial states.


Foundation of the UAE.

Various sources,
Various
sources,particularly
particularly<www.britishempire.co.uk>
<www.britishempire.co.uk>

Border claimed by Saudi Arabia on


04/03/1935
Border proposed by Sir A. Ryan on
11/25/1935 or Riyadh Line
Claim by Saudi Arabia in 1949
Claim by Abu Dhabi in 1949
Claim by Qatar in 1952
Adjustment of Riyadh Line on
10/26/1955
UAE / Qatar border (1971-1995)
Contemporary border

From Ch. Dallaporta, Les transferts institutionnels et politiques dans lmirat dAbou Dhabi , Politique trangre, n 6, 1974.

From Ch. Dallaporta, Les transferts institutionnels et politiques dans lmirat dAbou Dhabi, Politique trangre, n 6, 1974.

15

Water Scarcity

AN ARID ENVIRONMENT: LOW PRECIPITATION, HIGH TEMPERATURE


30N
30

Kuwait

45

Bushehr

45

35

The countries around the Gulf suffer from varying degrees of aridity, ranging
from semi-aridity on the Iranian coast to total aridity on the Arabian coast.
Low, scant, and irregular rainfall combines with high temperatures, bright sunshine, and strong winds. These factors are conducive to evaporation, which is
further increased by sparse vegetation, which itself is a result of these climatic
conditions. There is a permanent shortage of water even in coastal regions
where the atmospheric humidity, which normally exceeds 90 percent, brings
mists and fogs but no rain because the stagnation of subtropical high pressure cells blocks the upward movement of air currents that brings rain. Except
for the mountainous areas, where orographic updrafts release rain, the annual
rainfall is usually less than 100 millimetres and on rare occasions exceeds
300millimetres; the average number of days when there is rain varies between
10 and 20 in a year. The rain, which usually comes down as heavy showers,
occurs between November and April, with several months without a single
drop; however this does not rule out indirect precipitation in the form of nocturnal dew. In addition to strong seasonal variations, there is also a strong multiyear variation (in Abu Dhabi, in February, which is the wettest month, the
rainfall varied between 0 and 202.3 millimetres over the last two decades). The
average annual temperature exceeds 25C. The short and mild winter, when
the average temperature ranges between 10 and 20C (depending on location)
in January, which is the coldest month of the year, is followed by a long torrid
summer with the average temperature in July and August rising above 30C
and reaching an absolute maximum over 45C.

35

25

15
5

45

35

25
J Ap Au

15

Bandar Abbas
J Ap Au

25
15
5

J Ap Au

45

35
25

15
5
Annual
rainfall
(mm)

0
100
200
400
600
1,000

Monthly
temperature
( Celsius)
Average
maxima
Average
minima

25

45

35
25
25

J Ap Au

15

Abu Dhabi

J Ap Au

Muscat

Tropic of Cancer

100

200 km

FromG.
G. Blake
Blake et
and
TheCambridge
Cambridge
Atlas
of the
Middle
North
Africa,
Cambridge
University
1989
for rainfalls
and
From
al.,al.,
The
Atlas
of the
Middle
EastEast
andand
North
Africa,
Cambridge
University
Press, Press,
1989 for
rainfalls
and World
World Meteorological
Organization
for temperatures.
Meteorological
Organization
for temperatures.

The rain, which evaporates or seeps into the ground almost immediately, is not enough to feed the perennial streams; the rain in the Zagros
Mountains feeds the rivers on the Iranian coast, while the wadis flow
intermittently in the foothills of Oman and its border regions. Due to
the shortage of surface water, ground water reserves are extremely precious. There has been an irreversible fall in the level of the water tables of

AVERAGE MONTHLY RAINFALL SHOWING PREDOMINANT WINTER PRECIPITATION


Unit : mm

January

February

March

April

May

June

October

November

Kuwait City

25.5

15.5

13.3

14.8

3.8

3.3

13.8

17.3

107.3

Abu Dhabi

3.9

42

24.8

7.3

0.1

1.8

94.9

Muscat

15.2

19.7

17.7

13.2

3.7

0.6

3.7

1.8

0.9

5.9

15.3

97.7

Bandar Abbas

39.7

47.5

34.8

10.7

4.8

0.6

2.2

0.8

1.3

24

171.4

Bushehr

66.4

33.9

20.3

8.7

1.5

8.4

27.3

62

228.5

Datafrom
fromWorld
WorldMeteorological
Meteorological
Organization,
World
Weather
Information
Data
Organization,
World
Weather
Information
Service. Service.

16

July

August

September

December

Annual total

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
fossil aquifers dating back to a more rainy climatic environmentthose have
been discovered and tapped by deep drilling. At the same time, phreatic
groundwater reserves are not sufficiently recharged because more water is
being extracted on account of economic growth and changing lifestyles. Traditional societies treated water as a precious commodity and used it sparingly.
It was thus possible to maintain not only the quantity but also the quality of
groundwater reserves that are now threatened by salinization. Just as the flora
and fauna display a remarkable ability to adapt themselves to arid climatic
conditions, human beings, too, used to adapt themselves to water shortages,
either by leading a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence or by farming land in
oases thanks to ancestral water management and irrigation techniques.
Today, the growing difference between consumption and available resources
of potable water has made the Arabian shore of the Gulf increasingly dependent on the desalinization of seawater, a process that satisfies 60 percent of
its needs. This figure has reached 98 percent in the United Arab Emirates,
which ranks second (after the United States) in the consumption of water

for domestic use with a figure of 373 litres per person per day. In 2005, Saudi
Arabia accounted for almost a quarter of the worlds desalinization capacity
with giant plants and innumerable small local units along its two coasts. Other
states continually add to their desalinization capacity to satisfy their growing needs. Since the most commonly used technologies like reverse osmosis
(filtering water through very fine membranes trapping minerals) and multistage flash distillation are energy intensive, desalinization and power plants
are associated.

TOWARDS THE PRIVATISATION OF TWO INTERLINKED STRATEGIC SECTORS

Abu Musa
Wasit

THE DEPENDENCE UPON DESALINATION OF SEA WATER

Layyah

Iraq
10

Jebel Ali

ab

-P

er

si

an

Gu

Taweelah

Abu Dhabi

lf

UAE
Gul

Saudi Arabia
1 030
Main desalination plant

Sourcefor
forwater
water
production
volume
: Aquastat,
FAO, 2008.
Source
production
volume:
Aquastat,
FAO, 2008.

Al Ain

Mirfa
Qatar
180

Production of desalinated water in


2000 (million m3)
Production of desalinated water in
2005 (million m3)
2005 data

Umm al Nar

Shuwaihat

Bahrain
102

950

Aweer

Khor
Fakkan

Kalba

Iran
200

Ar

Kuwait
420

Fujairah
(Qifda)

UAE
950

f of Om
an

Madinat Zayed

100

200 km

3,226
1,500
1,000
500
100

Oman
109
0

Production of electricity
(in megawatt*)

25

50

75

100 km

(* million watts)

Production of fresh water


(million liters per day)

Public
power
plant

1018

Private
power
plant

100

500

Public
desalination
plant
Private
desalination
plant

FromB.B.Dumortier,
Dumortier,
Lambert,
Vers
la privatisation
d'un double
secteur stratgique
: l'eau etaux
l'lectricit
aux mirats
From
L. L.
Lambert,
Vers
la privatisation
d'un double
secteur stratgique:
l'eau et l'lectricit
mirats arabes
unis, arabes
Maghreb-Machrek,
n 191, 2007.n 191, 2007.
unis , Maghreb-Machrek,

17

Oases and Pastoral Nomadism

AN INHERITED GRAVITY IRRIGATION SYSTEM


THE QANAT / FALAJ

Section
Underground collection
part of the tunnel

Traces of human habitation dating back more than 7,000 years have been
discovered on the shores of the Gulf. Around the fifth millennium BC, at the
Holocene Climate Optimum, the region received a little more rain and the
people of the early Neolithic Age, who lived in fortified enclosures, devised a
mixed farming system. But as the climate became more arid after 4000 BC, the
area under cultivation was reduced. The people, who started cultivating date
palms and cereals at that time, were concentrated around oases where groundwater could be accessed by manually digging wells. The domestication of
dromedaries at the end of the second millennium and the invention of gravity
irrigation techniques (called falaj in Arabic and qanat in Persian) to mobilize
hydrogeological resources in the mountainous regions constituted important
milestones. In the tribal system, control over watering holes and grazing lands
was determined by the balance of power and alliances between tribes and the
economy depended on the complementarities between the oases, the desert
and the sea. The combination of pastoral nomadism and irrigated sedentary
agriculture is a way to adapt to the arid environment. In the oases, the sharing
of water is determined by unwritten rules, with special jurisdiction to define
the right to water and to resolve conflicts. The oases, which have served as
stopping places and markets for caravans, have groves of palm trees for local
consumption and exchange of surplus for salt and dried fish from the coast.
THE OASIAN SYSTEM
Meticulous use
of soil resources
by arboricultural and
gardening techniques

Optimum use
of water resources
by water management
and irrigation systems

Oasis :
an anthropized bioclimatic
environment
Creation of an oasian
microclimate thanks
to shade cultivation

Development of
subsidiary activities to
agricultural production

From A. Cariou, La Mise en valeur de lcosystme aride, le cas des oasis dEl An et de Liwa, Oasian Studies Workshop, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi,
From
2010. A. Cariou, La Mise en valeur de lcosystme aride, le cas des oasis dEl An et de Liwa, Oasian Studies Workshop, Paris Sorbonne University

Abu Dhabi, 2010.

18

Conveyance part

Open channel

Irrigated area

Shaft for repair and cleaning


Village
Agriculture
Groundwater surface
Impermeable rock

Plan

Underground collection part

Open channel

Oasis

Shaft for repair and cleaning

There are also citrus, banana, mango, and pomegranate trees. In the shade
of the trees, oasis-dwellers grow fodder, vegetables, and aromatic herbs. The
oases and their surrounding areas are also used for goat, sheep, and poultry
farming.
The advent of the petroleum era has not sounded the death knell for agriculture, but has led to the sedentarization of the nomads. The camel, a symbol
of Bedouin identity that served simultaneously as a mount, a draught animal,
a supplier of milk and meat, as well raw materials for traditional cottage industries, now enjoys a great iconic value. The construction of camel racetracks
and the organization of camel races encourage the loose housing of camels
and the raising of purebreds. High-priced food products and cosmetics made
from camels milk have recently appeared in the market. Similarly, the cultivation of dates has increased with the popularity of branded varieties and top
quality condiments and confectionery products made from dates.
Although they have benefited from new equipments (e.g., the cementing
and covering of canals and the installation of electric pumps), the oases are
now showing signs of abandonment. They have been deserted by their original
inhabitants, who have handed over their maintenance to foreign agricultural
labourers. Near the old oases, new irrigation perimeters have been developed thanks to deep drilling in the fossil aquifers. In case of depletion of the
aquifer, the water supply comes from the desalination plants on the coast.

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
LIWA, WESTERN REGION OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
A WELL IRRIGATION

LIWA, WESTERN REGION OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES


A WELL IRRIGATION

Well
Well

Dynamic dune

Pleistocene dune

Clayey sand

Quaternary aquifer

From A. Cariou, La Mise en valeur de lcosystme aride, le cas des oasis dEl An et de Liwa, Oasian Studies Workshop, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi,

From A. Cariou, La Mise en valeur de lcosystme aride, le cas des oasis dEl An et de Liwa, Oasian Studies Workshop, Paris Sorbonne University
2010.
Dynamic dune
Pleistocene dune
Clayey sand
Quaternary aquifer
Abu Dhabi, 2010.

FROM
SEMI-NOMADIC
TO SEDENTARIZATION
From
A. Cariou,
La Mise en valeur deLIFE
lcosystme
aride, le cas des oasis dEl An et de Liwa, Oasian Studies Workshop, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi,
2010.
Mafraq
Al Khatim

FROM SEMI-NOMADIC LIFE TO SEDENTARIZATION


Ruwais

Mafraq

Mirfa
Mirfa

Ghayathli

Habchan
to
Qatar

Habchan

Traditional itinerary of the


UAE
Bani Yas
interior to coast
summer
to
fishing
Traditional itinerary of the bases
winter
to Liwa
Bani Yas
interior to coast
oasis to desert
summer
to fishing bases
summer
to croplands
winter
to Liwa
winter
to grasslands
oasis to desert
Arada
summer
to croplands
winter
to grasslands

SAUDI ARABIA

to
Abu Dhabi
Madinat Zayed

Bin Hamad

Madinat Zayed

Fijrah
Bin Hamad

to

UAEQatar

Arada

Source : unpublished papers of the authors.

SAUDI ARABIA

Al Khatim

to
Abu Dhabi

Ruwais
Ghayathli

under government supervision. Circular patches on which cereals are grown in


the middle of the desert are a remnant of the desire (which soon proved illusory) in the 1980s and 1990s to attain self-sufficiency. To reconcile food security
with water resources management, purchases of agricultural land in Africa and
Eastern Europe began during the first decade of the twenty-first century. In
the vicinity of urban consumer markets, palm groves have given way to the
cultivation of cash crops, often grown in greenhouses, to meet the demands
of a wealthy cosmopolitan clientele. New crops like lettuce, spinach, and basil
have been introduced along with organic farming. As for the conversion of
oases into heritage sites, which formed the spearhead of the domestic tourism
development program, often unskilful renovation undertaken in the 1990s has
now been replaced by restoration actions caring about authenticity and reviving vernacular know-how. Finally, some oases have been integrated within the
urban areas that have developed around them.

HATTA OASIS, A DUBAI TERRITORY


A TOURIST DESTINATION

Arjan
Arjan

to
Al Ain
to
Al Ain

Built area

Wadi

Heritage Village

Foothills

Palm grove

Mountain

New irrigated area


Market

Fijrah

Mosque

Mizaira
Mizaira

School

Sedentarization village
Palm grove

LIWA
LIWA

Fort
Police station

Oasis
Sedentarization village
New irrigated
Palm
grove area
Hamim

Oasis
New town

20 km
Hamim

Oil city
New town

20 km

Oil city

Clinic
Bus station

New
irrigated area
Resort
Resort

Source : unpublished papers of the authors.

200

400 m

From Digital globe, CNES/Spot Image 2010 and Hatta Heritage Village map.

Small and medium-size farms have been given to nationals who prefer market
gardening and fodder crops to arboriculture, if they do not simply regard agriculture as a leisure. Large capital intensive farms, often experimental, are run

From Digital globe, CNES/Spot Image 2010 and Hatta Heritage Village map.

19

Marine Resources

We are all, from the most powerful to the humblest among us, slaves of just
one mistress: the pearl. This remark, made by the emir of Qatar in 1863, is
echoed by the British agent, J. G. Lorimer, who wrote in 1915 that pearl diving
was the Persian Gulfs prime industry and the principal and the only source
of wealth of the people living on the Arabian coast. Pearl diving was practiced
from ancient times on both the Persian and Arabian coasts. On the Arabian
coast, it was practiced from places located at quite a distance from the oyster
beds but with an ample supply of water and agricultural produce like Julphar
(Ras al-Khaimah) or from simple bases like Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. It prospered in Bahrain, which was located close to oyster beds and relatively well
supplied with water. When the price of pearls, which were in fashion in the
royal courts of Europe, rose in the eighteenth century, ports were developed
in the Qatar Peninsula and the proceeds from the sale of pearls were used to
import food and even water for the fishing crews. Only Oman, where Muscat
was a major market for mother-of-pearl, did not join the pearling industry. An
Assyrian inscription dating to the beginning of the third millennium BC and
descriptions by medieval Arab geographers state that diving for pearl oysters
was an important activity for many centuries.
Faced by competition from Japanese cultured pearls and later by the economic depression of 1929, pearling disappeared from the Gulf around the time
of the development of the oil industry. Pearling had given rise to marked social
disparities, together with chronic and hereditary indebtedness among the
divers. A merchant with contacts with European brokers would act on behalf
of reputed jewellers, or with Indian intermediaries dealing in pearls in Bombay
and advance money to a captain to equip his boat, thus bypassing the religious
ban on lending money on interest by buying pearls from him at a price well
below their market value. The captain in turn paid his diving crew in advance,
which put them, and even their children, at his mercy. The latter were initiated
into this arduous and hazardous profession when they were barely seven years
old. Depending on the temperature of the water into which the divers plunged
to a depth of more than 15 meters, pearling operations were conducted in four
seasons: the main season lasting from the middle of May to the end of September was flanked by two cold diving seasons in April and October, while in

20

PEARL DIVING: AN ABANDONED TRADITION


The pearlshing eet at the
5500'
beginning of XXth century
(number of boats)

5000'E

% of pearl divers in total


population at the beginning
3000' N
of XXth century

1,000

5 to 25

500
250
100
50

Kharg
Kuwait

25 to 50
more than 50

Area mapped by J. G. Lorimer (Gazetteer of the


Persian Gulf Oman and Central Arabia, vol. 1 :
Historical, Calcutta, 1915)
Location of major pearl oyster banks at
the beginning of XXth century

Shib Kuh

Qatif

Lengeh

Ras al Khaimah
Umm al Quwain
Ajman

Bahrain

Sharjah
Qatar

100 km

2500'

Dubai
Abu
Dhabi

From R. Carter, "The History and Prehistory of Pearling in the Persian Gulf", Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 48-2, 2005.
From
R. Carter, The History and Prehistory of Pearling in the Persian Gulf, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient,
482, 2005, 139209.

winter the pearl fishers waded into shallow waters to collect pearls. Thanks to
pearling, this region became a part of distant commercial circuits and a monetary economy quite early in its history. If one were to add Dubais involvement
in gold smuggling under the British Empire in the nineteenth century, it is easy
to understand how, because of its long familiarity with the gold and jewellery
trade, it rapidly emerged as the worlds top diamond trading centre: with the
help of the leading Belgian and Indian diamond merchants, Dubai cleverly
took advantage of the suspension of special tax regulations in Antwerp.
On the Arab Gulf, sometimes supposed to be the Land of the Ichtyophagy
of ancient texts, fish, together with rice and dates, is the staple food of the
locals. It is consumed not only by the coastal population, but also by people
living inland because it is exchanged and exported.

the gulf: a strategic space between the sea and the desert
THE DEVELOPMENT OF FISHING

SEA FISHING: AN ACTIVE ECONOMIC SECTOR


Fish captures by country
in 2006 (tons)
375,000

5000'E

Iraq*

150,000

Kuwait

50,000
15,000
5,000

Iran*

Saudi Arabia

Bahrain

2500'

Qatar

100 km

(* except continental waters shing)

United Arab Emirates

Oman

Data from FAO, Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics 2006, Roma, 2008.

Data from FAO, Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics 2006, Rome, 2008.

Dried fish is sold as human food as well as cattle fodder. Traditional fishing
methods are encouraged today along with the development of new methods. Small-scale fishing in flimsy boats made of palm fronds, or more solid
wooden boats now equipped with outboard motors, is practiced in coastal
waters side-by-side with large-scale fishing in traditional dhows and modern trawlers. Modernization of the fishing fleet, the development of fishing
ports, and the construction of cold-storage plants and deep freeze units have
enabled the United Arab Emirates to remain self-sufficient in seafood in spite
of tremendous population growth. Oman exports a part of its catch to neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia, while crustaceans are exported to
more distant overseas markets. However, there has been a fall in the catch
in recent years as a result of pollution in the sea and overfishing from those
using modern fishing techniques. Measures have been taken recently to conserve fish stocks.

IN THE UAE AND IN OMAN


Captures
(1000 tons)
200
190
180
170
160
150
140
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Oman
UAE

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

Data from
from FAO.
FAO.

FISHING AND OVERFISHING IN ABU DHABI


CAPTURES

OVEREXPLOITED SPECIES

(total in tons)
7,000

100 % of captures
Hamour - Epinephelus coioides

6,000
5,000

Chanaad - Scomberomorus commerson

4,000

Sa - Siganus canaliculatus

3,000
2,000

Farsh - Diagramma pictum

1,000
0

Sha'ari - Lethrinus nebulosus

2005
Pelagic
shes

Benthic
shes

Maximum level of captures


for species conservation

Overshing

From Environment
Dhabi.
From
EnvironmentAgency,
Agency,Abu
Abu
Dhabi.

21

The Gulf: The Heart of the Worlds Energy Reserves

Petroleum, a Complex Sector

Hydrocarbons are compounds of carbon and hydrogen resulting from the


alteration of organic matter that produce petroleum and gas when these
organic sediments (kerogen) are buried under specific conditions. Hydrocarbon droplets contained in source rocks are expelled when sufficient energy is
imparted. They then migrate and accumulate in reservoir rocks. Hydrocarbons
may remain trapped between impermeable strata (seal rocks) that block their
vertical or lateral migration in certain geological structures. Depending on
their origin, hydrocarbons have different degrees of viscosity and may contain

A CARTEL FORMED BY MAJOR OIL COMPANIES


THE STRUCTURE OF IRAQ PETROLEUM
COMPANY IN
Anglo-Persian Oil Company
23.75 %

Royal Dutch Shell


23.75 %

TYPES OF OIL TRAPS

Near East Development Corporation


23.75 %
Calouste Gulbenkian
5%

Fault

Discordance

Diapir

Chalck

Clay

Gas

Water

Dolomites

Halite (rock salt)

Oil

Well drilling

From B.B.Dumortier,
Gographie
de lOrient
arabe, arabe,
ArmandArmand
Colin, 1997
and 1997
P.-A. Bourque
From
Dumortier,
Gographie
de lOrient
Colin,
and P.-A.(www.ggl.ulaval.ca/planete_terre.html)
Bourque (www.ggl.ulaval.ca/planete_terre.html).

24

Standard Oil of New Jersey (Exxon)


30 %

Standard Oil
of California (Chevron)
30 %

Compagnie franaise
des ptroles
23.75 %

A VISCOUS ROCK ASSOCIATED WITH GAS

Anticlinal

THE STRUCTURE OF ARAMCO IN

Texas Oil Company (Texaco)


30 %
Standard Oil
of New York (SOCONY)
10 %

varying quantities of sulphur. The most prized qualities are the light crudes
with low sulphur content. Some crudes (e.g., Arabian Light, Dubai Light, Iranian Heavy) are coted as benchmark oil prices.
Established in the United States, the oil industry spread to other countries
in the early twentieth century; at that point, the Middle East became the main
area of rivalry between governments and corporate alliances. The British held
a monopoly in Iran, where the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, predecessor of
British Petroleum, was established in 1913, and a dominant position in Iraq.
In Saudi Arabia, however, their power was undermined by the Americans,
who set up Aramco in 1933. In 1928, the Red Line and Achnacarry Agreements
sealed the trade arrangements between the major western oil companies, who
shared among themselves the underground reserves of the ancient Ottoman
Empire, and the oil market. One-sided contracts were signed between local
rulers and the oil companies, which paid fixed royalties; after World War II,
the major oil companies were forced to accept the principle of fifty-fifty.
In Iran, the oil was nationalized in 1951 by the Mossadegh government, which

the gulf: the heart of the worlds energy reserves


National Companies

Date of creation

Iran

NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company)

1948

Kuwait

KNP (Kuwait National Petroleum)

1960

Iraq

INOC (Iraq National Oil Company)

1966

Abu Dhabi

ADNOC ( Abu Dhabi National Oil Company)

1971

Qatar

QP (Qatar Petroleum)

1974

Bahrain

BANOCO (Bahrain National Oil Company)

1976

Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARAMCO (Arabian American Oil Company)

1988

Oman

OOC (Oman Oil Company)

1996

NATIONAL COMPANIES OPERATING IN ALL AREAS OF THE INDUSTRY


THE CASE OF ABU DHABI NATIONAL OIL COMPANY

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

Exploration and
production

ADCO

ADMAZADCO
OPCO

Exploration and
production
services

NDC

Oil and gas


processing

Chemical and
petrochemical
industry

Transportation

Distribution

ESNAAD IRSHAD GASCO ADGAS TAKREER FERTIL BOROUGE ADNATCO NGSCO

ADNOC
Distribution

From ADNOC.

From ADNOC.

was overthrown two years later by the CIA (Operation Ajax). A consortium
of western companies then took control of the Iranian oil industry, until the
Islamic Revolution in 1979. On the Arabian side, the nationalization process
has been completed in all countries except Oman. The relations between the
national oil companies, which have gradually taken over the entire operation,
and multinational firms, which benefit from technological expertise, are based
on extremely complex legal and financial arrangements, while small independent companies, like the Russian ones firmly entrenched in Iran, and the
increasingly active Asian companies, have induced an even more complex situation. OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), established
in 1960 to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers consists
of five founding members (Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela),
four of them Gulf countries, which were later joined by Qatar and the United
Arab Emirates. This cartel of petroleum-exporting countries manipulated the
price of oil during the 1970s by controlling its production through a system of
quotas. The Arab countries of the Gulf, with the exception of Oman, are also
members of OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries),
established in 1968. Since 1973, when the first oil crisis occurred, the price of
oil has fluctuated in response to the world economic situation and regional
political upheavals, reaching a historic high price in the 2000s.

OIL MARKET VOLATILITY


Average price of crude oil
( $ per barrel)
140
130
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

1973

75

80

85

90

95

2000

05

Data
fromUNCTAD.
UNCTAD.
Data from

25

Oil Production and Reserves

Oil continues to play a preponderant role in the worlds energy budget; its share
has remained stable at 40 percent since 1990. It is the most widely used source
of energy and will remain so during the coming years: the global demand for
oil, which rose from 75 million barrels per day in 2000 to 82.5 million in 2005, is
expected to reach 115 million in 2020. This increased demand is a result of the
persistently high rate of oil consumption in industrialized countries, especially
in the area of transport, but even more so because of the rise in consumption
in emerging and developing countries, particularly in Asia: China and India
have become major actors on the oil stage. As recent assessments show that
their reserves are higher than presumed, the Gulf states will play an increasing role in satisfying the growing demand for petroleum. In 2007, Gulf oilfields
produced 23 million barrels per day, i.e. about 28 percent of the worlds crude.
The Gulfs proven reserves amount to 735 billion barrels of exploitable crude
oil, i.e. 55 percent of the worlds proven reserves.
Although oil is a shared regional characteristic, it also constitutes, at a finer
level of analysis, a differentiating factor between the Gulf states, taking into
account the time drilling operations started, as well as the volume of production and reserves. Petroleum was used in the region for caulking, lighting, and
medicinal purposes since antiquity, but modern oil drilling began in Iran before
World War I (1901). During the 1930s, oil was discovered in the Basra region
(the fields of the Kirkuk region have been exploited since 1927); in Bahrain; a
little later in Saudi Arabia; and then, on the eve of World War II, in Kuwait and
in Qatar. After the war, the centre of world oil production shifted from America to the Gulf, where drilling zones moved gradually from the north towards
the south, spreading mainly along the coast with the discovery of littoral and
sub-littoral deposits. In the 1960s, the first barrels of oil were produced in the
Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai and some years later in Oman.

MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE WORLDS OIL PRODUCTION


LARGEST CRUDE OIL PRODUCERS IN 2006

GULF STATES

Iraq
2,014

Iran
4,150

Kuwait
2,665

Bahrain
46
Qatar
1,131

Saudi
Arabia
10,659

UAE
2,936

Oman
746

1000 km

5000 km

10,659
5,000
1,000
10

1000 barrels per day


(over 10,000 b/d)

Datafrom
fromAnnual
AnnualEnergy
EnergyReview,
Review,2007.
2007.
Data

MORE THAN HALF OF THE WORLDS CRUDE OIL RESERVES


TOP PROVEN OIL RESERVES IN 2006

GULF STATES

Iran
132

Iraq
115

Gulf
States
737

5000 km

billion barrels
(over 0,5)

Data from Oil and Gas Journal, December 2007.


Data from Oil and Gas Journal, December 2007.

26

Gulf
Countries
24,347

267
100
20
0.5

Kuwait
104

Qatar
15

Saudi
Arabia
267

UAE
98
Oman
6

1000 km

the gulf: the heart of the worlds energy reserves


Saudi Arabia, which started drilling operations
in the 1930s and has high production volumes with
easily extractable top quality crude, competes with
Russia for first place. Saudi Arabia, which has the
worlds highest oil reserves, produces 40 percent
of the Gulfs oil and holds one-fifth of the worlds
reserves. By contrast, Bahrain has almost exhausted
its reserves, while Qatar, which has more gas than
oil, and Oman are small producers with limited prospects. Iran (ranked fourth in the world in terms of
production and third in terms of reserves), followed
by the United Arab Emirates (ranked eighth in
terms of production and sixth in terms of reserves),
90 percent of whose production is contributed by
the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait (ranked eleventh in terms of production and fifth in terms of
reserves) are among the big producers. In spite of
the disruption of its oil sector, Iraq remains a fairly

large producer (ranked fifteenth in the world). The


contribution of its northern oilfields in Kurdistan
(0.3 million bbl/d) to the national production is of
secondary importance as compared to the production of its southern oilfields in Lower Mesopotamia
(1.9 million bbl/d). Since it extracts less than its
production capacity, Iraq still has enormous proven
reserves (ranked fourth in the world), three-quarters of which are located in the countrys southern
region. This estimate is manifestly lower than the
countrys probable reserves, considering that there
has been no oil prospecting since the 1980s. Only
at the end of May, 2012, has Iraq again auctioned
off a limited number of exploration licenses for oil
and gas.
The evolution of oil production in the entire
region has followed the development of the world
oil market: a rapid growth until 1974; readjustment

ONE GIANT, FOUR MAJOR AND


THREE MINOR PRODUCERS

LARGE RESERVES
REVISED UPWARDS

Crude oil production

Proven crude oil reserves

(1000 barrels per day)

(billion barrels)

12,000

300

10,000

250

8,000

Saudi Arabia
Iran
Iraq
UAE
Kuwait
Bahrain
Oman
Qatar

6,000
4,000
2,000
0

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

Data
EnergyInformation
Information
Administration,
Datafrom
from Energy
Administration,
OctoberOctober
2008. 2008.

200
150
100
50
0

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

Data
fromEnergy
Energy
Information
Administration,
2008.
Data from
Information
Administration,
January January
2008.

FIELDS EASY TO OPERATE AND ACCESS,


FREQUENTLY OFFSHORE

100 200

300 km

in the period between 1974 and 1980, with significant annual variations in annual production in the
different countries; fall in production between 1980
and 1985; revival and steady growth since 1985, with
some turbulences after the 1990s. Though Saudi
Arabia is adjusting to these trends or is trying to
curve them by playing on OPEC quotas and on its
own extraction level, the production graphs of its
neighbors are affected by regional crises. The fall of
production in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution
was brought under control in 1981, while Kuwait,
whose production had fallen drastically after its
invasion by Iraq in 1991, restored production to its
earlier level in 1993. As for oil production in Iraq,
it has suffered from the effects of thirty years of
political and military turmoil: the Iraq-Iran war in
the 1980s, the invasion of Kuwait and the western
embargo during the 1990s, and then the American
intervention and chaos in the 2000s.

27

Gas Production and Reserves

Every oilfield also contains gas, a methane-rich fuel. This associated gas, which
was flared in the past, it is now frequently re-injected into the wells to improve
the oil recovery rate, or is processed. Gas fields that do not contain any oil produce natural gas. Before it can be transported by sea, gas must be liquefied at
a very low temperature (163C) so as to reduce its volume significantly (600
times). This liquefied natural gas (LNG) is different from liquefied petroleum
gas (LPG) obtained either by refining petroleum or by processing gas rich in
heavy hydrocarbons extracted from oil or gas fields.
These technical details explain variations in the figures from one publication to another and in the classification of the countries with regard to their
gas production. The variations depend on whether or not the figures include
associated gas, consider only the gross production of natural gas, as on the
map, or the LNG production as on the chart. The latter indicator is more
adequate to give an idea of the place occupied by producers from the Gulf
in the international market. In fact, while the hierarchy of oil producers is
not very different from that of oil exporters, the same does not hold true in
the case of natural gas, whose transport requires a greater investment, with
the result that slightly more than a quarter of the global production of gas is
traded internationally. On one hand, even though Iran, which accounted for
3.7 percent of the world production in 2006, is the fourth largest producer of
natural gas after the Russian Federation, the United States, and Canada, it is
not a large exporter. On the other hand, Qatar, which unlike Iran and Saudi
Arabia (ranked ninth with 2.2 percent of the world production) does not figure
among the top ten producers of natural gas, is one of the worlds major exporters. Though Russia, Canada, Norway, and Algeria export very large quantities
of gas through pipelines, Qatar is the worlds top exporter of LNG, ahead of
Indonesia.

LESS DOMINANT IN GAS THAN IN OIL


GULF STATES

LARGEST NATURAL GAS PRODUCERS IN 2006

Iran
169

Iraq
12

Kuwait
14
Bahrain Qatar
14
62
Saudi
Arabia
85

Gulf
States
459
UAE
73
Oman
30

1000 km

5000 km

Data from
from World
World Gas
Gas Intelligence,
2007.
Data
Intelligence, 2007.

A GROWING SHARE IN GAS

GULF STATES

TOP PROVEN GAS RESERVES IN 2006

Gulf
States
71,879

Iraq
92
Kuwait
1,586

Iran
27,500

Qatar
25,783

Bahrain
829

UAE
6,848

Saudi
Arabia
6,071

5000 km

billion m
(over 100)

Data from
from World
Data
World Gas
Gas Intelligence,
Intelligence, 2007.
2007.

28

666
250
100
5

billion m
(over 5)

47,500
25,000
5,000
100

Oman
3,170
0

1000 km

the gulf: the heart of the worlds energy reserves


had been neglected, but is now the first choice for
running industrial installations, power plants, and
desalinization units. The growing production will
also allow an increase of the export. In all Gulf
countries taken together, the production of LNG
quadrupled between 1980, when it represented
15 percent of global production, and 2007, when it
represented 30 percent.
Since exploitation began for gas much later than
oil and exploration intensified only after the 1970s,
proven gas reserves in the Gulf states, estimated to
be 41 percent of the worlds reserves, show a significant rise during the last thirty years. After Russia,
four Gulf countries are among the five biggest holders of natural gas reserves. Iran and Qatar shared
almost equally 30 percent of the worlds proven
reserves in 2008. The worlds largest gas field, crossing the maritime border between the two countries,
is called North Dome in Qatar where it covers an

IRAN
Arab-Persian Gulf
Iran
Qatar

South Pars

North Dome

QATAR

THE NEW GEOGRAPHY


OF NATURAL GAS RESERVES

A STRONG HIERARCHY
BETWEEN LNG EXPORTERS

Maritime boundary
0

10

20

30

40

50 km

FromIHS
IHSEnergy.
Energy.
From

(trillion m)

(1000 barrels per day)

Gas eld

Doha

Proven reserves of natural gas

Liquefied natural gas production

30,000

1,400

25,000

1,200
1,000

Saudi Arabia
Iran
Iraq
UAE
Kuwait
Bahrain
Oman
Qatar

800
600
400
200
0
1980

THE WORLD LARGEST GAS FIELD

Bahra
in
Qatar

The Gulf states are expected to play an increasingly important role in the supply of gas; since the
1970s consumption has been rising rapidlyat the
rate of 2.5 percent per yearbecause of the growing industrialization of developing and emerging
countries. Natural gas is still under-exploited and
under-utilized by two of the regions largest producers. In Iran, where 65 percent of the gas production
is marketed, 18 percent re-injected, and 17 percent
lost, natural gas accounts for 49 percent of the
countrys energy consumption. It accounts for only
40 percent in Saudi Arabia, where 14 percent of
the gas is lost, while production remains limited as
compared to its vast existing reserves. In Qatar, on
the contrary, where gas accounts for 79 percent of
the national energy consumption, the production of
natural gas has more than tripled between 1995 and
2005 and should increase six times over between
2005 and 2015. In the United Arab Emirates, gas

1985

1990

1995

2000

Data from Energy Information Administration, October 2008.

2005

Data from Energy Information Administration, October 2008.

20,000
15,000
10,000
5,000
0
1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

Data from Energy Information Administration, January 2008.

2005

Data from Energy Information Administration, January 2008.

area of 6,000 km2 and South Pars in Iran where it


stretches over 3,700 km2 and accounts for 47 percent
of the Islamic Republics gas reserves. Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates, which share just
under 8 percent of the world proven reserves, are
ahead of the United States. But according to the
geologists, the regions probable reserves exceed
by 20 percent the proven reserves. The distortion is
likely to be higher in Iraq and also in Oman.

29

Processing and Transport of Oil and Gas

A mixture of hydrocarbons, crude oil requires a refining process that depends


on its physical and chemical properties, which differ from one oilfield to
another, and also on its ultimate use (industry, fuel, petrochemical industries).
It must be purified, desulfurized, and refined in order to separate heavy products (bitumen, heavy fuel oil, and lubricants), semi-heavy products (domestic
fuel, diesel fuel, and kerosene), light products (naphtha and gasoline), and
gas (butane and propane) by a process of distillation. Since the proportion of
heavy products obtained is higher than the one of light products, for which
the demand is greater, a portion of the heavy products are converted into light
products by cracking. By re-forming, naphtha molecules, which are used for
the manufacture of plastics, are transformed into high-octane gasoline.

Number of
refineries

Refineries and refining capacity by process


(1000 barrels per day)
National refining
Catalytic
Distillation
capacity
cracking

Thermal
cracking

Reforming

1,909

1,474

30

237

168

Iraq

665

588

77

Kuwait

939

889

36

14

Saudi
Arabia

2,180

1,745

104

138

193

Qatar

289

200

60

29

Bahrain

321

249

41

20

11

UAE

574

514

34

26

Oman

101

85

16

30

IRAQ

Umm Qasr

Abadan

Juaymah

Khor Al Amaya
KUWAIT Al Faw
Ras Bahregan
Mina Al Bakr
Kharg Island
Shuaibah
Mina Al Ahmadi
Mina Abdullah
Cyrus
Mina Al Zour
Main Pipeline
Ras al Khai

Ar
Jubayl
Ras al Juaymah
Ras Tannurah

ab

B.

-P

er

si

Sitrah

an

IRAN

Lavan

Gu

Sirri

Fateh
Das
Umm Said Zirku
Mubarraz
Jebel Dhana
Ruwais

QATAR
SAUDI ARABIA

Gas terminal

lf

Ras Lafan
Halul

Mina al Fahal

UAE

Oil terminal

Iran

From Energy
Agency.
From
EnergyInternational
International
Agency.

STRATEGIC FACILITIES

100

200 km

OMAN

Qalat

From World Port Source, Maritime-Database, Petroleum review.


From World Port Source, Maritime-Database, Petroleum review.

The Gulf states are establishing their own refineries (1.3 million bbl/d in
1980, 2.2 million in 1990, and 3 million in 2000) to satisfy their growing domestic
demand and to add value to their hydrocarbon exports. They have 36 refineries, which is not a large number considering the high volume of oil production
and in comparison with western Europe (135 refineries), North America (176),
and Asia (170). They have a total refining capacity of about 7 million bbl/d as
compared to the world capacity of 85.4 million bbl/d in 2008. Iranian refineries are located near large cities (Isfahan, Tabriz, Kermanshah), just like in
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), which also operates a refinery on the Red Sea coast, at
Yanbu; Iraq has very low-capacity refineries close to the oilfields in the northern region, but the Gulf coast is the main location for refining: there it has
about twenty refineries, including some giant ones, usually near oil terminals,
together with three enormous gas liquefaction plants, which figure among the
twelve largest in the world. The Gulf supplies most of its natural gas to Asia,

the gulf: the heart of the worlds energy reserves


while Europe imports from Russia, Norway, and Algeria, and Canada is the main
supplier for the United States.
Through a dense network of pipelines petroleum is transported from oil
and gas fields to the processing plants and the export terminals. Pipelines are
also used for exporting, sometimes in combination with maritime transportation. Whether to supply their Asian clients, particularly Japan and Korea and
in increasing quantities China and India, or their Western clients, particularly
Europe, which has diversified its energy sources and suppliers, leading to a
decline in their purchases from the Gulf, tankers have to cross the Strait of
Hormuz. Around half the worlds maritime oil and gas transit moves through
Hormuz, giving this choke point its strategic importance. To the East, a major
sea route leads to the Strait of Malacca. To the West, the route around the
Cape of Good Hope skirts Africa, going towards America or northward to
Europe. The alternate route to Europe through the Suez Canal, which cannot
be taken by super-tankers, is reachable through the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb
or through an oil pipeline that crosses Saudi Arabia from east to west. But the
canal fees and trans-shipment costs imposed by technical constraints make
this solution less attractive.

INSUFFICIENT PROCESSING CAPACITY


IRAQ

Basra

Abadan

KUWAIT
Mina Al Ahmadi
Mina Abdullah

IRAN

Shiraz
Shuaibah

Ras al Khai

ra

b-

Pe

Jubayl

rs

ia

Ras Tannurah
Abqaiq

B.

Gu

Sitrah

Ras Lafan

QATAR
SAUDI ARABIA

Bandar Abbas

Lavan

lf

Umm Said

Hamriyah
Das Island
Jebel Ali

Fujairah

Umm al Nar

Renery
more than 400,000 b/d

Ruwais

Mina al Fahal

UAE

200,000 to 400,000 b/d


10,000 to 200,000 b/d
Gas liquefaction plant

100

OMAN

200 km

Qalat

From Energy Information Agency and national sources.


From Energy Information Agency and national sources.

A NETWORK OF PIPELINES

THE IMPORTANCE OF SEA ROUTES FOR HYDROCARBONS TRANSPORTATION


OIL TRANSPORTATION

LNG TRANSPORTATION
Ceyhan
Bosphorus
Suez

Oil pipeline
Disused
oil pipeline
Gas pipeline

Hormuz

Bab el Mandeb

Malacca

Tap
l

ine

Aqaba

Jubayl

5000 km

From CNUCED,
From
CNUCED,EIA,
EIA,Technip.
Technip.

Million metric tons per year


more than 300
Choke points
825
200 to 300
120
less than 200

5000 km

Trillion cubic meter per year


more than 10
5 to 10
less than 5

From BP
Review
of World
Energy,
2007. 2007.
From
BPStatistical
Statistical
Review
of World
Energy,

Petroline

Yanbu
0

500 km

From
FromEnergy
EnergyInformation
InformationAdministration.
Administration.

31

Numerous Tensions

The Gulf region occupies a strategic position between the East and the West.
With the development of the oil industry in the twentieth century, it became
a major area of tension and conflict involving national, regional, and global
interests. The latter became dramatically important during the 1973 oil crisis: the oil producing countries, most of which are Arab, joined together to
demand a higher price for crude oil. Since then, the issue of oil supply has
become crucial for the great powers that keep a monopoly on more and more
sophisticated extraction technologies and control a large part of the oil industry, but are now obliged to devise strategies to safeguard their supplies. In
addition, the United States and their allies have become the target of activist
groups aiming to eradicate the Western influence in the name of Islam and
to replace the ruling Arab powers by Islamic governments. Consequently, the
Gulf has become the focus of attention of all oil importing countries.
Over the last few decades, rising tensions in the oil market following the
industrial development of Asia have exacerbated regional conflicts. After
the Islamic Revolution in 1979, which had hoped to eliminate the American
influence, Irans relations with Iraq, which was then an economic and military power, began to deteriorate. Each country played on ethnic and religious
factors and revived historical enmities. The Arab socialist regime in Baghdad,
faced with the decline of pan-Arabism and the rise of pan-Islamism, denounced
Khomeinis support for the Islamist Shii opposition in Iraq and laid claim to
Khuzestan (Arabistan), an oil-rich region of Iran inhabited by an Arab population that nevertheless remained loyal to Tehran during the war, just as the Iraqi
Shiis fought under their countrys flag. Iraqs abrogation of the Algiers Agreement of 1975, which had put an end to the century-long dispute over the Shatt
al-Arab (Arvand Rud) and border skirmishes, led to a long war (198088) with
a toll of approximately 200,000 dead and 350,000 wounded in Iraq and at least
300,000 dead and more than 500,000 wounded in Iran, to say nothing of the
destruction of cities and infrastructure or the annihilation of the oil industry.
The first Gulf War, as it is commonly known in the region, had barely ended
on an indecisive note, or Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Heavily in debt to its
neighbor, which had supported it financially during its war against Iran, Iraq
disputed the ownership of the Rumailah oil field on the border between the

32

PERMANENT WESTERN BASES


Ali Al Salem
Camp Doha
Ahmed al Jaber

Camp Arian

Manama
Cheikh Isa
Situation in 2010

Al Udeid

Navy base
Air force base

Jebel Ali

Al Dhafra

Army base

Fujairah
Seeb
Masnaah

Combined base
US base
French base
UK base

100

200 km

Masirah

Data from <www.globalsecurity.org>.

Data from <www.globalsecurity.org>.

two countries. In addition, Iraq, which was keen on widening its access to the
sea, argued that Kuwait was historically a part of the Ottoman province of
Basra and laid claim to what it called the 19th province of Iraq. This second
Gulf War led to western intervention and an irreversible break-up of the relations between the Iraqi government and the United States.
To the western world traumatized by the attacks on September 11, 2001,
President Bush justified the American military action against Iraq by claiming
that it was a fight against terrorism, a search for weapons of mass destruction,
and an attempt to establish democracy in the country. In retrospect, and without becoming embroiled in various theories, there is a general consensus that
this action was motivated as much by American oil interests as by strategic
compulsions. As result of the third Gulf War, launched in 2003, a US-supported
government was installed in Baghdad and the Shii community gained political strength.

the gulf: the heart of the worlds energy reserves

Iraq

5,000
1,000

Kuwait

GCC AIR FORCE

Iran

Number of aircrafts in operation or on order


0
50 100 150 200 250 300 350

Bahrain

400

450

Qatar
Saudi
Arabia

500

UAE

Oman

Suppliers 1990-2008

Western Europe

USA
Other (China,
Russia, Korea)
Data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2010.
Data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2010.

500 km

Suppliers
European
Consortium

United
Kingdom

Data from
from <wwwglobalsecurity.org>.
<wwwglobalsecurity.org>.
Data

France

USA

IRAN

of
Strait Horm

Bandar Lengeh

A ra

Lesser Tumb
b - Pe r

Greater Tumb

sian Gulf

Abu Musa

OMAN
Ras al Khaimah

Umm al Quwain
Ajman
Sharjah
Dubai

an

10,000

Bandar Abbas

Traffic separation
system
Disputed Island

m
of O

Cumulated value 1990-2008


of weapons purchases
(in million USD)
20,000

A MOST STRATEGIC STRAIT

G ulf

WESTERN PREDOMINANCE
ON A MAJOR WEAPONS MARKET

interfering in their internal affairs, and engaging in


religious propaganda among their Shii population.
Intercommunity problems within each country are a potential source of tension. For different
historical reasons, the national population of these
countries includes ethnic and religious minorities. In the coastal provinces of Iran, the ancient
division between the Persian majority and Arab
minorities has been aggravated by the arrival of
Persian-speaking workers, while the separatist feelings of the Sunni Baluchi living on the coast of
the Gulf of Oman are beginning to be expressed
openly. In the Iraqi province of Basra, the opposition between Sunni and Shii populations developed into a civil war after the American and British
intervention; in addition, frequent battles arose
between different Shii factions. In the Eastern
Province of Saudi Arabia, in Qatar, and above all in
Bahrain, there are tensions due to the presence of
Shii minorities in Sunni states.

uz

Even as tensions persist at the northern end of the


Gulf, the question of sovereignty over the islands of
Lesser Tunb, Greater Tunb, and Abu Musa, which
controls access to the Strait of Hormuz, is a matter
of dispute between the Emirates and Iran, which
has been occupying them unilaterally since 1992
and rendering invalid the fragile compromise of 1971
between the Shah of Iran and the Emir of Sharjah.
This has led to a permanent tension between the
Islamic Republic of Iran and member states of the
Gulf Cooperation Council, who also accuse Iran of

UAE

50 km

From Strait
Library,
University
of Texas.
From
StraitofofHormuz
HormuzMap,
Map,Perry-Castaeda
Perry-Castaeda
Library,
University
of Texas.

Divisions within local societies, rivalries between


states, competition between major powers, and the
rise of emerging countries have created tensions
without ever leading to an explosion affecting the
entire region. Nevertheless, business circles, groups
of experts and army headquarters remain constantly
vigilant. While large projects aim to skirt round the
Strait of Hormuz to the north (via oil pipelines) or in
the south (through ports on the Gulf of Oman), the
United States have stationed troops, the French are
setting up a military base in Abu Dhabi, and Indian
and Chinese warships patrol the Arabian Sea. As for
the regions Arab states, they are making concerted
efforts to augment their military strength by acquiring
sophisticated weaponry at great expense and seeking
alliances to counter Iran, which seems bent on developing nuclear weapons. The Gulf will remain one of
the worlds major strategic regions for a long time to
come: daily, 40 percent of the worlds oil crosses the
Gulf and an oil tanker passes through the Strait of
Hormuz every six minutes during peak hours.

33

A Speedy and Radical Transformation

Influx of Migrants

Migratory flows appear to be an important element of differentiation between


the two coasts of the Gulf. In the north, Iran has been witnessing the departure
of a considerable portion of its elite since the 1950s; this emigration increased
after the Islamic Revolution (1979) and during the 2000s. Since the fall of the
Taliban regime, the Islamic Republic has been trying to persuade hundreds
of thousands of Afghan refugees to leave its territory. In the west, Iraq suffers
from the consequences of three successive conflicts and a continuing quasicivil war. Since 2002, the foreign population consists mainly of a large number
of soldiers, advisors, and technicians from the West. Since the 1950s, countries on the southern Gulf coast have been attracting a continuous influx of
migrants headed towards the oldest oil producing countries; an influx so great
that foreigners now constitute a majority, giving these societies a distinctive
multicultural character. Foreign workers at every skill level arrived in large
numbers as countries on the southern coast became richer with the development of their oil industry. The economic diversification further encouraged
the influx of migrants.
THE DECREASING SHARE OF ARABS
IN THE GCC POPULATION
0

20

40

60

80

Foreigners

Iraq

Nationals

Iran

Kuwait
Saudi Arabia
Total population in 2005
(000)

Bahrain
69,000

1975
2005

Bahrain

1975
2005

United Arab
Emirates

1975
2005

Kuwait

1975
2005

Oman

1975
2005

Qatar

1975
2005

Population by geographical
origin

20,000

Oman

Nationals
Arab migrants

4,000

Non Arab migrants

2,500
1,000
700

From Ph. Cadne, B. Dumortier, L'impact politique des flux migratoires dans les tats du Conseil de coopration du Golfe , L'Espace politique, n 4,

From
Ph. Cadne, B. Dumortier, Limpact politique des flux migratoires dans les tats du Conseil de coopration du Golfe, LEspace politique,
<www.espacepolitique.org/revue.php>.
n 4, <www.espacepolitique.org/revue.php>.

Qatar

United
Arab Emirates

100 %

Saudi
Arabia

36

MASSIVE FOREIGN IMMIGRATION,


EXCEPT IN IRAN AND IRAQ

500 km

Estimated by the authors from national censuses.

Estimated by the authors from national censuses.

This population movement intensified after the 1970s. In the middle of the
2000s, the large presence of foreign workers was a common feature in all these
countries, in spite of serious efforts to increase the contribution of the nationals to the active work force. In fact, the proportion of expatriates has reached

a speedy and radical transformation


70 to 80 percent in Qatar and in the United Arab
Emirates. The institution of kafala, which requires
a local sponsor (kafil) for any foreigner, and the fact
that it is almost impossible to acquire citizenship
or own property in most of these countries creates
a feeling of precariousness among foreign workers.
The exploitation of building industry workers and
domestic staff, who are particularly powerless and
vulnerable, has been widely criticized by the foreign
press, UN agencies, and NGOs. Initially, migrants
came mainly from Egypt and the Near East. Since
the 1980s, there has been an influx of South Asian
workers, particularly from India and Pakistan, and
Southeast Asians, generally from Indonesia and the

Philippines. In the summer of 1991, at the time of the


Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the pro-Iraq stand taken by
some countries and migrants and the rise of Islamism
encouraged the diversification of sources of immigration, reducing the proportion of Arab immigrants as
compared to Asians. As a reaction to Yemens proIraq stand, Saudi Arabia expelled 80,000 migrant
workers in a span of 48 hours following the invasion
of Kuwait. After the war, Kuwait took similar action
against Palestinians, Egyptians, and Yemenis. At the
same time, all these countries welcome non-Muslim
Asian workers. The composition of this foreign population underwent a significant change, while migrant
workers continued to pour in. With the exception

THREE MAJOR EXPATRIATE COMMUNITIES IN THE GCC COUNTRIES


INDIANS

PAKISTANIS

EGYPTIANS

Number in 2005
(000)
1,400
1,000
300
100

Kuwait
Saudi Arabia

500
300
100
50

Kuwait
Saudi Arabia

Bahrain
Qatar

Qatar

UAE

UAE
Oman
0

UAE
Oman

250 km

% of Indians in total population


10 to 15

Kuwait

Bahrain

Qatar

Oman
250 km

under 5

5 to 10

250 km

% of Egyptians in total population

% of Pakistanis in total population


25

300
200
100
50
15

Saudi Arabia

Bahrain

5 to 10

Number in 2005
(000)
1,000

Number in 2005
(000)
1,000

10 to 15

under 5

5 to 10

10 to15

From A.
A. Kapiszewski,
Kapiszewski, Arab
Arabversus
versus Asian
Asian migrant
migrantworkers
workersin
in the
the GCC
GCC countries,
countries ,U.N.
U.N. Expert
Expert Group
Group Meeting
Meeting on
on International
InternationalMigration
Migrationand
andDevelopment
Developmentininthe
theArab
Arabregion,
region,Beirut,
Beirut,1517
15-17 May
From
May
2006.
2006.

of Kuwait, where their number remains stagnant,


migrants from Arab countries, although their number has more than tripled on the southern coast
of the Gulf between 1975 and 2005, now constitute
a minority among foreigners. Only in Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait, Egyptians, who initially constituted the
largest number of expatriates and are still the largest
community of Arab immigrants in the Gulf, account
for a major portion of the migrant population in 2005.
In the Gulf region as a whole, India and Pakistan are
now the two major sources of migrants, whose distribution increases along a northwest-southeast gradient. Finally, the Westerners, though small in number,
cannot be ignored. Playing an important role because
of their high level of skill, they form small communities, consisting mainly of North Americans, Europeans, and Australians.
The need for skilled manpower is one of the
major issues for these countries, whose economies are already busy framing post oil strategies.
Though the high salaries paid to senior executives
are still attractive, it is becoming more difficult to
attract and retain people with average skills due to
the rapid growth of Asian economies. This situation reinforces the diversity of geographical origins.
Even the least skilled workers, mainly from South
Asia, now have to be recruited from the most disadvantaged communities in these countries or even
from remote areas of China and other Asian countries like Nepal and Vietnam. While the pursuit of
development has given rise to new types of migration, the adaptation of laws concerning foreigners
is crucial.

37

Spectacular Urban Growth

Although without a strong urban tradition, Gulf societies today belong to a


metropolitan world. An urbanization rate of about 80 percent, and at times
even more than 90 percent along the southern coast reflects, in addition to the
growing importance of cities, the stark difference between cities and desert.
Conversely, a lower rate of urbanization, in spite of the existence of several
cities, including large cities, in countries with more abundant water resources
like Iraq, Iran, and Oman, reflects the existence of a sedentary peasantry,
despite a growing rural exodus. The population of cities continues to grow
and is now composed of a variety of groups. Some have been living in coastal
or oasian mercantile places from ancient times, or they descend from fishing
communities. Others belong to nomadic tribes who have opted for a sedentary
existence, or are former peasants who have moved to the city recently. As for
foreigners, who constitute more than half the urban population of the countries on the southern coast, they often come from rural areas.

Urbanization rate (%)


1950

1970

1990

2000

2005

2010

Estimation 2015

Iran

27.5

41.2

56.3

64.2

70.0

69.5

71.9

Iraq

35.1

56.2

69.7

67.8

66.9

66.4

66.5

Kuwait

61.5

85.7

98.0

98.2

98.3

98.4

98.5

Saudi Arabia

21.3

48.7

76.6

79.8

81.0

82.1

83.2

Qatar

79.2

88.4

92.2

94.9

95.4

95.8

96.2

Bahrain

64.4

83.8

88.1

88.4

88.4

88.6

89.0

UAE

54.5

77.7

79.1

77.8

77.7

78.0

78.8

8.6

29.7

66.1

71.6

71.5

71.7

72.3

Oman

From
World
Urbanization
Prospects.
FromUnited
UnitedNations,
Nations,
World
Urbanization
Prospects.

38

Around 1950, the regions principal cities were concentrated at the northern end of the Gulf where oil cities supplanted historical ones. Abadan, with
a population of about 250,000, was the largest city, followed by Kuwait with
just over 100,000 inhabitants, then Ahvaz and Basra, which approached that
figure. A dozen modest ports with several tens of thousands of inhabitants,
like Manama, Doha, Dubai, and Bushehr, came next, while al-Ahsa was an
agricultural oasis and Abu Dhabi a small administrative centre with some
25,000 inhabitants.
In 1970, the development of the oil industry led to the rapid growth of several
cities. Kuwait overtook Abadan, which itself recorded a considerable increase
with a population exceeding 400,000, a size that Basra was approaching. Ahvaz
and Dubai had a population of about 260,000 and Dammam, Manama, and alAhsa about 150,000. Abu Dhabi, with almost 120,000 inhabitants, was gaining
significance in the region, as was Doha with 100,000.
From the late 1980s, urban hierarchies changed drastically. Independence
led to the emergence of new capital cities. Drilling operations started in new
oilfields. The Iraq-Iran war wreaked vast destruction on both the warring countries. Thus Basra, which was fast regaining its pre-war status, had a population
of 400,000, and Dubai and Dammam were emerging as important cities. Abu
Dhabi, with more than 300,000 inhabitants, established itself as the capital city
of both an oil rich emirate and a newly formed federation. The urban region
of Muscat had a population of 300,000. The population of Sharjah, bordering
Dubai, was close to 270,000, while Doha reached 230,000. On the Iranian side
of the Gulf, Ahvaz remained a major city with 700,000 inhabitants, but Abadan,
fallen into ruin, had only 60,000. Though the historical port of Bushehr, with
more than 100,000 inhabitants, gained in importance, it was Bandar Abbas
with 250,000 inhabitants, located near the Strait of Hormuz, which became a
major port, even though its development slowed down as a result of the US
embargo against Iran after the 1979 hostage crisis.
The years that followed witnessed an expansion of the process, leading to a
new configuration. But once again the Gulf region was subjected to tensions

a speedy and radical transformation


METROPOLIZATION AND LITTORALIZATION
URBAN HIERARCHY IN 1987

URBAN HIERARCHY IN 2007

Ahvaz
Basra

Kerman
Shiraz

Bushehr
Hafar al-Batin

Dammam
Dahran

Al-Khobar
Muharraq
Manama

Riyadh
Al Ahsa

Al Rayyan
Doha

Kerman
Shiraz

4,500,000

Kuwait City

2,500,000
Bushehr

Hafar al-Batin

Bandar Abbas

Jubayl

Urban agglomeration
population

Basra

2,500,000
1,500,000
750,000
500,000
250,000
100,000
25,000

Kuwait City

Bandar Abbas

Jubayl

1,500,000
750,000
500,000
250,000
100,000
25,000

Dammam
Manama
Ajman
Sharjah
Dubai
Abu Dhabi

Ahvaz

Urban agglomeration
population

Al Ain

100 km

Riyadh

Doha
Al Ahsa

DubaiSharjahAjman
Abu Dhabi

Muscat

Al Ain

Muscat

100 km

Estimated by the authors from national censuses.

Estimated by the authors from national censuses.

with global implications. Kuwait was occupied by


the Iraqi army in 1990, leading to the intervention
of US and allied troops under UN mandate. Political
troubles broke out in southern Iraq after the end
of the conflict and the country faced an economic
embargo. Basra suffered a long period of stagnation; development slowed in Kuwait. The Iranian
cities on the Gulf coast suffered from the countrys
global marginalization and did not experience any
real growth. By contrast, two large conurbations
emerged on the southern coast of the Gulf. At the
turn of the millennium, Dubai came to prominence.
Now, including Sharjah and Ajman, its population
exceeds 1.5 million. The second conurbation, consisting of Damman, Dhahran, and al-Khobar, is
home to almost a million people. The city of Abu

Dhabi is rapidly developing and has a population


of approximately half a million. Three other cities,
Doha, al-Ain, and al-Ahsa, have a population close
to 300,000. The oil industry is no longer the sole
driving force behind urban growth. The development of industry and tertiary activities, such as the
construction of offices, residential buildings, and
neighborhoods of villas are creating more employment opportunities.
In 2007, this trend became more marked, affirming the new urban hierarchy. With a population
of 2.5 million, the conurbation polarized by Dubai
symbolizes the regions urban growth and also its
limitations. Kuwait continues to be a major agglomeration with a population of 2.2 million. The city is
even rediscovering its old dynamism as it feels no

longer threatened by Iraq. With a smaller population (of 1.25 million) and lower media coverage,
the conurbation of Dammam is growing steadily
in importance. Ahvaz, with a solid industrial base,
still holds an important place with a population of
one million. Abu Dhabi is reaching a similar level,
its growth being triggered by the development of
the tertiary sector, thanks to heavy investments
from oil income. Six other citiesMuscat, Bandar
Abbas, Doha, al-Ain, Manama, and al-Ahsahave
populations between 250,000 and over 500,000.
Fifteen-odd cities have populations ranging from
100,000 to 250,000 and about thirty from 30,000 to
100,000. In the course of a few decades, some Gulf
cities, formerly small towns between sea and desert,
have become world famous.

39

Quality Infrastructure

The creation of efficient transport and communication networks is essential


for the global integration of the Gulf. During the past twenty years, various
states, in partnership with powerful private companies, have invested heavily
in strategic infrastructures. Ports play a crucial role in this strategy, whether it
is oil and gas terminals, non-specialized ports or container ports. The development of airports has also received great attention and there is an effort to create hub airports near the largest cities for transit passengers between the West
and the East. Dubai, which ranks eighth in the world in terms of container traffic and twentieth in terms of air passenger traffic, outstrips the regions other
cities. Finally, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have set up efficient
telephone and IT networks.
The authorities are fully aware of the importance of infrastructure for
regional integration and greater synergy between the various Gulf cities. However, this awareness is too recent for them to have set up cross-border networks, except the highways joining cities along the littoral. In Saudi Arabia,
Iraq, and Iran, highways link their respective capitals with coastal cities. Other
roads are still in the planning stage, with the exception of the 26-kilometer
King Fahd Causeway between Dammam and Manama, completed in 1986 and
used by more than ten million people every year. Other important projects
will take a long time to be completed. The main structuring project is the proposed high-speed railway lines between the different cities of the Gulf, which,
it is hoped, will connect them to Baghdad and Istanbul in the future. The first
section of this ambitious project drawn up by the Gulf Cooperation Council is
likely to be commissioned in Saudi Arabia, where a railway line will connect
the principal cities of the east coast, then lead to Kuwait. Another section in
the United Arab Emirates will join the coastal cities of the different Emirates
belonging to the federation. In addition, there was a proposal to construct
two of the worlds longest bridges, the first between Abu Dhabi and Doha, to

40

A CONCENTRATION OF INFRASTRUCTURES
Railways

Oil terminal

Motorway and
highway

Gas terminal

Main road

Container port

International
airport

General cargo
port

100 km

bypass the oilfields along the coast and also Saudi Arabia. Bypassing Saudi
Arabias territorial waters would have meant increasing the bridges length by
65 km, making it the worlds longest bridge. The second bridge, 40 km long,
is planned to be constructed between the Qatar Peninsula and the island of
Bahrain. Called the Friendship Bridge, it will make the exchanges between
the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council easier because it will reduce the
time need to drive from Doha to Manama by car from five hours to just thirty
minutes. The strategic King Fahd Highway, which is often saturated with traffic, will be widened during the next few years.

a speedy and radical transformation


AMBITIOUS RAILWAYS PROGRAMME
Esfahan
Khorramshahr
Basra
Kuwait City

Dammam
Riyadh

Shiraz

Bushehr

BRIDGES AND REGIONAL INTEGRATION


High-voltage line
in operation
High-voltage line
under building

Bafq

Ahvaz
Bandar e
Emam

ELECTRIC INTERCONNECTION

Kerman
Zahedan
Sirjan

Manama
Doha Dubai
Abu
Dhabi

Jaber bridge
(three proposals)

BAHRAIN

Dammam

QATAR

Doha

Alladhill
Muscat

HVDC

Kuwait
Bay

to
Abu Dhabi

SAUDI
ARABIA

Jazrah

Ghunan
Doha South

Existing railways
Salwa

Proposed railways
Train station

Al Fouhai
MHadah

From Al Manakh 2, Abu Dhabi, UPC, 2010 and Rah Ahan Iran.

200 km

From Al Manakh 2, Abu Dhabi, UPC, 2010 and Rah Ahan Iran.

Bridge under building

From GCC Interconnection Authority.

From GCC Interconnection Authority.

Ocial data.

50 km

10 km

Ocial data.

THE BUILDING OF A PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK: DUBAI METRO


N

At the intra-urban level, infrastructure is urgently required to ease traffic


congestion. The extremely fast spatial growth of cities has taken place until
recently without any prior planning or sufficient public investment. Private
cars are the most common mode of transport and public transport must be
upgraded. Bus services are still in their infancy. The opening of the Dubai
metro is a step forward in the regions urban development because it will certainly be followed by similar projects in Kuwait and Doha. Abu Dhabi aspires
to introduce an innovation in the domain of public transport by integrating its
proposed metro network with modern trams.
The numerous projects framed by the members of the Gulf Cooperation
Council illustrate the hiatus and dissymmetry between the two shores of the
Gulf. Nothing has been done to facilitate connections between Iran and its
Arab neighbors. On the Iranian coast, there are few infrastructure projects
and the proposed highways will only serve to open up the countrys eastern
region. The railway proposals are intended to improve, through privatization,
the trans-Iranian rail network built between 1929 and 1937 to connect Tehran
to the Caspian Sea, the countrys large cities, and the Gulf coast. The most
important project is a highway coupled with a railway line joining the port of
Bandar Abbas, on the mainland, to the port of Kaveh on Qeshm Island. This
requires the construction of a 2.2-kilometer bridge to accelerate the development of a free trade zone set up on the island.

UAE

Bridge in project

100 km

Failaka
Kuwait City

Existing bridge

Silaa

Bubiyan

Failaka bridge

Manama

Power station

Al Zout

Bandar Abbas

BRIDGES AND URBAN PLANNING

Khalid Bin Waleed

Union Square

SHARJAH

Jebel Ali

Creek

Airport Terminal 1
Etisalat

Lines in operation
Red line
elevated
underground
Green line
elevated
underground

Rashidiya
Al Maktoum
International Airport

10 km

Planned line
Red line extention

Black line

Purple line

Yellow line

Blue line

From DubaiMetro.

From DubaiMetro.

41

Developing an Industrial Sector

In the Gulf states, the main industry revolves around petroleum; but it is not
limited to simply drilling and processing oil and gas. Heavy investments have
been made in the petrochemical sector, as well as in energy-intensive industries like steel, aluminium, and cement. The development of vast industrial
port complexes, where raw materials are imported and from where semi-finished and finished products are exported, is the result of policies aimed at
adding value to hydrocarbons and diversifying industrial activity. Production
volumes, though still relatively modest, will increase considerably once the
ongoing projects are completed.
Production of fertilizers and plastics are an offshoot of the petroleum
industry. Saudi Arabia is the regions largest producer, with 40 million tons

of chemicals and plastics in 2006. SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation)


dominates this sector and owns shares in several new companies. The ongoing
projects aim to raise production by 60 percent by 2012. Iran (30 million tons) is
the second largest producer, ahead of Qatar (10 million tons). Growth prospects
are very bright and many foreign (especially western) companies are setting
up joint-ventures with local companies. While Iran (1.4 percent of the global
petrochemical production in 2005) is building new plants, member countries
of the Gulf Cooperation Council are expected to move from 4 percent of the
global production in 2005 to 10 percent in 2015.
Thanks to low energy costs, aluminium production has expanded significantly around the Gulf. Bahrain (870,000 tons in 2006) and the United Arab

HEAVY INDUSTRY PROMINENCE


ALUMINIUM

METALLURGICAL INDUSTRY

CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

n/a

Saudi
Arabia

Qatar

n/a

UAE

n/a

Oman
Production (million of metric tons)
3
2006
1.5
1

0.12

Estimation 2012
n/a : non available

500 km

Saudi
Arabia

Qatar
n/a

Kuwait
Bahrain

From GCC Industry Report, Manufacturing the Future, 2008 and official Iranian statistics.

Saudi
Arabia

Qatar

Bahrain Qatar

UAE

UAE
Oman

Production (million of metric tons)


14.6
10
2006
5
Estimation 2012
2
1.4
n/a : non available

From GCC Industry Report, Manufacturing the Future, 2008 and official Iranian statistics.

42

Kuwait

Bahrain

n/a

Iran

n/a - n/a

n/a

Kuwait
n/a

Bahrain

Saudi
Arabia

Iran

Iran

Iran
Kuwait

CEMENT INDUSTRY

Production (million of metric tons)


64
40
2006
20
Estimation 2012
10
1.5
n/a : non available

Oman

Production (million of metric tons)


42
30
2006
15
Estimation 2012
5
0.18

n/a : non available

n/a

UAE

Oman

a speedy and radical transformation


Emirates (860,000 tons) owe their production capacity to the giant plants set
up by ALBA (Aluminium Bahrain) in Sitrah and by DUBAL (Dubai Aluminium) in Jebel Ali. The growing international demand for aluminium is responsible for the expansion of this sector. In Saudi Arabia, two enormous smelting
plants are under construction in collaboration with the Chinese and the Australians. In Qatar, a factory was built recently with Norwegian investment. In
2012, three huge projects should make the United Arab Emirates the regions
largest aluminium producer and also one of the largest in the world with a production of 3 million tons. Iran, which produces bauxite, has opened a factory
in Bandar Abbas with Italian expertise. It has also signed an agreement with
China for the construction of a factory in Lamard, near Assaluyeh, to double
the countrys production (250,000 tons in 2006).
The steel industry is following a similar path, but even though there are
steel mills located around the Gulf, they cannot be compared with the worlds
major producers (China, Japan, the United States, and even Russia). The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council represent just a little more than 1 percent
of the world production. Driven by rising consumption in emerging countries,
especially India and China, and their own development needs, they plan to
increase their production to possibly reach 50 million tons by 2012. Saudi Arabia alone will reach the present production level of all the member countries
taken together (15 million tons) and Oman will reach two-thirds of the total.
Production in Oman will be concentrated in a giant factory in Sohar, which
is being set up as a joint project between the Oman government, Rotterdam
port, and a Brazilian giant of the sector. Huge steel mills are being commissioned in al-Jubail, Dammam, Muharraq, and in the Mussafah industrial zone
in Abu Dhabi. Iran, which has iron and coal mines, has been trying to develop
a steel industry since the 1920s. Since it is able to satisfy only 70 percent of
its domestic needs of cast iron and steel, in spite of opening large steel mills
in Isfahan in 1971 and in Ahvaz in 1989, Iran (10 million tons) is now building
a steel complex in Bandar Abbas and wants to raise its production to 15 and
then 18 million tons between 2010 and 2015.
Spectacular urban growth has spurred the expansion of the construction
materials sector. Iran (41 million tons of cement in 2006) and Saudi Arabia
(27 million tons) have outstripped the United Arab Emirates (17 million tons).
Though the sector is expected to grow by more than 50 percent in most Gulf
countries, the United Arab Emirates, where Ras al-Khaimah has become a
regional centre for the production of ceramics, glass, and cement, aspire to
double their production. Under Irans five-year plan (200510), its cement

AL-JUBAIL

A CITY ESTABLISHED BY SABIC (SAUDI BASIC INDUSTRIES CORPORATION)


Shopping mall

Residential area

International hotel

Residential area
in development

University, college

Navy base

Hospital

Port and industrial


zone
Industrial zone
in development
Airport area

Public administration
Police, civil defense

Arab-Persian Gulf

Unbuilt area
Motorway
Other road
Oil pipeline

Oil port

Commercial port

King Abdulaziz
navy base
Desalination
plant
0 1

2 3 4

5 km

production was expected to rise from 32 to 70 million tons; the current plan
aims at a target of 240 million tons.
Other less important sectors are concentrated in industrial zones, some of
which enjoy the status of free trade zones or special economic zones to encourage the development of import substitution industries in countries where
almost all consumer goods are imported. There is a wide variety of activities
ranging from flour mills to light engineering together with the manufacture
of paints and detergents, as well as activities like packaging, assembling, and
manufacture of ready-to-wear clothing, often set up to get around export quotas imposed on some countries. As for high-technology, which is the main
focus of government attention, the companies in this sector are mainly service
providers.

43

Free Zones and Special Economic Zones

In 2008, the Gulf coasts were home to thirty-odd free zones and six special
economic zones. In addition to a dissymmetry between the Arab and Iranian
coasts, there is a concentration of special zones in the vicinity of the Strait of
Hormuz. In such zones national laws are less rigid or even inoperative.
In Iran, free zones illustrate the contradictions of the Islamic Republic,
which wants to change Iranian society by protecting it from harmful external
influences without giving up trade with the outside world. The five-year plan,
introduced in 1991 after the war with Iraq (198088), envisaged the creation of
zones that would not be subject to common laws and would enable the economy to take off. The law of 1993 created three huge free zones, two of which
were located on islands in the Gulf, to attract investments by offering the usual
incentives (exemption from customs duties and taxes, no restrictions on the
transfer of capital and goods, etc.), but even more by allowing activities in the
zone to evade the rules imposed by Islamic laws in these enclaves of liberalism
where religious restrictions are relaxed. On the Arabian coast, the incentives
offered to investors in free zonesa convenient location on the world map,
affordable energy and manpower, top quality infrastructure and services, total
repatriation of profits, tax advantagesare available for the most part even
outside these zones. Their main attraction lies in the fact that they are not
required to have a local partner and allow 100 percent foreign investment.
On the Iranian side, while few companies have started operations in the
free industrial zones of Qeshm, Kish (connected by several daily flights to Tehran and Dubai) is successful because one can trade, without breaking the law,
in goods that are forbidden in the Islamic Republic. This has given rise to a
flourishing tourism industry and rampant smuggling. In addition, Iran promotes extensive self-sufficiency in neighboring Muslim countries through its
fifteen-odd special economic zones bordering the Caspian Sea, implemented
along its land border, or located in the Gulf ports.
On the Arabian side, free zones are unevenly distributed. In Iraq, near the
oil port of Khor al-Zubair, a private free zone was granted in 2006. Kuwait
has a free trade zone in Shuwaikh, the countrys main port. In the Saudi
free re-export zone in Dammam, the main activity is reshipping goods to

44

Ahvaz
IRAQ

IRAN

Khorramshahr
Bandar e Emam

Khor Al-Zubair
Shuwaikh
KUWAIT

Shiraz

Sirjan

Bushehr

Fulad

Asaluyeh

Dammam

BAHRAIN
Sitrah
QATAR

Bandar Shahid Rajae


Qeshm

Kish

Shabahar

Doha
Sohar
Buraimi
UAE

Muscat

Nizwa

Sur

SAUDI ARABIA
OMAN

Free Zone
Special Economic
Zone

Salalah

100

200

300

400 km

From
Dveloppement
conomique
et contournement
du droit : les
de lafranches
rive arabede
du la
golfe
FromB.B.Dumortier,
Dumortier,
Dveloppement
conomique
et contournement
duzones
droitfranches
: les zones
rivePersique,
arabe duAnnales
golfe
de
Gographie,
2007. de Gographie, 2007.
Persique
, Annales

the countrys other ports. Bahrain set up an industrial free zone rather late on
the north of Sitrah Island and thirty years ago acquired the technical and legal
means needed to take advantage of the difference in time zones to speculate

a speedy and radical transformation


A TOOL FOR ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION
IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Free Zone
Special Economic
Zone
Date of creation
before 1990
from 1990 to 1999
from 2000 to 2004
after 2005
N

OMAN
Ras al Khaimah
Umm al Quwain

Hamriyah
Ajman
Sharjah Airport
Flower Centre
Dubai Airport
Health Care City
Academic City
Gold and Diamond Park
Silicon Oasis
International Financial Centre
Technology and Media
Jebel Ali

of Ajman and Umm al-Quwain attract mainly small


entrepreneurs from poor countries. Those in the
Emirate of Sharjah, the airport free zone and the
industrial and port free zone in Hamriyah, as well
as the fast-growing one in Ras al-Khaimah participate in less sophisticated activities and attract
investors who are less sought after than free zones
in neighboring Dubai.

Fujairah

JEBEL ALI, A DEEP SEA PORT AND


A PIONEER INTEGRATIVE FREE ZONE

International Humanitarian City

Abu Dhabi Airport


Industrial City

to
Dubai

OMAN
0

25

50 km

From
Dumortier,
Dveloppement
conomique
et contournement
From B.B.Dumortier,
Dveloppement
conomique
et contournement
du droit.
du droit , .

Heavy industry

RECENT SPECIALIZED FREE ZONES


FOR MEDIA AND HIGH-TECH
N

on exchange rates round the clock: its Offshore


Banking Units, comparable to Singapores Asian
Currency Units, are involved in speculative international operations. Though Qatar too has yielded to
the desire for free zones, the density of free zones is
higher in the United Arab Emirates. Driven by their
keen desire for economic diversification and a liberalization policy adopted on the advice of foreign
experts and international organizations, they have
set up these zones all along the coast with the highest concentration in Dubai.
Each member of the Federation has at least one
free zone with a hierarchy based on the size and
geographical origin of the companies installed in
the various zones where the cost of licenses and
the fees vary considerably. The modest free zones

Hotels

Located thirty-five km from the centre of Dubai,


the Jebel Ali free port inaugurated in 1985 covers
an area of 48 square km. In 2011, it contained 6,400
enterprises from more than 100 countries. More
than a third of them are large western enterprises
and multinational firms. In addition to this nonspecialized zone, which is the regions oldest and
most important, other more specialized free zones
have arisen over the years like the Media and Technology free zone created in 2000; in that zone Internet City, Media City, and Knowledge Village have
proved to be successful. While Dubai is continually setting up new projects, Abu Dhabi, which has
criticized the piling of activities as a result of this
strategy, has opted for a different model by setting
up special economic zones for the development of
export-oriented industries.

to
Abu Dhabi

Knowledge Village

Media City
to
Abu Dhabi

Knowledge
Village
0

500

Internet City

1000 m

Media
City

Sheikh Zayed Road

Plots for entreprises

Oil terminal

Warehouses

Container terminal

JAFZA office

General cargo terminal

Accomodation

Food terminal

FromJebel
JebelAliAli
Free
Zone
Authority.
From
Free
Zone
Authority.

to
Dubai

Al Sufouh Road

Emirates Golf Club

Building for offices inside FZ


Landscaped garden

0 100

300

500 m

Building outside FZ
Lake

FromDubai
DubaiMedia
Media
and
Technology
From
and
Technology
FreeFree
Zone.Zone.

45

Explosion of Finance and Real Estate Sectors

The income from oil plays a major role in the budgets of the Gulf states. Various modes of redistribution allow their nationals to maintain a high to very
high standard of living, according to the number of inhabitants. For instance,
in 2007, with US$ 31.686 billion earned from the sale of petroleum in Saudi
Arabia, the sum available for each kingdoms subject was US$ 1.72 million. In
Qatar, the respective figures are US$ 19.424 billion and 77.7 million. In Iraq
and in Iran, the former with a population of more than 30 million and the latter more than 70 million, as well as in Bahrain, whose oil wealth is less than
US$ 70 billion, the redistribution capacity is necessarily lower.
Recycling petrodollars and moving from oil rent to financial rent are not
new developments. As early as 1953, with the aim of safeguarding its oil wealth
for future generations, the Kuwaiti government set up the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), historically the first sovereign fund. In 1962, it set up
the Kuwait Stock Exchange, the Gulfs leading stock exchange after the one
in Riyadh. Gradually, all the countries in the region set up stock exchanges
with a limited scope, sovereign funds for long-term investment, and investment funds to gain short-term returns or to serve national development. Abu
Dhabi, for example, has the worlds richest sovereign fund (ADIA, set up in
1976) and a public investment fund (Mubadala, set up in 2002), as well as
a special organization for investments in the industrial and military sectors
(Tawazun, set up in 2007), which deals with offset clauses in arms contracts.
In view of the predominant role played by funds and central banks overseen
by vigilant regulatory bodies, the banking system consists mainly of a dense
network of deposit banks that are mostly national. Bahrain, which opted for
offshore banking quite early, appears to be an exception. In Iran, the oldest
banks (Sepah founded in 1925, Melli in 1928, and Sader in 1952) were nationalized in 1979, but a law was passed in 2000 to authorize the opening of private
banks (Parsian in 2001). On the Arabian coast, where leading foreign banks,

46

GULF SOVEREIGN AND INVESTMENT FUNDS


MORE THAN $ 10 BILLION IN 2011
Mubadala
(UAE)
Investment Corporation of Dubai
(UAE)
Oil Stabilisation Fund
(Iran)
Qatar Investment Authority
(Qatar)
Kuwait Investment Authority
(Kuwait)
SAMA Foreign Holdings
(Saudi Arabia)
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
(UAE)
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Credit ( $ billion )
Data from
Fund
Institute.
Data
from Sovereign
SovereignWealth
Wealth
Fund
Institute.

most of them British, have been operating for many years, Islamic banking,
which is gaining popularity, offers higher than average returns and accounts
for almost a quarter of financial transactions. Finally, the recent development
of the insurance sector holds great promise.
Even though monetary issuesfixed parity with the US dollar, single currency, and inflationcontinue to be debated, the financial surplus, which
rose from US$ 31 billion to 260 billion between 2001 and 2008, has driven the
countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council to increase the volume of their

a speedy and radical transformation


A GREATER DIVERSIFICATION IN INVESTMENTS
ABU DHABI INVESTMENT FUND
GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSIFICATION

- Great-Britain
- France
- Italy

- Saudi Arabia
- Libya
- Oman

Europe

Middle-East

SECTORIAL DIVERSIFICATION

- EADS
- Finmecanica
- Rolls Royce

- Ferrari
- Lease Plan

Car industry

- VEOLIA

Water

Aeronautics
MUBADALA

Energy
MUBADALA

Education
Africa

- Nigeria

Asia

- South Korea
- Kazakhstan
- Singapore

- OXY
- TOTAL

- Indonesia
- Philippines
- Thailand

Real Estate

Health

- Kor Hotel
- Related
- John Buck
- Poltrona Rau
Gevu

- Imperial
College
London
- Laboratory
Corporation
of America

- EDS
- Advanced
Micro Devices

FREE TENURE AREAS IN DUBAI

* The World
* Dubai
WaterFront

** The Palm
Deira

The Palm
Jumeirah

* The Palm
Jebel Ali
Dubai Marina
Discovery
Garden

Dubai
Business Bay
The Lagoons

JA

International
City

Built area
Area under construction or
development
Area under development,
open to private property and
foreign buyers

Burj Khalifa

AR

Jumeirah
Gulf Estates

Jebel Ali
Airport City

Emirates Springs
The Meadows
The Greens

SH

external investments and redeploy a part of this surplus in the Gulf. By investing locally, the Gulf states have the means to pursue economic diversification.
By increasing their presence in global financial markets, they have acquired an
additional geopolitical lever. Saudi Arabia gives preference to investments in
bonds in countries with a global reputation and is partial to North-American
pension funds. Others invest diversely: after repurchasing Harrods, acquiring
a stake in the German Porsche and the Hochtief, a giant building company
from Essen, followed by its entry into the French Vinci and Veolia, Qatar was
interested in investing in Areva, which gave preference to KIA. The Islamic
Republic of Iran prefers to invest in the Muslim world, particularly in the -stan
countries. However, the immensely wealthy religious foundations do not disdain safe and lucrative investments in the West.
Tourism and real estate are the main sectors that attract speculative investments, with Dubai taking the lead. The explosion of the real estate sector
began around 2005, following the reform of property laws. Old practices based

NEW PROPERTY LAW AND MAJOR REAL ESTATE PROJECTS


N

From H.L. Vdie, Les Fonds souverains, ESKA, 2010.


From H.L. Vdie, Les Fonds souverains, ESKA, 2010.

- Universit
Paris Sorbonne
Abou Dhabi
- INSEAD

Technology

on the customary tribal appropriation of land have been replaced by a system


based on private ownership, allowing foreigners to acquire property, generally
in designated free tenure areas. Although they are stakeholders in the global
financial system, Gulf countries have managed to resisted the subprime crisis.
Nonetheless, under the joint impact of the world economic crisis and local
factors Dubai has unable to avoid the bursting of a speculative real estate bubble, triggering a crisis in the banking sector. Several projects, most oversized
and harmful for the environment, have been cancelled or postponed. While
promoters, for whom the dividing line between private and public is blurred,
are turning to overseas markets to expand their activities, real estate projects
are on the rise in most cities, changing the landscape and leading to urban
sprawl.

* Postponed or

delayed project

** Cancelled project

8 10 km

From Schedule of Law n7, 2006, Dubai Emirate.

From Schedule of Law n7, 2006, Dubai Emirate.

47

The Rise of Tourism1

According to the international definition of tourism, which includes business


tourism and religious tourism, a tourist is a traveller spending at least one
night, and at the most one year, away from his habitual surroundings. The
reasons for travel are thus not limited to relaxation and holidays.
In 1990, the Gulf states received only 5.76 million tourists (1.3 percent of the
world figure); in 2007, their number has increased fourfold (about 3 percent of
the world figure). This has been accompanied by the development of domestic
tourism involving short stays on the seaside or in oases. International tourism in destinations that did not figure on the world tourism map in the 1970s
increased by more than 10 percent per annum over the last ten years. Crossing
the 15 percent mark in 200607, it grew faster than tourism in other parts of
the world. However, the importance of the tourism sector and the types of
tourism vary considerably from country to country.
Saudi Arabia, the regions leading country with an inflow of more than
8 million tourists in 2007, is comparable to Egypt the same year. But most of
the tourists to Saudi Arabia are pilgrims performing hajj, the pilgrimage to
Mecca. This religious tourism is also significant in Iraq, which hosted, in 2007,
500,000 pilgrims, among others Iranians, who visited the Shii pilgrimages centres of Najaf and Karbala. While the national museum in Baghdad reopened
in 2009, the ancient sites in Babylon and Ur are still inaccessible, though the
government hopes to revive cultural and archaeological tourism.
In Iran, in spite of great potential, the development of international tourism
is impeded by the numerous restrictions on foreigners. By contrast, domestic tourism is quite active, but not directed towards the Gulf coast, except
for Kish, which deserves special mention. In the 1970s, the Kish Development
Organization adopted the Hawaii model to attract a wealthy clientele to this
small island. In 1979, the revolution stopped such a project, but the establishment of a free zone has given rise to a new type of tourism. In 2005, Kish
received 1.5 million tourists. Although it is located more than 1,000 km from
the countrys major cities, there are regular flights to Kish operated by a local

1Based on 2007 figures.

48

TOURISM AND HERITAGE


Main attractive places
Archeological site
Museum
Fort
Monument

100 km

LUXURY HOTELS
0

100 km

International hotels
(three stars and more)
150
21 to 40
11 yo 20
5 to 10
1 to 2

Luxury palace or resort

, UAE
, Bahrain
, UAE
, Iran
, Kuwait
, UAE
, UAE
, UAE
, Oman
Data from
Data
fromMinistries
MinistriesofofTourism.
Tourism.

17
3
2
2
1
1
1
1
1

a speedy and radical transformation


AN EMERGING TOURISM DESTINATION
22

(million)

tourists (million)

9,000

DUBAI, FROM BUSINESS TOURISM


TO MASS TOURISM

TOURISTS BY GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN, 2007

Number of tourists (million)

20

8,000

Asia
(23 %)

18

7,000

16
6,000

14

5,000

12

UAE
(6 %)
GCC countries
except UAE
(14 %)

5
4

Arab countries
except GCC
(8 %)

Oceania
(3 %)

America
(8 %)

Subsaharian
Africa
(6 %)

10

4,000

3,000

6
2,000
4
1,000

2
0

1990

2005

2005

Foreign tourists

Revenue

Saudi Arabia

Kuwait

Oman

UAE

Bahrain

Qatar

Data from
Tourism
Organization.
Data
fromWorld
World
Tourism
Organization.

airline. It generally attracts people deprived of consumer goods, seeking the freedom of its shopping
centres and entertainment spots. In addition, many
migrant workers spend a night there to fulfil the
obligation of leaving the country to be eligible for
a new visa to the Arab Gulf States.
Like Kish for the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Bahrain is a place where the citizens
of neighboring Saudi Arabia can enjoy freedom in
bars, nightclubs, and cinemas, which are banned
in the Wahhabi kingdom, as well as in shopping
centres, which are not under the surveillance of the

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

Data from
Tourism
andand
Commerce
Marketing,
Dubai. Dubai.
Data
fromDpt
Dptofof
Tourism
Commerce
Marketing,

religious police. Bahrain, which has a solid tourism


infrastructure with 117 hotels (about 30 of which
are 5-star), hosts thousands of Saudi tourists every
weekend.
While tourism is still a marginal sector in Kuwait,
which receives mainly business tourists, Qatar
adopted a tourism development policy about ten
years ago and tourism took off earlier in the United
Arab Emirates. In 2007, the Federation received
8.5 million foreign tourists. Dubai, a pioneer in the
region welcomes 80 percent of the UAE visitors;
its department of tourism and commerce marketing, which is in charge of promoting tourism, has
fifteen overseas bureaus. Revenue from tourism,
combining business and commercial tourism with
beach resorts holidays and lucrative niche tourism, accounts for a fifth of the emirates GDP with
occupancy rates exceeding 80 percent. While West
Europeans and North Americans constitute a large
proportion of the tourists visiting Dubai, visitors
from Central and Eastern Europe prefer the seaside
resorts of Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah. Abu Dhabi
set up the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority in 2004

Europe
(32 %)
Data
Establishment
Statistics,
2008. 2008.
Datafrom
fromDubai
Dubai
Establishment
Statistics,

to take charge of tourism development, which is


based on extensive cultural, sports, and recreational
complexes, including the cultural district on Sadiyat Island where the Louvre and the Guggenheim
Museums will open branches, or the motor-racing
track on Yas Island. The emirate has invested huge
amounts and established the Tourism Development Investment Company to set up the necessary
infrastructure.
Contrary to the popular image of an up market
destination consisting of ostentatious or futuristic
emblematic luxury hotels like the Emirates Palace
in Abu Dhabi, or the Burj al-Arab and the Atlantis in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, which rank
thirty-second in the world in terms of tourist arrivals but forty-second in terms of tourism revenue, are
more interested in promoting mass tourism. Oman,
with its splendid mountains, its seaside, and desert
landscapes has not yet given in to this temptation,
as it seems determined to develop sustainable tourism by securing the loyalty of a well-to-do clientele
genuinely fond of the country, while safeguarding
its natural surroundings and cultural heritage.

49

Towards a Knowledge Society

The Gulf states have been framing policies for the last twenty years to develop
the most advanced sectors of the global economy. During the 2000s, most
of the countries that have focused on this strategy have striven, in varying
degrees, to create a knowledge society by resorting to various methods. For
the time being, none has reached a sufficient level to produce scientific and
technological innovation, nor do they give cultural activities and knowledge
workers a predominant position in society. Nevertheless, some governments
are making an effort to adopt development models from more advanced
countries based on activities and sectors employing highly qualified manpower conversant with the latest technology. The petroleum sector, which is
dependent on research and development, is the major driving force behind
this desire for change. The energy sector in the Gulfs Arab countries attracts
highly qualified people who contribute to the expansion of the knowledge
society by demanding sophisticated services to satisfy their professional and
personal requirements. The development of these services, the modernization of numerous activities, and the rise of new sectors are largely based on

Adult
literacy
rate

Net enrolment
rate in primary
education (%)

Net enrolment
rate in secondary
education (%)

Government spending
in the eld of education
(in % of GDP)

1980

2008

2005

2005

1980

2002-2006

Iran

50

82.3

95.2

76.9

7.4

n/a

Iraq

40

74

87.7

37.8

2.9

n/a

Kuwait

68

94.5

88

86.1

2.4

5.4

Saudi Arabia

48

89

90.7

87.5

7.2

Qatar

70

93.1

96

79

2.6

2.7

Bahrain

72

88.8

97.1

89

2.9

4.3

UAE

70

90

71

57.4

1.3

1.7

Oman

57.2

81.4

73

78

From Human
Reports
2009,2009,
UNDPUNDP;
; UNESCO
data base
; Education
International
Barometer.Barometer.
From
HumanDevelopment
Development
Reports
UNESCO
data
base; Education
International

50

THE DEVELOPMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION


Basra

Ahvaz
Khorramshahr
Abadan

Yasuj
Shiraz

Kuwait City

Bushehr

Kerman

Jahrom

Jiroft

Hafar al Batin

Bandar
Abbas
Al Jubail
Dammam

Al Ahsa
Riyadh

100 km

Number of accredited
higher education
institutions, 2009
18
10
5
3
1

Rafsanjan

Iranshahr

Manama
Ras al Khaimah
Ajman

Doha

Sharjah

Dubai
Abu Dhabi

Shabahar

Buraimi
Al Ain

Sohar
Barka
Nizwa

Muscat
Ibra

Sur

foreign collaboration. This encourages qualified migrants from western, Arab,


and Asian countries to settle in the Gulf and speeds up the creation of multicultural management teams.
Investment in education is essential for the Gulf states, where a large part
of the population was illiterate only a few decades ago. Developing an education system to train the countrys elite to take charge of its future and also
provide quality education to the children of expatriates is a major challenge.
There is a sincere effort to improve the public education system, where teaching methods remain authoritarian and still include learning by rote. There is
also an increase in the number of private schools, where commercial motives
sometimes take precedence over learning. Some schools target a specific
clientele and follow a curriculum that is similar to the one followed in the
pupils country of origin, often in their mother tongue or in English, as in many
Indian schools. Others attract foreigners, and, increasingly, local families who
are keen on sending their children to schools employing modern teaching
methods through the medium of either Arabic or English. In many countries,

a speedy and radical transformation


DUBAI EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Stress on social development :
Opening of Dubai International
Academic City,
Dubai Real Estate Institute,
Dubai Aerospace University,
Dubai Education council,
Knowledge and Human
Development Authority

2015

2010

Dubai Strategic Plan 2006 - 2015


Development of foreign
institutes in Free Zones :
Knowledge Village, Dubai
Media City, Dubai Internet
City, Dubai International
Financial Centre, Silicon
Oasis, Health Care City
Dubai Strategic Plan 2000 - 2010

Development of
vocational
institutes

Rise of
private
schooling

2006

2000
Creation
of model
schools

1998 : Zayed University,


Abu Dhabi, Dubai

1990
1989 : Higher College of
Education, Dubai

Development of
public schooling
1980
1977 : 1st University,
UAEU, Al Ain

Building a
modern
education
system for boys
and girls

1971 : Independance
1970
1969 : 1st delivered
oil barrels

Only some
systematic
schools

1960

From Lise
Lise Commandeur,
Commandeur, La
La politique
politique ducative
ducative de
de Douba,
Douba , inin B.B.Dumortier
From
Dumortier (dir.),
(dir.),
Mondialisation et
et Socit
Socit de
de la
la Connaissance
Connaissance aux
arabes unis,
Machrek, n
Mondialisation
aux mirats
mirats arabes
unis, Maghreb
Maghreb-Machrek,
n195,
195,
2008.
2008.

current reforms encourage the adoption of revised


curricula, which raises the question of initial and
continuous training for teachers.
At the same time, university education is going
through a serious transformation. Until the late
1950s, there were no institutions of higher learning
in the region, except for Shiraz University and the
Institute of Technology in Abadan. The University
of Riyadh was established in 1957, Basra University
in 1964, Kuwait University in 1966, and UAE University at al-Ain in 1976. Yet it is not enough to open
universities to produce large numbers of graduates
of a high level in all specialized disciplines, and so
the Gulf states give scholarships to their students to
pursue higher education abroad. In the mid-1990s,
the need for training and the growing demand of
trained personnel, a result of the populations age
structure and the spread of secondary education,
led to the rapid growth of public and private institutions, even in Iran where the latter offer more
interesting curricula and give preference to courses
leading to well-paid jobs. On the Arabian coast,
prestigious foreign universities and well-respected
institutes are invited and funded to set up their
own campuses or open educational institutions in
collaboration with local organizations. Some governments have set apart dedicated zones for education like the Knowledge Village and the Academic
City in Dubai.
Because most universities were established fairly
recently, they are not in a position to conduct
research. All research activities take place in public
specialized agencies. The Arab Gulf States also provide funds to research institutions abroad and facilitate the stay of students pursuing doctoral research
in foreign countries in order to benefit from the
knowledge they acquire. Finally, most important
contracts contain clauses regarding transfer of technology. In spite of these efforts, it is not easy to put

high-tech industries on a firm footing: they are still


in an embryonic stage or limited to providing services to companies. The desire to acquire the most
sophisticated technology in all areas encourages
these countries to import the most efficient systems
and fund experimental projects.
The policy aimed at building a knowledge society
also requires the building an economy of culture,
which is considered indispensable for attracting
executives, engineers, and top-level experts, and
enhancing the regions value in the worlds eyes.
Manifestations of this policy include Dohas Museum
of Islamic Art and the Sadiyat cultural district in Abu
Dhabi, the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra and
the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the construction
of world-class convention centres with the capacity
for hosting major events as well as the organization
of festivals and the emergence of contemporary art,
which, paradoxically, is vibrant in Iran, though Iranian artists exhibit their work in Dubai.
LARGE CULTURAL INVESTMENTS
SAADIYAT CULTURAL DISTRICT
N

Saadiyat
Yas
Abu
Dhabi

to

Guggenheim Museum
(2013)
National Museum
(2013)

10 km

dubai

(via Yas Island)

Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi (2013)


Performing Arts Center (2013)

Motorway
Express way
Sheikh
Khalifa
bridge

to
Maritime
abu dhabi Museum
(via Mina)
(2013)
0

2 km
Cultural
district

Nature
reserve

Real estate
project

From
From <www.saadiyat.ae/en>.
<www.saadiyat.ae/en>.

51

The Gulf Cooperation Council

THE SIX MEMBERS OF THE COOPERATION COUNCIL FOR THE ARAB STATES OF THE GULF
Oil pipeline

Oil field

Gas pipeline

Gas field

Oil terminal
Gas terminal

Tabuk

Container port

A l

Refinery

Liquefaction plant
Western army base

Kuwait City

Motorway, main road

A rab

i j

Kuwait

- Pe

rsi
Dammam

Mecca

H
St. of or

Doha

Qatar

Dubai
Abu Dhabi

of

UAE

Al Ain
lH

i r
A s

Saudi Arabia

lf

Gul

At Taif

Al Ahsa

Bahrain

Manama G u

muz

Jiddah

Riyadh

an

d
N e

Medina

S e a

52

FROM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO ECONOMIC INTEGRATION

R e d

The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, commonly known as
the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) brings together six of the eight countries
bordering the Gulf: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. The councils charter states in its preamble that the founding
members, fully conscious of their special connections, their common characteristics, and their similar systems based on the religion of Islam, seek to
establish coordination, cooperation and integration in all domains. The Gulf
Cooperation Council was established in 1981 as a strategic defensive alliance
against Iran. Sheikh Zayed, the emir of Abu Dhabi and the president of the
United Arab Emirates, was the principal architect of this alliance. He saw it as
a powerful instrument of negotiation to prevent a confrontation with Iran and
avoid foreign intervention. The Gulf Cooperation Council was also a manifestation of the desire to strengthen a strong solidarity between the Arab states
of the Gulf within the Arab world. This solidarity was expressed, for instance,
at the diplomatic level by a common declaration supporting the claim of the
United Arab Emirates to the islands of Lesser Tunb, Greater Tunb, and Abu
Musa, currently held by Iran. It was also expressed in the realm of humanitarian aid by setting up a system of common funding and in the area of security by signing mutual defence agreements. It was under these agreements
that troops were sent to Bahrain in the spring of 2011 to quell violent protests
against the ruling dynasty by a section of the population.
Since its establishment, particularly under the influence of Kuwait, the GCC
progresses towards a customs union and a common market. It is gradually
becoming a model of economic integration along the lines of the European
Union, even going as far as to examine the possibility of adopting a common
currency. Several common organizations that existed before the creation of
the alliance were retained, particularly in the domains of the media, health,
and industrial development. But the Council must go further and coordinate
plans to promote cooperation between the member states and encourage

aja

O m an

Muscat
r

Oman

0 to 200 m
200 to 500 m
500 to 1000 m
1000 to 2000 m
2000 m and more

Manama Capital city


Urban agglomeration
population in 2010
5,000,000
2,500,000
1,000,000
500,000
100,000

Oman
Sea
0

200 km

a speedy and radical transformation


Area
(km)
Kuwait
Saudi Arabia

Population
2009
(thousands)

Birth rate
2009
()

Death rate
2009
()

Total fertility rate


2009
birth / women

GDP
2009
(million $)

GDP
per capita
2009

HDI
2010

Oil production
2010
(thousands of b/d)

Natural gas production


2010
(billion of m)

17,818

2,795

17.6

1.9

2.1

148,023.7

36,412

0.771

2,450,370

11.69

2,149,690

25,391

24.2

3.6

3.1

375,766.4

14,799

0.752

10,521,089

89.62

Bahrain

791

728

16.2

3.3

2.2

20,594.9

26,021

0.801

46,435

15.49

11,000

1,409

10.7

1.8

2.2

98,313.2

69,754

0.803

1,437,224

102.79

UAE

830,600

4,598

16

1.3

2.2

230,251.9

50,070

0.815

2,812,837

75.83

Oman

212,457

2,845

21

2.6

2.8

46,114.4

17,890

0.800

877,876

31.06

Qatar

Data
fromWorld
WorldBank,
Bank,
IMF,
UNDP,
Data from
IMF,
UNDP,
EIA. EIA.

complementarities in order to avoid the duplication


of efforts and competition. However, crucial projects are progressing in the realm of infrastructure,
projects such as the interconnection of the electricity grid and the water supply network and the
construction of a high-speed railway line. Allowing
the free movement of citizens from one member
country to another and granting them the freedom
to invest in economic activities and acquire land
and property in any member country are essential
aspects to strengthening this integration process.
The functioning of the Gulf Cooperation Council
is dependent on several institutions. The highest
authority, known as the Supreme Council, consists
of the heads of the Member States, and its presidency rotates. Resolutions on major issues must be
passed unanimously. A Dispute Settlement Commission is constituted on a case by case basis if a
dispute arises. The Secretary General is assisted by
ten Assistant Secretaries General (political; economic; security and military affairs; human rights;
environment relations with the European Union,
etc.). The Ministerial Council, which meets once
every three months, consists of the foreign affairs
ministers of Member States. It formulates policies, makes recommendations, and coordinates the

implementation of ongoing projects. The distribution of the various offices among the capitals of different member countries has created tensions and
discontent while the insistence that all decisions be
based on consensus often obstructs the implementation of projects. Various countries find it difficult
to renounce even a small fraction of their sovereign
powers. There is a divergence of interests between
Member States due to significant differences in land
area, population, and the volume of their oil and
gas reserves. The GCC countries find themselves
at different stages of human development and of
social and cultural changes, which is reflected in
their demographics. For example, the difficulties
faced by the proposal to introduce a common currency, which Oman did not support and which
United Arab Emirates withdrew from midway,
arose in a large measure from the diversity of their
economies. There is disagreement on the eventual
admission of Yemen to the Gulf Cooperation Council. Finally, one of the most important problems
facing the Council is that the various countries are
members of different alliances whose objectives do
not always coincide, to say nothing of the need to
make adjustments to satisfy the requirements of the
Greater Arab Free Trade Area.

MULTIPLE MEMBERSHIPS
Member of OPEC
Member of OPAEC

Iraq

Iran
Kuwait

Saudi
Arabia

Bahrain
Qatar
UAE
Oman

Member of the G.C.C.


Member of the Indian Ocean
Rim Association for Regional
Cooperation

500 km

53

Dissimilar Territories

The State of Kuwait

A CITY-STATE
A CITY-STATE

THE CAPITAL AND THE DESERT


THE CAPITAL AND THE DESERT

Although oil was discovered as early as 1938 in southwest Kuwait (where the Burgan oilfield became
the worlds largest after Ghawar in Saudi Arabia),
Kuwait did not start drilling operations until 1946,
because of the outbreak of World War II. As one
of the earliest countries to develop its oil industry in the region, Kuwait, which ranks eleventh in
terms of production, eighth in terms of exports, and
fourth in terms of the size of its reserves, produces
3.2 percent of the worlds oil and owns 8.5 percent
of its total oil reserves. Since income from oil
accounts for 62 percent of its GDP and oil constitutes 95 percent of its exports, the emirate appears
to be the quintessential Rentier State as, in addition
to the direct oil revenues, there is also indirect rent
derived from interest on the 10 percent earnings
invested in funds for the benefit of future generations. Although Kuwaits economy depends mainly
on its oil reserves with diversification confined to
oil-based industries such as refineries and the production of chemical fertilizers, its location on the
north-western shore of the Gulf adds to its geopolitical importance. Dominated in turn by Mesopotamia and Persia in ancient times, this land, which
changed hands frequently, became an independent
sheikhdom under a British protectorate. The latter,
however, faced stiff competition from two German
allies, Iran and the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Iraq; all were interested in Kuwait because
it could provide them access to the sea.
In 1756, a member of the al-Sabah family, the
reigning dynasty, ruled under the title of emir
over a portion of the desert with vague boundaries

56

which included a small port that gave its name to


the emirate. In 1899, the emir seceded from Ottoman rule and signed a treaty making Kuwait a
British protectorate. In 1961, when Kuwait was
threatened by an Iraqi invasion just six days after
its independence, it survived as an independent
country thanks to its former protector and the
Arab League. In addition to economic reasons, like
the huge debt Iraq owed Kuwait, contracted during the Iraq-Iran War (198088), the Iraqi invasion
of August 1990 appears to be a structural element
of the relationship between the small emirate and
its powerful neighbor. A military intervention by a
coalition of thirty-four countries restored Kuwaits
territorial integrity. But the seven months of Iraqi
occupation induced the country, which has maintained an Arabist and non-aligned stand for thirty
years, to reorient its diplomacy. After the Gulf War,
Arab migrants from Iraq and pro-Iraq countries like
Palestine, Syria, and Yemen became unwelcome
in Kuwait. Although the number of Egyptians living in Kuwait is still sizeable, workers from South
Asia now constitute a majority among the migrant
population. Including natives and foreigners, ethnic
Arabs still account for almost 60 percent of the total
population, more than in any other country of the
GCC, with the exception of Saudi Arabia. This demographic means that even though English is widely
spoken, Arabic is used more frequently than in the
other Gulf states, in addition, the emirate set about
educating its population quite early and adopted a
policy of Kuwaitizing its labour force. This early
investment in education and healthcare was not

Population density
Population
density
by Governorate
in 2005
by Governorate
10
100in 2005
1 000
10
100 1 000
0
20 km
(inh/km2)
0
20 km
(inh/km2)
Data from
Data
from Population
PopulationCensus
CensusofofKuwait,
Kuwait,2005.
2005.
Data from Population Census of Kuwait, 2005.

URBAN SPRAWLING TOWARDS SOUTH


URBAN SPRAWLING TOWARDS THE SOUTH

Kuwait City
Kuwait City

Al Jahra
Al Jahra
Number of inhabitants
Number
in 2005 of inhabitants
in 2005
1,155,500
1,155,500

Hawalli
Hawalli
Al Ahmadi
Al Ahmadi

350,000
350,000
200,000
200,000
0
0

20 km
20 km

Data from Population Census of Kuwait, 2005.


Data from
Data
from Population
PopulationCensus
CensusofofKuwait,
Kuwait,2005.
2005.

dissimilar territories
AN OIL-RICH EMIRATE AT THE NORTHERN END OF THE GULF
4700' E

4800'

IRAN
3000' N

Warbah

A l R u datai n

IRAQ

Bubiyan

Madinat
al Hareer
B ahara
Subiyah
Kuwait Bay

Kuwait City

Failaka

281 m
Min ag i sh
U mm
G adai r

2900'

B u r g an

SAUDI ARABIA
Khiran
Waf ra

20 km

Highest point

Urban area

Oil field

Main road

New town

Oil pipeline

Bridge in project

Urban project

Oil terminal

Airport

Desert

Petrochemical industry

Desalination plant

Agricultural area

Refinery

From B. Dumortier, Gographie de l'Orient arabe, Armand Colin, 1997 (updated, 2011).

From B. Dumortier, Gographie de l'Orient arabe, Armand Colin, 1997 (updated, 2011).

limited to Kuwait, as the Kuwaiti government also funded schools, hospitals,


and infrastructure in emirates lacking oil reserves. Its generosity in providing
humanitarian and financial assistancenot only to its neighbors and Arab
countrieswas one of the distinctive traits of this pioneering democracy. In
2006, following the demise of Sheikh Jabar after a reign that lasted twentyeight years, the Kuwaiti Parliament, which is elected by universal suffrage
since 1962, voted for the deposition of the new emir and his replacement by
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
During the 1990s the cost of reconstruction, as well as the money assigned to
western troops depleted the countrys wealth. Over the following decade, the
explosion of oil prices, together with a highly profitable transit trade after the
second foreign intervention in Iraq, this time mainly by the United States,
enabled Kuwait, which had been trying since 2008 to normalize its relations
with its neighbor, to revive growth. The economic system started to be liberalized by encouraging private initiative and facilitating foreign investments. The
country also began speculating in real estate and built superb tower housing
offices and apartments. It is developing seaside resorts and nautical sports:
Failaka Island in the Bay of Kuwait (occupied by the Greeks in the time of
Alexander the Great) now hosts a luxury tourist resort. A deep-water port is
under construction on Bubiyan Island which, when connected by rail to Basra
and beyond, will give Iraq greater access to the sea. The deregulation of air traffic has seen the rise of several private airlines using Kuwait as a hub. The new
dynamic, similar to the one that drives other Gulf emirates, is not determined by
the size of this state, which has an area of just 17,818 km2 (including the 922 km2
on nine islands) and three million inhabitants with 98 percent urbanization
rate. Its location between the three regional powers has left a mark on Kuwait:
to its south and east, it shares oil reserves with Saudi Arabia, which stretches in
a neutral zone covering 5,770 km2 that was divided between the two countries
in 1969; to its north lies Iraq, which has claimed Kuwait as its nineteenth province; to the west is Iran, with which it has no land boundary. Although, British cartographers demarcated the land borders between these four countries
across the desert around 1920, the sea borders between them have not been
demarcated as yet. This explains the strategic importance of the two largest
islands belonging to Kuwait, Bubiyan (863 km2) and Warbah (37 km2), lying
just a few hundred meters from the Iraqi coast. These gave rise to fierce negotiations when offshore oil deposits were discovered there. The countrys division into six governorates, which vary in size varies from just 84 to 12,130 km2,
reflects the dichotomy between the desert and the urban sprawl of the capital
where the population, business activities and services are concentrated.

57

Saudi Arabias Eastern Province

SAUDI ARABIA. AN OILRICH COAST ON THE GULF


THE LARGEST STATE IN THE ARAB PENINSULA
JORDAN

IRAQ

0 to 200 m

IRAN

200 to 500 m

Buraydah

az

Riyadh

Ghawar

Medina

Jiddah

2000 m and more

Jubail a b
sa
Ras Tannurah
Pe r s i a n G u l f
Abqaiq
Dammam
Hofuf

Yanbu

Safaniyah

Ah

ij

1000 to 2000 m

Ar

N ufud D e s e r t
Hafar al-Batin
Hail

500 to 1000 m

KUWAIT
Khai

Harad

UAE

Mecca

OMAN

At Taif

Rub Al Khal i

si

d
R e

SUDAN

a
S e

58

Tabuk

Al

Saudi Arabia opens onto the Gulf with a coast stretching over 585 kilometres
from its border with Kuwait on its west to Qatar, to which must be added the
25 kilometres between East Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The kingdoms traditional division into regions is quite typical: in the centre lies the
Bedouin region of Nejd, the birthplace of the ruling dynasty and Wahhabi
reformers where the capital Riyadh is located; to the west is Hijaz, traditionally a trading area where the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the port of
Jeddah on the Red Sea are located; to the southwest lies Asir, a mountainous
region with rainfall similar to Yemen; to the east is the province of al-Ahsa.
Before its conquest by the al-Sauds and its unification with the Nejd in 1914,
the Eastern Province was a part of the Ottoman Empire and its population was
mainly Shii. This peculiarity persisted after the establishment of the kingdom
of Saudi Arabia in 1932 and the transfer of the provincial capital from the oasis
of Hofuf to the coastal city of Dammam, even though sizeable internal migrations and the influx of foreign migrants reduced the percentage of Shiis in
the population. In 2007, the countrys Shii population numbered 3,545,644 or
15 percent of the countrys total population. After the enactment of the law of
1992, which reorganized the country into thirteen provinces divided into governorates, al-Ahsa (or al-Hasa) became the Eastern Province (al-Sharqiyah),
which is by far the countrys largest (710,000 km2 or 31.5 percent of the countrys total area) and stretches for the most part across the Rub al-Khali desert.
Out of the eleven governorates in the new province, nine border the Gulf.
There have been significant changes in this region since it started operating
its enormous oilfields in 1939. The worlds largest oilfield (Ghawar) and the
largest offshore field (Safaniyah) were discovered in the 1950s. The coast with
its saline sands and marshes dotted with fishing villages has been developed for
drilling, exporting, and processing this black gold. Consequently, some parts
of the province are becoming urbanized and industrialized at a rapid pace.
Today, Dammam, with a population of more than one million, has become
economically important, especially because it is fast joining Dhahran (200,000
inhabitants), headquarters of the Saudi Aramco (which controls the entire oil
industry), and al-Khobar (200,000 inhabitants), a residential and commercial

Khamis Mushayt

3207 m
Abha

Najran

Irrigated agricultural
area
Oil eld

ERITREA
Population of urban
agglomeration
4,000,000
2,500,000
1,000,000
500,000
200,000
Other town

Gas eld

YEMEN

Oil pipeline
Disused oil pipeline
Gas pipeline
Oil terminal
Non-specialized port

DJIBOUTI
ETHIOPIA

Renery
300 km

SOMALIA

Motorway

city. These three cities have now become a part of the Metropolitan Area
of Dammam, the kingdoms third largest urban agglomeration after Riyadh
(5 million) and Jeddah (4 million). Urbanization is spreading in the north
towards the coastal oasis of Qatif (130,000), a Shii stronghold located about
twenty kilometres from the centre of Dammam, and the peninsula of Ras Tannurah developed during the 1940s by Aramco, which built not only a port and
a refinery, but also a private township, Nejma, whose mainly American staff it
offers a golf course, bowling alley, theatre, and so forth. A cosmopolitan centre

dissimilar territories
LOW DENSITY

A POLYCENTRIC METROPOLIS

IMPACT OF OIL ON SETTLEMENT


Iraq

Iran

Hafar al-Batin

IRAN

IRAN

Al Jubayl

Kuwait

Qatif
DammamDahranAl-Khobar

BAHRAIN
Bahrain

QATAR

Qatar

QATAR

riyadh

UAE

Hofuf

UAE

UAE

Number of inhabitants
in urban area, 2004

Sudan

1,200,000

Population density
by Region in 2004
5
10
20
(inh/km2)

Oman
Yemen

50
0

300 km

Population density
by Governorate in
the Eastern Region, 2004
5
10
100
(inh/km2)

600,000
300,000
200,000

1,000
0

200 km

OMAN

najran
0

300 km

OMAN

Data from Census of Population 2004, Central Department of Statistics.


Data from Census of Population 2004, Central Department of Statistics.

Data from Census of Population 2004, Central Department of Statistics.


Data
from Census of Population 2004, Central Department of Statistics.

Data from Census of Population 2004, Central Department of Statistics.


Data
from Census of Population 2004, Central Department of Statistics.

today, it is home to 3,200 persons. About 100 km


to the north of Dammam, in 1975 the government
built the new city of al-Jubail (250,000 inhabitants)
complete with zoning, gardens, and wide avenues
so that the quality of life is on a par with its modern industry. This industrial complex is linked with
Yanbu, its counterpart on the shores of the Red Sea,
by a 1,100 km pipeline (Petroline). The discovery of
oil deposits at Khafji in the neutral zone that was
divided in 1965 between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
has brought industrial development to this city
(60,000 inhabitants). During the Gulf War, Khafji
(in Saudi territory) was occupied by the Iraqi army
and after severe fighting was liberated by the Coalition forces at the end of January 1991.
In the interior, Hofufs population accounts for
almost half the total population of 600,000 of the alAhsa oasis area. This area has a traditional wealth
of immense date-palm groves, citrus orchards,
vegetables, and fodder crops to feed its sizeable

livestock (sheep, goats, cows, and dromedaries),


associated with circular fields irrigated by sprinkler
systems and with battery farms. The proximity of
Dammam (150 km), Manama (160 km), and Doha
(250 km) has given a boost to the development of
food industry, including a factory processing dates.
This ancient crossroads of caravans located near
major oil reserves has a university and is the centre
for services in this part of the province. In the desert, in addition to the oil town of Abqaiq (30,000
inhabitants), there are several oases inhabited by
a few thousand people, accessible by tarmac roads
and provided with government aid for the development of irrigated intensive agriculture.
Public investments have not overlooked the
development of a transport infrastructure. Though
there are no railways in the rest of the kingdom,
a railway has been built to transport freight from
Dammam to Riyadh via Hofuf and Harad, a gas production centre since 1951. In 1981, a passengers line

via Hofuf and Abqaiq was added. While the Saudi


Railways Organization is being privatized, a 950-km
track for freight and passengers trains is planned
between al-Jubail and Jeddah via Dammam, along
with a regional coastal line from Dammam to Ras
al-Zor, which has an aluminium factory. A network
of roads and highways connects the coastal region
with the capital and with neighboring countries,
while the King Fahd Causeway between Saudi Arabia and the island of Bahrain was entirely funded
by the Saudi government. The airports of Hofuf and
al-Jubail serve domestic airlines and the King Fahd
Airport in Dammam caters to both national and
international passengers. The sizeable Shii population, the dynamism of the business sector, and the
progressive attitude of the youth have impelled the
central government to pay considerable attention
to the regions development so as to forestall separatist claims in this area that contains a significant
part of the kingdoms wealth.

59

The Kingdom of Bahrain


A NORTH-SOUTH CONTRAST

Bahrain, with an area of just 707 km2, is an archipelago of thirty-three islands.


Connected to Saudi Arabia since 1987 by a 26-km bridge, the eponymous island,
which is by far the largest, is home to the majority of the kingdoms population
(650,604 in 2001 and 1,234,571 in 2010). The capital, Manama (155,000 inhabitants), is an agglomeration with a total population of 250,000 including Muharraq, the countrys second largest city (65,000 inhabitants). Their location and
the availability of groundwater have made these islands an important stopover
for all shipping in the Gulf from antiquity. A prosperous trading centre, Bahrain, called Dilmun (the land of two seas) by the Sumerians, has long been
sought after by powers desirous of controlling the region. The archipelago came
under Portuguese rule in the sixteenth century and under the Persians during
the next two centuries. From 1920 to 1971, the British established a protectorate
that allowed the al-Khalifa dynasty, which has been ruling the archipelago since
1783, to remain in power.
Since its oil reserves, which have been exploited since 1932, are practically
exhausted, Bahrain has been obliged to diversify its economy. It has thus become
a hub of international trade serving Saudi Arabia and, albeit irregularly, Iran.
Bahrain is a port of entry for a variety of goods. It also exports Saudi oil thanks to
its refinery built in 1936, which is the oldest in the Gulf. It collaborates with Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait to produce chemical fertilizers, and has a large aluminium
plant and car factories. Many companies working in the areas of logistics and
business consultancy have set up their head offices in the kingdom. Because of its
reputation for tolerance and its lively nightlife, Bahrain is attractive for foreigners,
people from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as tourists from countries outside
the Gulf region whom it offers luxury hotels and recreational areas, which are
less expensive than those in the neighboring emirates making it a popular vacation spot. But most importantly, since the 1980s Bahrain has become the regions
and the Arab worlds financial centre, with more than 300 financial institutions.
This is a result of the difficulties experienced by Beirut in regaining its position
after the civil war, as well as the strong policy adopted by Bahrain in 1975; it offers
substantial tax benefits and the advantage of banking secrecy to banks wanting to
establish themselves in the kingdom. These offshore banks, though not permitted
to accept deposits from the kingdoms citizens or residents, are placed under the

60

DENSITY

URBANIZATION
Muharraq

Budai

Manama
Jidd Hafs

Ali

Medina Isa

Sitrah

Hammad
Rifa

5 km

Population density
by Governorate in 2001
10

100

Number of inhabitants
in 2001

1,000

150,000
50,000
30,000

(inh/km2)
Data from
Data
from:: <www.citypopulation.de>.
<www.citypopulation.de>

5 km

Data
Data from
from:: <www.citypopulation.de>.
<www.citypopulation.de>

supervision of the Bahrain Monetary Agency, which reinforces the fight against
money laundering. They manage government funds as well as funds belonging
to regional institutions. Bahrain is also the Arab worlds Islamic finance centre, operating in US dollars on international markets in accordance with the
financial ethics prescribed by the Quran. Since 2001, Bahrain has been the seat
of the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM), which aims to regulate
and promote Islamic banking. Although it wanted to diversify its economy as
early as the 1970s, a radical change was ushered in only after 1999, following the
accession of Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa and the introduction of largescale reforms.

dissimilar territories

A POST-OIL ARCHIPELAGO
5015'E

5030'

Al Khobar
Muharraq

SAUDI
ARABIA

Kin

gF

ah

2615'N

Manama
dC

aus

ewa

Sitrah
Umm
Nasar
Karzakkan
Al Malikiyah

5045'E
2545'N

Gulf
of
Bahrain

Awali
Askar

Al Zallaq

Hawar Islands
Al Wasmiyah

Jebel
al-Dukhan
134 m
Jaw

Amar

Al Mumattalah

Main road

2600'

Al Dur

Rumaithah

Desert

Airport

Agricultural area

Desalination plant

Oil and gas field

Urban area in 1990

Oil pipeline

Urban area in 2008

Refinery

Locality with more


than 1,000 inhabitants

Gas liquefaction plant

From B. Dumortier, Gographie de l'Orient arabe, Armand Colin, 1997 (updated, 2011).

From B. Dumortier, Gographie de lOrient arabe, Armand Colin, 1997 (updated, 2011).

10 km

Aluminium smelter

2645'
Ship repair industry

Steel industry

Highest point

The native population, constituting about 60 percent of the total population,


is made up of a Shii majority and a strong Sunni minority, to which the royal
family and the influential circles belong. After independence, efforts to establish
a parliamentary system of government failed due to a certain amount of discrimination against the Shii population. Confronted with regular demonstrations, supported after 1979 by Khomeinist Iran, and linked after 1994 to financial difficulties,
the government became stricter, increasing the number of arrests and accepting
a strategic alliance with the United States. The kingdoms transformation into a
constitutional monarchy in 2002 was the beginning of a democratization process.
It consists in a bicameral parliament with an elected lower house and a nominated upper house; the right to vote and to be eligible for all citizens, including
women; regular legislative and municipal elections; a general amnesty; the abolition of the emergency law; and the abolition of the State Security Court that
had been in operation since 1975. But the measures aimed at improving the social
integration of different religious groups did little to reassure the Shii community. At the same time, reformists within the government did not succeed in setting in motion a lasting transformation that, for the more progressive elements,
should have include the establishment of political parties. In the spring of 2011,
there were violent protests and the demonstrators hardened their stance after
clashes with the police. After the violent repression of these demonstrations and
an armed intervention by Gulf Cooperation Council troops, a state of emergency
was declared and the leaders of the opposition were arrested.
Bahrains economic policy, considered by some international bodies as one of
the most liberal in the region, has not given rise to any controversy. It aims to
strengthen the countrys integration both at the regional and global levels. There
is an effort to reduce the public sectoruntil recently government jobs were the
only employment opportunity for the native populationby training the countrys youth to make them capable of performing skilled jobs in the private sector.
While taxation is very low, there is no ceiling on investments by foreign companies in many sectors including advanced technology, services, trade, and tourism. Expatriates have been allowed to buy property in some areas since 2002. The
settlement of the border dispute with Qatar in March 2001 by the International
Court of Justice in the Hague, in which Bahrain was granted sovereignty over the
islands of Hawar, will help normalize relations between the two neighbors. It also
opened the possibility of building a 45-kilometer marine causeway to connect the
two countries, thus accentuating the territorial integration of urban agglomerations along the coast.

61

The Emirate of Qatar

The Emirate of Qatar, an extremely flat peninsula spread over 11,521 km2 severely
lacking water resources and mostly desert, earns 60 percent of its GDP from
hydrocarbons. In 1908, Lorimer estimated that its continually fluctuating population was about 28,000 and consisted of Wahhabi tribes from central Arabia,
tribes from Oman, and local Bedouin tribes leading a nomadic life in the interior. A sedentary population of Arabic and Persian origin earned its livelihood
from fishing, pearl diving, and small-scale trading in some coastal settlements.
The decline of pearling reduced its population to 16,000 in 1949. At the time of
independence in 1971, Qatar, which refused to join the United Arab Emirates,
had a population of 122,455. According to official sources the population, mostly
of foreign origin, reached 744,029 in 2004 and 824,729 in 2007. Three-quarters of
this population lives in the Doha agglomeration, the capital city.
Economic and demographic growth made a slow start in 1949 when drilling
operations began in the Dukhan oilfield (producing 350,000 barrels per day in
2007) on the west coast of the peninsula, an area that still accounts for more than
one-third of the national oil production. After 1960, seven offshore oilfields (producing 607,000 barrels per day in 2007), including al-Bunduq that is shared equally
with Abu Dhabi, were discovered in the eastern part of Qatar. Idd al-Shargi, Maydan Mahzam, and Bul Hanin were discovered by Shell, which held the drilling
concession for the entire continental shelf from 1952 to 1974 when oil and gas
resources were nationalized. Their production, which peaked in 1972 and then
declined, is replaced by the that of the al-Khaleej oilfield near the terminal on alHalul Island, of al-Shaheen, which is expected to become the countrys largest oilfield, and of al-Rayyan at the edge of the worlds largest gas reserves discovered in
1971. Nearly two-thirds of the immense dome of natural gas that Qatar shares with
Iran are located in its territorial waters. Qatar now holds the worlds third largest
gas reserves. The production started in 1989, tripled between 1995 and 2005, and
was planned to increase six times between 2005 and 2012.
An inexorable dynamic now drives the emirate towards a more complex society
and economy. Independence did not bring any spectacular changes since those
who were then in power were reluctant to disturb old values and lifestyles. During
the 1970s, Doha, the only real city in the country, witnessed the rise of impressive towers, which did not show any boldness in architectural design. In spite

62

A HIGHLY CONCENTRATED POPULATION


A CONTRAST BETWEEN TWO FACADES

DOHA AND THE QATARI DESERT

Umm Salal
Al Rayyan

Doha

Al Wakra

Number of inhabitants
in 2004
350,000
250,000

Density of population
in 2004, by Zone
10

20 km

Data from
Data
fromPlanning
PlanningCouncil,
Council,Qatar.
Qatar.

100

1,000

(inhab./km2)

20 km

25,000

Data
Datafrom
from<www.citypopulation.de>.
<www.citypopulation.de>

of encouragement from western companies to launch large-scale projects, the


government has been contented with expanding the existing port infrastructure. Heavy industries, mostly oil-related, built in collaboration with powerful
foreign companies, generally as turnkey projects, are concentrated 36 km to
the south of Doha Bay, near the Umm Said oil terminal, where the Mesaieed
Industrial City (population 15,000) consisting of planned business and residential zones has come up. Located close to the countrys first oilfield, Dukhan is
directly linked with the oil installations and Umm Bab to a huge cement factory, while the industrial city of Ras Laffan, an energy hub under expansion
situated 80 km to the northwest of Doha was built ex nihilo.

dissimilar territories
A GASRICH PENINSULA
5100'E

Gulf
of Bahrain

5130'

5200'

Madinat Ash Shamal


Fuwairit
2630' N

Ras Lafan

Al Ghuwayriyah

Al Dhakira

Hawar
Islands

Al Khor

Al Jumailyah

2530'

Dukhan

Ash Shahaniyah
Rawdat Rasid

Umm Bab

Umm
Al Khisah
Salal
Mohammed
Doha
Al Rayyan

Abu Nakhlah
Al Wukair

Al Wakrah

Oil eld
Gas eld
Oil pipeline

Mesaieed
Al Kharrara

Umm Said

Gas pipeline
Oil terminal
Gas terminal

Salwa
Bay

Steel industry
Major
agglomeration

Qurayn Abu
al Baul
103 m

Town from 5,000


to 25,000 inh.

Cement
factory
Aluminium

Place from 1,000


to 5,000 inh.

Petrochemical
industry

Road

Desert

Renery

Harbor

Industrial area

Highest
point

Airport

10 km

From B. Dumortier, Gographie de l'Orient arabe, Armand Colin, 1997 (updated, 2011).

From B. Dumortier, Gographie de lOrient arabe, Armand Colin, 1997 (updated, 2011).

Agricultural area

Liquefaction
plant
2430'
Desalination
plant

In the northwest, the development of agriculture is being developed thanks to


300 artesian wells on 28,000 hectares of sandy-loamy soil. Thus Qatar, where the
cultivable area is limited to 5.7 percent of its territory and agriculture accounts for
only 0.1 percent of its GDP, manages to produce half its requirement of vegetables.
Though al-Zubarah, once an invincible fortress, was abandoned in 1937, small
oases and coastal villages have survived. A local administrative centre, Medinat
al-Shamal (City of the North), with a population of 3,000, is located near Ruwais,
which was once an active port. In the southwest, al-Kiranah, on the highway from
Doha to the Saudi border, was disputed until 2001; it is the principal settlement in
this part of the country with a population of 1,000. The rise to power of a new generation has brought about a turn in Qatars development policy. The transition,
which is taking place earlier than in other monarchies of the Gulf, is the result of a
palace revolution within the al-Thani dynasty that has ruled Qatar since 1867, the
country being controlled earlier by the ruling al-Khalifa dynasty of Bahrain. Sheikh
Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani, who dethroned his cousin in 1972, was deposed in
1995 by one of his sons, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The latter set the country on
the road to modernization and, in 1999, organized the first vote in the country, to
elect the Doha Municipal Council. While worksites and prestigious operations
increased and tourism was developed in the old pearling port of al-Khor (20,000
inhabitants), the Education City built near the capital hosts numerous institutions of higher education. Qatar nurses the ambition of becoming not only an
educational and cultural centre (with the Museum of Islamic Art, the National
Museum, and a symphony orchestra, but also a diplomatic and media hub. The
Arab worlds most popular satellite news channel was set up and is financed by
Sheikh Al-Thani, who has abolished censorship and shut down the Ministry of
Information. Al-Jazeera, run by a cosmopolitan team, shuns all taboos and broadcasts debates on sensitive topics in Arabic from Doha since 1995, and in English
from Kuala Lumpur since 2006. This channel has given an aura of openness to the
dynasty and enhanced Qatars international repute, which far exceeds its military
strength. Keen on playing mediator in conflicts involving Arab countries, Qatar
has created facilities to host international conferences. As a symbol of its position among the Gulf states, it has included among its numerous projects the construction of two bridges, one leading towards Bahrain and the other towards the
United Arab Emirates, with which it had a common border until the exchange of
territories between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 1992.

63

The Federation of the United Arab Emirates


COMPLEX INTERNAL BORDERS
IRAN

sian Gulf

Ras al Khaimah

OMAN
Ras
Musandam

Gul
Fujairah

f
f o

Umm al Quwain
Ajman
Sharjah
Dubai

QATAR

Abu Musa

A
I R

b-Per

Greater Tunb

Om
an

Madha

Abu Dhabi
Al Ain

Buraimi

Federal capital city


Emirate capital city
Abu Dhabi
Ajman
Dubai
Fujairah
Ras al Khaimah
Sharjah
Umm al Quwain
Ajman/Oman
Fujairah/Sharjah

I
Tropic of Cancer

AR

IA

64

Lesser Tunb

SAUD

Except for the emirate of Fujairah, which opens on the Gulf of Oman, and Sharjah, which benefits from two coastlines, the other emirates that constitute the
United Arab Emirates range along the Gulf. These shores, which find mention
in the works of ancient geographers, are known in modern Europe as the Pearl
Coast. In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese, fighting with the Ottomans and
the Arab inhabitants of the harbors along the coast, became established in the
Gulf area. In the eighteenth century, the British tried to impose their monopoly
on the regions sea trade, but the Qawassim who controlled the area around
Hormuz resisted and defied them in their dhows against the ships of the British East India Company; thus the region came to be known as the Pirate Coast.
Through naval expeditions and negotiations, the British were able to protect the
trade route to India and establish their supremacy over other European powers. After 1820, they concluded truces with local chiefs, leading to the Treaty of
Peace in Perpetuity in 1853 and to exclusive agreements with the sheikhdoms in
1892. The so-called Pirate Coast thus became a British protectorate named the
Trucial States. In 1968, the British recommended the federal model, which had
been experimented with for the decolonization of Malaysia. In 1971, independence was proclaimed and Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain,
Fujairah, and Ras al-Khaimah formed a federation known as the United Arab
Emirates (Bahrain and Qatar refused to join).
Oil production started in the 1960s and the strategic role of the Strait of Hormuz gave a critical importance to internal and external borders of the federation. Like the concept of the nation-state, the concept of borders is unfamiliar
in these arid lands dominated by tribal societies. Traditionally, space is not conceived in terms of territories bounded by imaginary lines, but in terms of changing itineraries determined by the location of pastures around watering places
or routes connecting harbors and oases. The power enjoyed by the sheikhs was
based more on genealogy than on geography. In 1992, the emir of Abu Dhabi,
keen to resolve the dispute with his powerful neighbor, agreed to an exchange of
territory and gave the Saudis a small opening on the Gulf between the Qatar
Peninsula and the United Arab Emirates. It was only in 2003 that the border disputes with Oman were resolved. The latter owns Madha, a small territory surrounded by the Emirate of Sharjah and the exclave of Ras Musandam, a peninsula

Ara

f Hormuz
Strait o

Former border
Disputed Island

25

50

75 km

FromB.B.Dumortier,
Dumortier,
P. Picouet,
J.P. Renard,
Les Frontires
mondiales,
Le2007.
Temps, 2007.
From
in in
P. Picouet,
J.P. Renard,
Les Frontires
mondiales,
Nantes, Nantes,
Le Temps,

TREMENDOUSDEMOGRAPHIC
DEMOGRAPHIC
AATREMENDOUS
GROWTH
GROWTH

millionofofinhabitants
inhabitants
million
4.54.5

44
3.53.5
33
2.52.5
22
1.51.5
1 1
0.50.5
00

1970 1975
1975 1980
1980 1985
1985 1990
1990 1995
1995 2000
2000 2005
2005 2010
2010
1970
Data
from
Census
and
ocial
survey.
Data
from
Census
and
ocial
survey.

Data from Census and official survey.

IMBALANCEDPOPULATION
POPULATION
IMBALANCED
PYRAMID
PYRAMID
Population2007
2007(in(inthousands)
thousands)
Population
Men
Men

and
8080
and
++
75-79
75-79
70-74
70-74
65-69
65-69
60-64
60-64
55-59
55-59
50-54
50-54
45-49
45-49
40-44
40-44
35-39
35-39
30-34
30-34
25-29
25-29
20-24
20-24
15-19
15-19
10-14
10-14
5-95-9
0-40-4

Women
Women

600 500
500 400
400 300
300 200
200 100100 0 0
200
600
0 0 100100 200
Source
: U.S
Census
bureau,
International
Data
Base.
Source
: U.S
Census
bureau,
International
Data
Base.

Source: U.S. Census bureau, International Data Base.

dissimilar territories
overlooking the western shore of the Strait of Hormuz. The demarcation of the border in the group of
oases historically known as the Buraimi Oasis gave
rise to a long dispute punctuated by skirmishes. The
dispute was finally resolved by allowing Buraimi to
remain in Oman and al-Ain in Abu Dhabi. The maritime borders with Iran continue to be a source of
permanent tension and the United Arab Emirates
has denounced the occupation by Iran of the three
strategic islands of Lesser Tunb, Greater Tunb, and
Abu Musa. Finally, the legacy of an economy based
since ancient times on the complementarity between
the coast, the desert, and the oases at the foothills
explains the complexity of internal borders and the
lands excessive fragmentation into non-contiguous
territories, enclaves, and jointly administered zones.
The seven emirates belonging to the Federation, four of which have no oil and gas reserves, are
demographically and economically unequal. The
disparities in population density are due essentially
to the differences in area ranging from the densely
populated Ajman (865 persons per square kilomeA COASTAL METROPOLIZATION
Number of inhabitants
in 2006
1,355,000
600,000

Ras al Khaimah
Umm al Quwain
Ajman
Sharjah
Dubai
Khor
Fakkan

350,000
100,000
30,000

Fujairah
Abu Dhabi

Al Ain
0

25

50

75

100 km

Data from <www.citypopulation.de>.


Data from <www.citypopulation.de>

Area
km 2
Abu Dhabi

Population 2006
%

number of
inhabitants

GDP 2006

million
of euro

GDP/inh.
%

euro

Oil production
2008
barrels/day

Oil reserves
billion
barrels

67,340

86.67

1,427,000

33.82

68,257

54.64

47,833

2,524,626

88.7

92.2

94.27

Dubai

3,885

5.00

1,366,000

32.37

38,647

30.94

28,292

240,000

8.4

4.10

Sharjah

2,590

3.33

821,000

19.45

12,084

9.67

14,719

65,000

2.3

1.5

1.53

Ajman

259

0.33

212,000

5.02

1,584

1.27

7,470

Umm al Quwain

777

1.00

50,000

1.18

509

0.41

10,176

R as al Khaimah

1,684

2.17

214,000

5.07

2,379

1.90

11,117

15,000

0.6

0.1

0.10

Fujairah

1,165

1.50

130,000

3.08

1,464

1.17

11,265

77,000

100

4,220,000

100

124,925

100

29,603

2,844,626

100

97.8

100

Total

tre in 2008) to the sparsely populated Abu Dhabi


(22 persons per square kilometre). With a Bedouin
and agro-pastoral tradition, Abu Dhabi is not only
the largest but also the most populated and the most
powerful emirate, thanks to its huge oil resources.
With a tradition of trade and seafaring, Dubai is the
second largest emirate in terms of land area, population, income, and influence; the income from oil
accounts for no more than 8 percent of its GDP.
Since their independence all the emirates have
recorded a spectacular population and economic
growth as well as rapid urbanization. The Federation
had a population of 7 million in 2011. In this state
where four out of five residents are foreigners (the
result of migratory dynamics peculiar to the Gulf s
Arabian coast), the population is characterized by
an uneven gender ratio (67.6 percent males) and a
predominantly young population (52.9 percent aged
between 20 and 39).
The government functions under a provisional
constitution drafted in 1971 and formally adopted in
1996, the year Abu Dhabi officially became the federal capital. The Federations jurisdiction covering
foreign affairs, defence, security, issues of nationality, and migration is clearly defined (Articles 120 and

121). All unlisted subjects are the responsibility of


each individual member state (Articles 116 and 122).
The Supreme Council of the Union, composed of the
emirs of the seven emirates, is presided by the emir
of Abu Dhabi, while the emir of Dubai is its vice president. It combines legislative and executive powers.
The Federal National Council, an advisory body, consists of 40 members drawn from the emirates in proportion to their respective populations. Since 2006,
half the members are elected by a college of 6,689
electors chosen by the rulers. Over the years, the
principle of integration has taken precedence over
the centrifugal tendencies visible in the early years.
A wise and respected leader, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi since 1966 and the
Federations President from 1971 until his demise in
2004, modernized his country while remaining faithful to the ancestral values of consultation (shura) and
consensus (ijma), as well as the practices of direct
democracy, by preserving the institution of public audiences (majlis). The numerous institutional
adjustments since 2000 and the framing of the new
strategy for federal governance made public in 2007
raise the issue of harmonizing the laws enacted by
various emirates and their systems of governance.

65

The Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai

At the end of the eighteenth century, the Bani Yas tribe migrated from the Liwa
Oasis to the coast. The al-Bu Falah sub-section of the tribe settled in Abu Dhabi
under the leadership of the al-Nahyan family while the al-Bu Falasah led by the
al-Makhtum family settled in Dubai. At present, these two emirates, one with
vast oil reserves and the other a trading community, one fabulously rich and
the other heavily in debt, differ from each other because of their economic policies: Abu Dhabi has a regulated economy, while Dubai is ultra-liberal. Although
the focus of media attention on Dubai has cast Abu Dhabi into the shadows,
thelatter, which loaned US$ 5 billion to Dubai, has changed direction since the
mid-2000s.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi draws its strength from its oil and gas, but in 2009 its
contribution to the emirates GDP dropped to less than 50 percent as a result of
the development of other sectors. Construction and real estate are now key sectors in Abu Dhabis economy. In the capital, business and conference tourism, as
well as sports tourism have profited by the increase in the number of hotel rooms
and other facilities. It is hoped that the ongoing construction of museums on
Sadiyat Island will promote international cultural tourism. The development of
tourism facilities in Sir Bani Yas, an island sanctuary famous for local fauna, shows
that the government is keen on promoting new tourist destinations. Another
notable development is the construction of a luxury tourist complex in the desert
around the Liwa Oasis; al-Ain has been made more attractive for tourists by holding a music festival there. Although the countrys oases, now increasingly visited
by tourists, still retain their productive function, agriculture now has a marginal
role in the economy as compared to industry. Established in 2004, ZonesCorp is
developing the manufacturing sector by creating special economic zones, some in
Mussafah, located thirty kilometres from the centre of Abu Dhabi, and others in
al-Ain. Near the newly open Khalifa port, an industrial zone is under construction
at Taweelah between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Finally, Ruwais is a huge complex of
oil-related industries.
Under a planning policy, the emirate has been divided into three regions to
counterbalance the excessive development of the coastal region. This development program is a part of the plan outlined in Vision 2030. This road map for
economic diversification (published in 2006) is meant to coordinate the actions

66

ABU DHABI, AN OIL-RICH DESERT LAND


TOWARDS POST-OIL ECONOMY
Urban agglomeration
(500,000 to 1 million)
Middle town
(10,000 to 30,000 inh.)
Small town
(5,000 to 10,000 inh.)
Other locality
International airport

Taweelah

Zirku

Delma

Sila

Dubai

Das Island

Mina ZayedUmm
al Nar

Mubarraz

Jebel Dhana
Shuwaihat

Abu Dhabi

Sir Bani Yas


Mirfa
Ruwais

Ghayathi

Tarif

Sweihan
Al Wafia

Abu Dhabi
Region

Habshan

Al Rahba

Al Ain

Remah

Sharqiyah
(Eastern
Region)

Al Wagan

Madinat Zayed

OMAN

Gharbiyah (Western Region)


L i w a

Oil field
Oil terminal
Refinery

Mizaira
Arada

Hamim

Liquefaction plant
Container port
Desalination plant

SAUDI ARABIA

50 km

Main agricultural
area
Sparse agricultural
area
Tourist place
Emirate border
Regional border

of various actors in the field of development and banks on the development


of knowledge industries to reduce its dependence on oil. The emirate wants
to satisfy 7 percent of its energy requirements through the development of
renewable energy by 2020. Near the international airport, Masdar, planned
for 40,000 residents and 50,000 commuters working in 1,500 companies in the
clean energy sector, is a key element of this scheme. However, this eco-city,
which gets its electricity from a photovoltaic power plant and recycles its waste
water, has had to settle for less utopian goals than those announced in its initial
slogan: Zero carbon, zero waste. Though the project is running behind schedule, it has not been cancelled. Similarly, successful lobbying by Abu Dhabi to
house the headquarters of IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency)
is symbolic of the role this oil emirate wants to play in the development of

dissimilar territories
PLANNING AHEAD: ENERGY FOR THE FUTURE
MASDAR CITY, ABU DHABI
Motorway

Other road
PRT
(Personal Rapid
Transit system)

Photovoltaic
power station

500 m
Residential

University

Car park

Commercial

Technological park
Special Economic
Zone

Park

Hotels, leisure

Masdar limits

Source
Masdar.
Source:: Masdar.

future energy sources. Abu Dhabi, prudent, wise


and conservative in its outlook, has often been compared to Dubai, which is visionary, adventurous, and
innovative. This contrast, though subject to certain
reservations, is not only a result of the differences in
their historical evolution and the dissimilar person-

alities of Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid, the first


emblematic rulers of the two emirates and pillars of
the Federation at the time of its creation, but also
and essentially it is a result of the vast difference in
their oil revenues.
Alternately acclaimed and discredited, Dubai has
indisputably played a pioneering role in the region.
It had sufficient oil revenues to finance top quality
infrastructure but not enough to depend on them
indefinitely; so it was compelled to diversify quite
early. It did this by showing a rare open-mindedness
and an enterprising spirit bolstered by the existence
of a bourgeoisie well-versed in the trade of precious
commodities (pearls, gold, and spices) and in outfitting ships. The Jebel Ali port, considered unrealistic
at the time, was commissioned as early as 1979; the
free zone adjoining it, which continues to expand,
was set up in 1985; the World Trade Centre was constructed in 1978. The Emirates Airways, in competition with Abu Dhabis Etihad Airways since 2003,
inaugurated its first flights in 1985. While Kuwait
called upon Kenzo Tange and cochard, Georges
Candilis was entrusted with the project of building
the Deira coastal road of Dubai in the mid-1970s, at a
time when signature projects were not yet in vogue
in the Gulf. Today Abu Dhabi has called upon Frank
Gerhy, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, and
Norman Foster to build its museums. Dubai then
threw itself into a race for gigantism, building the
worlds largest mall and highest tower. Similarly, it
launched a publicity blitz to draw attention to its
indoor ski track and its artificial islands. The real
estate and bank crises in 2008 brought back to reality the emirate that jealously guards its indepen-

dence and flaunts its success. Although it now has


to compete more and more with Abu Dhabi, Dubai
retains its predominance in the domain of trade and
its role as a financial hub, thanks to Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC).
CREATING A FINANCIAL HUB

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE


Emirates Towers

Emirates
Towers
Station

Gate District

Head office
Bank

Gate Village

Al Fattan
Currency House
0

100 m

Finance

Hotel, restaurant

DIFC

Fashion

DIFC administration

Built area

Jewellery

Airline company

Park

Fine art

Monetary authority

Road
Metro

From DIFC,
From
DIFC, Secure
Secure and
and fieldwork.
Fieldwork.

67

The Emirates of Ajman and Sharjah

The city and the emirate of Ajman were settled around 1775, and owe their origin to the settlement of some North Omani tribes led by the al-Nuaimis, whose
descendants now rule a tiny emirate divided into three parts that occupies only
0.33 percent of the total area of the United Arab Emirates. The first part, stretching over 200 km2 and constituting more than two-thirds of the emirates area, is
surrounded on three sides by the emirate of Sharjah; it constitutes a semi-enclave
because one of its sides opens on the Arabo-Persian Gulf. This portion, which is
mostly urbanized, is occupied by the city of Ajman, the emirates capital. Its traditional economy was based on activities linked with the sea. After the decline
of pearling, Ajman, which has no oil, remained a fishing harbor and maintained
one of the regions last shipbuilding yards. After the late 1980s, taking advantage
of its proximity to Dubai and the redistribution of income through the federal
budget, Ajman acquired the tools it needed for its development: the modernization of its harbor, the development of industrial zones, the establishment of a
free zone in 1988, and the establishment (during the same year) of the Ajman
University of Science and Technology. The city, whose economy is diversifying,
is now part of a coastal conurbation dominated by Dubai, though Ajman looks
like a poor relation because most of its growth has been achieved at a very low
cost as compared to its neighbors. The municipality, which plays a major role in
the citys economic policy, is striving to attract more investments and tourists
to this city, which had a population of 237,000 in 2010. Finally, even though the
search for oil has proved unsuccessful, a gas deposit was discovered offshore,
though production has yet to start.
Manama, located 73 kilometres to the capitals east, covers an area of 26 km2.
This enclave of Ajman, surrounded by the emirates of Sharjah and Fujairah, consists of a small, primarily agricultural oasis containing quarries and mines (magnesium and chromium). Masfut, located in a mountainous region 110 kilometres
to the southeast of Ajman city, consists of a small town providing basic services
and valleys sustained by subsistence farming and marble quarrying. The territory,
stretching over 46 km2, is an international enclave bordering Oman, a condominium jointly ruled by Ajman and Oman and an intra-national enclave surrounded
by the emirates of Ras al-Khaimah and Dubai. This geopolitical curiosity is a legacy of traditional economies and societies in the complex territorial structure of
Ajman, a characteristic shared by the emirate of Sharjah.
68

TWO FRAGMENTED EMIRATES


A MAIN TERRITORY HOSTING THE CAPITAL CITY
Arab-Persian Gulf

IMBRICATED ENCLAVES
masfout (Ajman)

manama (Ajman)

Hatta
Hadf

dibba al hisn (Sharjah)

central region (Sharjah)


Kalba

Dibba al Baya

Gulf
of Oman

Gulf
of Oman
Dibba al Fujairah

khor fakkan (Sharjah)

Madha

nahwa (Sharjah)
Gulf
of Oman

Madha

kalba (Sharjah)
Ajman

Gulf
of Oman

Sharjah
Dubai
Fujairah

Khor Fakkan

Umm
al Quwain
Ras
al Khaimah
Ajman/
Oman
Fujairah/
Sharjah

Gulf
of Oman

Oman
International
border
Internal
border
Mixed
border

dissimilar territories
DEVELOPING CULTURAL AMBITION

BUILDING AN ACADEMIC HUB

SHARJAH HERITAGE & ARTS AREAS

SHARJAH UNIVERSITY CITY

Sharjah Creek

Heritage
Museum

Bait Khalid
bin Ibrahim

Poetry
House

Built area
Park

ad
Old Souq
Arts Centre

Bait Obeid
Al Shamsi

Museum of
Islamic Civilization

Sharjah Arts Museum


Al Hisn
(Sharjah Fort)

American University
of

Built area
Protected heritage
area

Sharjah

Cultural area

Bait
al Gharbi

200 m

Gulf
Study Centre

Unbuilt area

Very
Special
Arts

Gulf Road

Bait
Arts
Al Naboodah Square
Calligraphy
Music
Museum
House

Institute
of Theatrical Arts

Majlis
Al Midfaa
Al Eslah
School museum

Al Burj Avenue

Al Marraija Road

Corni
che R
o

Park
d

ba Roa

u
Al Aro

Wall

Police

From Sharjah
Sharjah
Department
of Culture
and Information
and SCDTA.
From
SharjahMuseums
MuseumsDepartment,
Department,
Sharjah
Department
of Culture
and Information
and SCDTA.

Sharjah, which was founded by the powerful seafaring tribe of Qawassim, declared itself an independent emirate in 1727. The al-Qasimi (pl.: Qawassim)
dynasty still rules the emirate. In 2010, the population of the agglomeration of Sharjah, a part of
the urbanized Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman coastal strip,
accounts for 800,000 of the emirates total population of 946,000. The emirate is made up of six parts.
The main part, where the emirates eponymous
capital is located, opens onto the Arabo-Persian
Gulf. It is a residential zone housing commuters,
who travel back-and-forth daily between Sharjah
and Dubai, in addition to industrial zones housing
manufacturing industries. To fulfil its cultural and
intellectual ambitions, Sharjah has created a heritage district and an art district where museums and
art galleries are concentrated, as well as a university district with national and foreign educational
institutions. Sharjah also has, within a range of 120
to 150 kilometres from the capital, three territories
overlooking the Indian Ocean. In the north, the city

College

Academy

of Dibba is shared by Oman, Fujairah, and Sharjah,


which administers its central portion, Dibba al-Hisn.
In the middle of this coast is Khor Fakkan (50,000
inhabitants.), a tourist destination surrounded by
mountains and bordered by beaches with excellent
sites for diving. It is also the principal port on the
east coast of the Emirates. To the south lies Kalba,
an independent emirate between 1903 and 1952,
declared a nature reserve because of its mangrove
swamp and its avifauna. The Central Region, also a
part of the emirate of Sharjah, located 50 kilometres from the capital, is a fertile plain whose most
important area is the Dhaid Oasis (36,000 inhabitants), where a wide range of specialized cash crops,
including strawberries, are grown. Finally, Sharjah
also has a mountain village by the name of Nahwa
(with an area of 8 km2), which owes its fame to
its unique status as a counter-enclave. By its area,
population and revenue, Sharjah, taken as a whole,
is the third largest emirate of the Federation.

ofTeaching
Hospital

Medicine
(Womens
College)

University
Higher
Skyline
Colleges
University
of Technology

of

(Mens
College)

Sharjah
Public Library
University
City Hall
English
School

Institute
of Nursing

Institute of
Technology

Australian
School

500 m

From Government of Sharjah.


From Government of Sharjah.

69

The Northern Emirates


DESERT, MOUNTAINS AND SEA

70

THE EMIRATES OF UMM ALQUWAIN, RAS AL KHAIMAH AND FUJAIRAH

Motorway

Industrial area

Main road

Touristic area

Airport

Tourism
development

Container
port

Natural spring

Village

Renery

Camel
racetrack

Museum

Shimal

SULTANATE
OF OMAN

ArabPersian
Gulf

Dhayah

Ras al
Khaimah

Nature conservation
area

Jebel Bil Aysh


1 934 m

Urban area

Ghalilah

Khor
Khwair

musandam

Al Jiri
Sha'am

Agricultural area

International
border

Falayah

Gulf
of Oman

Al Hamra

Digdagga
Dibba

Umm
al Quwain

Khatt
Rul Dadnah
Dadnah

Aqqa
Sharm
Bidiyah

Wadi
Wurrayah

Manama

Masa

Khor
Fakkan

OMAN

Nahwa

Qidfa

Murbah

Al Dhaid

Mangrove

400

800

Altitude (metres)
0

Fujairah

Highest point

1200

1600
0

Main source : Map Services of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

10 km

Main source: Map Services of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

The Emirates of Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, and Fujairah are grouped
together under the name Northern Emirates. This part of the Federation also
includes areas belonging to Dubai (Hatta), Ajman (Masfut and Manama), and
Sharjah (Khor Fakkan, Kalba, Dhaid and its surroundings, and one part of
Dibba). Crossed by the northern end of the Hajar Mountains, this area overlooks
the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. With almost no oil deposits, it is nevertheless
rich in limestone, kaolin, and quartz, minerals like iron, copper, and gold; it also
has mineral and hot water springs.
The only exception to the description above is Umm al-Quwain. Consisting of
a single stretch bordering only the Arabo-Persian Gulf, it is a completely barren
land and the least populated and poorest emirate of the Federation. This tiny bit
of land without oil or gas is ensconced between the northern territories and the
conurbation Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman, which may include, in the future, the town of
Umm al-Quwain (46,000 inhabitants) situated only about 30 km from Dubai but
more than 60 km from Ras al-Khaimah. The site of the capital has been inhabited
from ancient times, but the present city, in which more than 90 percent of the
emirates population is concentrated, was founded at the tip of the peninsula,
which blocks the lagoon on the west, around 1775 by the al-Mualla family, from
whom the present emir is descended. The emirate, which has a small free zone
and a tourist complex, depends on fishing and date production in addition to subsidies from the federal budget.
To the north of Umm al-Quwain is the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, which joined
the Federation three months after the others. It consists of two separate territories with no opening on the Gulf of Oman. Situated close to the Strait of Hormuz
and overlooking the Arabo-Persian Gulf, it has coasts and mountains, barren and
green areas, agriculture and industry. It presents a diversity of landscapes not
seen in the rest of the federation: long sandy beaches and rocky coasts punctuated by creeks; arid stretches of dunes and mountains with ample rainfall; steepsided valleys with orchards and palm groves and fertile recently irrigated plains
producing fruits, vegetables, and fodder in the vicinity of traditional oases. This
diversity of landscapes is accompanied by an ethnographic diversity of which
the inhabitants are very proud. Ras al-Khaimah is the fourth largest emirate of
the Federation on account of its size, its population, and its revenue. Although it

Kalba
Khor Kalba

dissimilar territories
has minuscule oil deposits, it has been growing at a rapid pace, as it has taken
measures to encourage local private initiative and attract foreign investment. It
thus hopes to resurrect its former position as a prosperous trading centre; it was
known as Julphar from the seventh to the seventeenth century and described by
geographers and voyagers as one of the regions principal ports.
The port, which was originally located to the north of the present capital, was
moved towards the Ras al-Khaimah lagoon, undoubtedly because it became
silted up. Ras al-Khaimah was an important seafaring power whose history, like
that of Sharjahs, was linked to the Qawassim, a Sunni Arab tribe living on the
Iranian coast that settled in Ras al-Khaimah in the early eighteenth century.
With a fleet of dhows at its command, this naval and trading power valiantly
resisted Britains imperial designs. As a British protectorate, Ras al-Khaimah,
whose economy depended on agriculture and fishing, experienced a period of
decline as it was supplanted by Dubai. Since its independence, it has harnessed
its water resources to develop the cultivation of cash crops and set up a thermal spa in Khatt and a mineral-water bottling plant in Masafi, the latter is now
diversifying into the production of fruit juices and milk products. Thanks to its
mineral resources, it has set up an industry manufacturing building materials
(cement, tile, glass, and steel) that has benefited from the explosion of the real
estate sector in the entire region. Ras al-Khaimah has also put its hopes in the
pharmaceutical industry.
The capital (265,000 inhabitants in 2010) accounts for 90 percent of the emirates population. Keen to develop its service and finance sectors, it has begun
to vaguely resemble Dubai with its free zone spread over several sites, its technopark, its twin towers where foreigners are allowed to buy office space and
residential apartments and its tourist complex built on an artificial island. The
proposed green Gateway City is expected to compete with Masdar.
Adjoining Ras al-Khaimah and Sharjah, with which it shares Dibba in the north
and jointly administers a small enclave in the south, the Emirate of Fujairah consists of two mountainous territories washed by the Indian Ocean, which receive
more rainfall than the rest of the country and are separated by Khor Fakkan,
which belongs to Sharjah. The sheikh of Fujairah once owed allegiance to the
emir of Sharjah, but freed himself of his domination in 1902, long before Fujairah
became an independent emirate of the Trucial States, in 1952. The only emirate
without an opening on the Arabo-Persian Gulf, Fujairah is of crucial interest to
the Federation, which finances most of its infrastructure because of its strategic
location. During the 1980s and 1990s, a highway was built across the mountains
to open up its capital (80,000 inhabitants), deep-water port, and international

RAS AL-KHAIMAH CITY CENTRE

THE CAPITAL OF A RAPIDLY GROWING EMIRATE


Urban area
Urban area
under construction
Port area
Free zone
Agricultural area

Maritime
Museum

Park
Mangrove
National
Museum

Julfar Towers

Tower Links
Golf Club

International hotel
Shopping mall
Cultural place
Iconic tower
Municipality
Emiri Diwan
Chamber of Commerce

Falayah

1 km

From Map Services of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.


From Map Services of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

airport. A military base was opened recently and there is a proposal to build a
railway line between Fujairah and Jebel Ali to transport freight; an oil pipeline
from the oilfield of Habshan in Abu Dhabi to the port of Fujairah is already under
construction. Finally, superb landscapes, ideal sites for diving, and picturesque
valleys are great assets for the development of tourism, provided care is taken
not to spoil the landscape and harm the ecosystem.

71

North Oman
BETWEEN GULF AND INDIAN OCEAN
SEA, MOUNTAINS AND DESERT

Coastal plain
Sand dunes

f
it o
Khasab

Str
a

ArabPersian
Gulf

Mahda

Desert plateau
Mountain range

Gas pipeline

Al

UNITED
ARAB
EMIRATES

Ibri

Oil terminal

Gulf of Oman

Sohar

Buraimi

Oil field

Oil pipeline

Shinas

Height above
2000 m

Gas field

IRAN

Musandam

a
hin
Da

72

Sebkha

uz
rm
Ho

Situated on the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula at the junction of


eastern Arabia, making it similar to the Gulf emirates, and to southern Arabia,
like neighboring Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman was an informal British protectorate from 1899 to 1970 when the Sultan Qabus bin Said al-Said came to
power. Oman borders the Indian Ocean with a coast of almost 2,000 km stretching along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, also called the Sea of Oman.
Although it seems more like a country of the Arabo-Persian Gulf, it has only one
opening of a few kilometres on the Gulf. Separated from the rest of the country
by the United Arab Emirates,the Musandam Peninsula forms a mountainous
exclave on the southern shore of the Strait of Hormuz. For this reason, after the
Iranian Revolution Oman was called the new watchman of the Gulf. From 1970,
it transformed into a pro-western monarchy. Up until that point it was known
as the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman and could be characterized as a country
divided into two partsone part looking outward and the other inward. It also
includes vast stretches of desert and the Dhofar area which has long wanted to
break away.
Oman is trying to adapt its future to its dual loyalty: its roots lie in the Arabian
Peninsula with openings onto Africa and Asia, it is heir to a powerful seafaring
tradition, and a vast overseas empire ruled by the sultans of Muscat, as well as an
ancient religious principality more than a thousand years old, namely the Ibadi
Imamate of Nizwa, which controlled the inland mountains and their foothills.
It is also a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Indian Ocean Rim
Association for Regional Cooperation.
The Batinah coastal plain forms an arc of 600 kilometers descending from the
northwest to the southeast plain at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, and comprises
the mountainous area of Jebel Akhdar that rises to a height of over 2,000 meters,
the highest point being Jebel Shams (2,980 meters). It stretches along the Gulf of
Oman from Shinas on the northern border of the Emirates to Sib near Muscat. In
the south, it gives way to cliffs up to Ras al-Hadd. Despite efforts to put an end to
the rural exodus and reduce regional disparities, Oman has been through the same
changes as its neighbors, namely the migration of its population to the coast and
rapid urbanization, although these have been less spectacular in the case of Oman.

Gas terminal
Non-specialized Port

Batinah

Ha

jar

Barka

Muscat

Rustaq o u n t a i n s
J
Ak ebel
hda
Jebel Shams
r
2 980 m
Nazwa
Bahla

Mina al Fahal
Mina Sultan Qaboos
Ras
al-Hadd
Qalat
Sur

Refinery
Liquefaction plant
Motorway, main road

Wahiba
sand
dunes

Umm
al Samin

City population
600,000
100,000
50,000
20,000
5,000
Other towns

Masirah

Ru b
Al- Khali

SAUDI
ARABIA

Jiddat
Al-Harassis

DHOFAR

Jebel Qara
Jebel Qamar

YEMEN

Jebel
Samhan

Oman
Sea
Kuria Muria Islands
0

Salalah

From B. Dumortier, Oman , in Encyclopdie Universalis, 2008 and Census of Oman 2003.

From B. Dumortier, Oman, in Encyclopdie Universalis, 2008 and Census of Oman 2003.

100 km

dissimilar territories
A STRONG CONCENTRATION
OF POPULATION IN TWO REGIONS
ANumber
STRONG
of inh.CONCENTRATION
OF800,000
POPULATION IN TWO REGIONS

POPULATION DENSITIES
ON THE COAST
IRAN

700,000of inh.
Number
800,000
600,000
700,000
500,000
600,000
400,000
500,000
300,000

Population density
by District in 2007
5
20
80

IRAN
2,000

UAE

Buraimi
UAE

100,000 Mus

cat

ah

tin

Ba

ah
qiy

ar

Sh

ah
iliy

kh

Da

t
h
ah
ah
Data from <www.citypopulation.de>.
sca
iya
tin
iliy
Data from <www.citypopulation.de>.
Mu
arq
Ba
kh
Sh
Da

far

Dh

ah

Dh

ofa

Dh

rah

Data from <www.citypopulation.de>.

u
Wo
Al-

u
Wo
Al-

da

san

Mu

Sur
0

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

al-wusta
al-wusta
dhofar
dhofar
Yemen
Data
from <www.citypopulation.de>.
Yemen
Data from <www.citypopulation.de>.
Data from <www.citypopulation.de>.

100 km

100 km

Muscat

sta

Iran

United Arab
Emirates

Suwayq

Iran

United Arab
Emirates

ira

ah

Dh

Sohar

sta

da

san

Mu

Number of inhabitants
in 2003
600,000
100,000
50,000
20,000
10,000
5,000

(inh/km2)

400,000
200,000
300,000
100,000
200,0000

PRIMACY OF THE CAPITAL,


COASTAL CITIES AND PIEDMONT OASIS

Population density
by Region in 2007
5
20
80
Population density
by Region in 2007
2
5 (inh/km
20 ) 80
(inh/km2)

240

240

100 km

100 km

Data from Ministry of National Economy.


Data from Ministry of National Economy.

Data from Census of Oman, 2003.


Data from Census of Oman, 2003.

The coastal provinces bordering the Arabo-Persian


Gulf (Musandam) and the Gulf of Oman (Batinah,
Muscat, and Sharqiyah) account for 70 percent of the
countrys total population and more than one out of
four Omani nationals lives in the capital and its surrounding areas. Occupying less than 3 percent of the
national territory, the shore of the Gulf of Oman is
dotted with oases and harbors that have given birth
to a string of cities where a growing number of people
and activities are concentrated. Fruits, vegetables, and
fodder are cultivated under the palm groves of Batinah using groundwater resources and these comprise
the major part of the agricultural produce marketed
within the country or exported to the United Arab
Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Similarly, the products
of the fishing industry, which is still very active along
the coast, are either sold locally, transported to cities
located inland or exported to Gulf countries, while

top-quality fish and rock lobsters are exported to


even more distant markets abroad. While shipbuilding yards continue to build dhows and international
tourism is growing as a result of the presence of picturesque landscapes, historic ruins, and facilities for
aquatic sports, the flourishing smuggling trade with
Iran brings in a substantial supplementary income.
In spite of a fairly diversified economic base, oil is the
principal source of revenue. The major portion of the
oil recovered from inland oilfields is exported mainly
to Asia through the Mina al-Fahal terminal located
just north of Muscat. There is also a refinery in Muscat, in addition to the one in Sohar commissioned
in 2006. Oman exports almost two-thirds of its gas
to South Korea. Since gas production has increased
almost fivefold between 2000 and 2005, Oman has set
up a gas liquefaction plant and terminal at Qalat, to
the north of Sur.

73

The Iranian Coast of the Gulf

TURKEY

AN OIL-RICH PERIPHERY AND AN INTERFACE WITH THE ARAB WORLD


ARMENIA

AZERBAIJAN

0 to 500 m

Caspian
Sea

Tabriz

500 to 1000 m

TURKMENISTAN

1000 to 2000 m
2000 m and more

Rasht

Orumiyeh

Karaj

Damavand Mt
5 671 m

Qom

avir
Dasht-e K

Kermanshah

IRAQ

Ahvaz

Esfahan

t a

Kerman
i n

Zahedan

PAKISTAN

Bandar Abbas

BAHRAIN

300 km
Highest point

Airport

South Pars

Railways

Shiraz

SAUDI
ARABIA

Motorway,
main road

Lu

AFGHANISTAN

t-

KUWAIT

Mashhad

Tehran

sh

74

A LONG SHORELINE ON THE GULF

Da

Irans Gulf coast lies at the periphery of a vast country characterized by an


uneven population density with a strong centralization to the benefit of the
capital. The Gulf coast is not only 1,000 km away from Tehran at the level of the
Shatt al-Arab and almost 2,000 km at the level of the Strait of Hormuz, but it is
further isolated by the Zagros Mountains, which form an almost insurmountable barrier reaching a maximum height of more than 4,500 meters. Most of
the trade with the northern part of the country is therefore carried out from the
two ends of the coastal strip stretching over more than 1,200 km with a width
of less than 100 km, shrinking at times to just a few kilometres. From Tehran,
situated in the heart of the country, there is a highway and a railway line leading to Abadan in the west and to Bandar Abbas in the east. In the middle, the
historic port of Bushehr, at the mouth of the Dalaki, is connected to the famous
city of Shiraz (Persias capital in the eighteenth century) by a road running along
this river. This coast is also distinctive because of its population. Although most
of the people living in the large cities are Persian, the dominant ethnic group
in the country, the small towns and villages combine a Persian and Arab identity. At the central part of the coastal region, the population is partly Sunni and
Arabic-speaking. Tensions between the two communities, though latent, are
to be taken under consideration, especially after the Islamic Revolution, when
Iran underwent severe economic difficulties while the countries on the opposite
shore were becoming richer. The arrival of people from the countrys interior,
whose incomes earned in the oil sector are relatively high, increases the feeling
of marginalization among the local population, who consider the newcomers as
foreigners.
The province of Khuzestan in the northwest is considered potentially very rich,
though its development was severely retarded by the damages wreaked by the
war with Iraq in the 1980s; the reconstruction process is not yet over. Having a
high population density, it is different from the rest of the coast because of its fertile soil, the presence of rivers, and its oil resources. In addition to the Arvand Rud
(the Persian name of the Shatt al-Arab), which marks Irans western border with
Iraq, the Karun, which was once navigated for a distance of more than 200 km
from its mouth, crosses the province and provides electricity from the construction of several dams. The provinces capital, Ahvaz, stands on the banks of the
river, about 150 kilometres from the Gulf. It is an industrial city with a population

QATAR

UAE

City population in 2008


10,000,000
3,000,000
1,000,000
500,000

Irrigated agriculture

Oil pipeline

Non-irrigated agriculture

Gas pipeline

Cultivable salinated soils

Oil terminal

Oil field
Gas field

OMAN

Refinery
Liquefaction plant

dissimilar territories
THREE MAIN URBAN AREAS ON THE GULF COAST

A CENTRE OF GRAVITY IN THE NORTH-EAST


Population density
by Province in 2006
20
50
80

200

Shabahar
Shiraz

1,000

(inh/km2)

Bandar
Abbas
City population in 2006
1,300,000

Ahvaz

500,000
Khorramshahr

IRAQ

Abadan
0

100 km

300,000
Bushehr

100,000
50,000
20,000

KUWAIT

Data
2006.
Data from
fromCensus
CensusofofPopulation
Population
2006.

300 km

Data from
Data
from Census
Census of
of Population
Population2006.
2006.

of over a million. Abadan and Khorramshahr, situated in the oil-richest region of Iran, have not yet
recovered from the effects of the war, even though
a special economic zone has been created at Khorramshahr. The ports of these two cities, whose infrastructure was destroyed in the war, declined, while
Bandar Imam Khomeini (formerly Bandar Shapur)
has become a busy port.
At the centre of the coastal belt, the second highly
populated and industrially active region is the province of Bushehr, bearing the name of its capital. In
addition to its civilian and naval port, the city (160,000

inhabitants) is known for its nuclear power station,


which rouses fear among its neighboring countries.
For a long time, Bushehr, the countrys only commercial port, became Irans second largest commercial
port as well as an active fishing port that gave rise
to a sizeable food processing industry. A special economic zone has been set up near the city. More than
200 km to the east of Bushehr, near the gas deposits
of South Pars, the Asaluyeh special economic zone is
devoted to the hydrocarbon processing. In a pioneering atmosphere, it counts around 20,000 inhabitants
who had been earning their livelihood from fishing
and agriculture before the establishment of the oil
related industries and the construction of townships
to accommodate their personnel.
Bandar Abbas, the largest littoral city, is located
to the east in the province of Hormozgan. After the
war with Iraq it became the countrys premier port
and has been developing rapidly since the 1990s. It
takes full advantage of its proximity to Dubai, which
has had a flourishing re-export trade with Iran since
the imposition of the embargo by the West. Bandar
Abbas has also become an important industrial cen-

tre in an area where the only notable urban agglomerations are the port of Lengeh to the west and the
city of Minab to the east. Off Bandar Abbas, near the
military base on the small island of Hengam, Qeshm
Island is striving to attract foreign companies to
its vast industrial free zone. Kish, a much smaller
island, faces Bandar Lengeh. It offers all the facilities
of a seaside resort and a free trade zone much appreciated by Iranian tourists. These islands constitute
staging points through which licit and illicit trade is
carried out between the two shores of the Gulf.
The Iranian coast bordering the Gulf of Oman is
sparsely populated and most of the inhabitants are
Baluchis. Except for the port of Jask, where a naval
base was recently established and which will be the
terminal point of a 1,500-kilometer pipeline carrying
Central Asian oil from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of
Oman, the only Baluchi city worthy of note is Shabahar near the border of Pakistan. This port city of about
85,000 inhabitants benefits from a free zone and is
becoming an important commercial and industrial
centre because of Tehrans project to develop a port
to avoid crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

75

The Iraqi Governorate of Basra


THE NARROW IRAQI OPENING ON THE GULF
Marsh
Rawanduz

Tall-Afar

Mosul

Mountains and
high plateau

Kirkuk

Anah

Oil eld

Khanaqin

Samarra

Ramadi

JORDAN

High ground

Sulaymaniyeh

AL JAZIRAH

Rutbah

Desert

Irbil

SYRIA

Euphrates

Alluvial plain

K U R D I S TA N

Baqubah
Baghdad

Mandali

IRAN

City population
over 5 million
over 1 million
over 500,000
over 100,000

Fallujah

Other towns
Suwayrah

Al Hillah

Karbala

Kut

An Najaf

Diwaniyah

Amarah

L O W E R M E S O P O TA M I A

SAUDI
ARABIA

Samawah
Nasiriyah

ha

Basra
Al Zubair

tt A
l-A
ra

76

Zakhu

TURKEY

is
Tigr

Even more than the highlands of Kurdistan with ample water resources and oil
deposits, it is the southern part of Lower Mesopotamia, polarized by Basra that
plays a key role in the economic and political sphere of present-day Iraq. This
marshy plain with rich oil deposits and a largely Shii population holds several
advantages in this vast state created by western powers after World War I. It is
heir to the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Abbasid Caliphate. But,
tensions between communities, strong centralization, the three wars since 1980,
and a long embargo by the West have prevented southern Iraq from claiming its
rightful place among the Gulf region.
Occupying a strategic position between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, the
Governorate of Basra (19,070 km2; 1,000,000 inhabitants in 1978; 800,000 in 1988,
1,100,000 in 2006; 2,300,000 in 2008) provides an opening on the Gulf for Iraq with
a 20 kilometer-wide lagoonal coast that is of crucial economic importance not
only for the region but for the whole country. In the west, the Shatt al-Basra (Basra
canal) draws water from the marshes of the Euphrates before entering the sea. In
the east, the Shatt al-Arab, formed by the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates in al-Qurnah, where the Bible places the Garden of Eden, empties into the
Persian Gulf. The lower course of this 195 km-long waterway constitutes the border between Iraq and Iran. This river offers the region a vast agricultural potential
and a large population of farmers cultivates cereals, fruits, and vegetables on its
irrigated banks. But urgent action is needed to revive the extremely saline soil
and reconsider the water management system established in the 1990s. Under
the pretext of improving agriculture by draining the wetlands where the marsh
Arabs (see Thesigers account) led a self-sufficient existence growing rice, fishing, raising buffaloes, and weaving reed mats, the government wanted to bring
under its control this dissident area. It served as a refuge for the Mandaeans or
Sabians, also known as Saint Johns Christians because the followers of this gnostic faith born in Lower Mesopotamia in the first century AD worshiped John the
Baptist. This marshy area dotted with villages consisting of reed huts and lake
dwellings, accessed only by boat, served recently as a refuge for deserters from the
war against Iran and for insurgents who were a part of the Basra uprising of 1991.
The destruction of the embankments has facilitated the regaining of the wetlands
and the New Eden Project supported by NGOs has recommended the integrated
management of water resources.

KUWAIT
0

100 km

From B. Dumortier, Irak, gographie , in Encyclopdie Universalis.

From B. Dumortier, Irak, gographie, in Encyclopdie Universalis.

Oil, which is abundant in the region, is the second and main asset of the
Basra Governorate. While Kurdistan now accounts for less than 30 percent
of the countrys reserves and 13 percent of its production, the vast oilfields of
North Rumailah (500,000 barrels per day), South Rumailah (800,000 barrels per
day), and Zubair (230,000 barrels per day) are playing an increasingly important
role in the countrys oil exports in spite of the poor condition of the transport
network, which, like the Basra refinery, was targeted by repeated attacks during the war. Transporting oil northwards to the terminals on the eastern Mediterranean is still risky because of geopolitical reasons (Iraqs relations with its

dissimilar territories
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE REGIONAL CAPITAL

THE SOUTHERN PART OF LOWER MESOPOTAMIA

URBANIZATION ALONG THE SHATT AL-ARAB


missan

missan

Turkey

Iran

Syria

IRAN

thi-qar

thi-qar

Mudainah

Qurnah

Talha

Al Dair
Basra

Al Faw

Number of inhabitants
in 2006
over 500,000

(inh/km2)

100 km

Kuwait

Population density
by district in 2006
50
100 1,000
(inh/km2)

Abu al-Khasib

Umm Qasr

muthanna

Population density
by governorate in 2007
15
100 1,000

Hartha

Al Zubair

muthanna
Saudi
Arabia

IRAN

Sahin

KUWAIT

KUWAIT
over 25,000
0

40 km

40 km

From Census
From
Census of
of Population
Population 2003
2003and
andlater
laterestimates
estimatesby
byUN
UNagencies.
agencies.

Data from
Water
Resources
Management
in in the MarshData
from New
NewEden
EdenMaster
MasterPlan
PlanforforIntegrated
Integrated
Water
Resources
Management
the Marshlands
lands
Area, 2006.Area, 2006.

Data from
Water
Resources
Management
in in the MarshData
from New
NewEden
EdenMaster
MasterPlan
PlanforforIntegrated
Integrated
Water
Resources
Management
the Marshlands
lands
Area, 2006.Area, 2006.

Turkish and Syrian neighbors) and technical problems (non-functional sections of the pipeline). However, it is possible to export oil through the southern
ports after the reopening of the Iraqi terminals in
al-Faw and Khor al-Amaya, and with an oil pipeline
to Saudi Arabia. In addition, a strategic two-way
pipeline connects Rumailah, which has a large petrochemical complex, to Kirkuk. Gas production cannot be developed because of the destruction of the
liquefaction plant in Zubair and the gas terminal in
Khor al-Zubair.
In a country with cities rooted in a rich past, a
strong urban network constitutes another advantages for this region: its capital Basra, Iraqs third
largest city; al-Zubair (210,000 inhabitants) located
at the edge of the desert, which is historically a trading city with close ties to Nejd, is now an oil city;
the ports of al-Faw (with a population of 33,000),
Umm Qasr (30,000 inhabitants) and Khor al-Zubair

(35,000inhabitants); administrative and service


centres like al-Mudainah (60,000 inhabitants) on
the Euphrates; and large agricultural markets like
Abu al-Khasib (26,000 inhabitants), famous for their
palm groves and market gardens along the banks of
the Shatt al-Arab. This waterway has both rural and
urban settlements along its banks and can also be
used by seagoing vessels; this has made Basra the
countrys main non-specialized port.
However, the Baathist ruling party did not allow
the Basra region to make full use of its assets or enjoy
the profits from its oil wealth. The wars disrupted life
in the cities and the countryside, destroyed the infrastructure and houses, and drove refugees, fleeing
bombs and armed battles, towards Baghdad. Recurrent Shii uprisings followed by severe repression
worsened the chaos and the economic crisis. After
the fall of Saddam Hussein, Islamist militias not only
waged fierce battles against foreign troops but also

fight against each other to seize power. Exacerbated


by the desire to gain control over the countrys oil
wealth and its ports, these conflicts have triggered
new population movements: the expulsion of Christians and Mandaeans, and the exodus of the Sunni
population of al-Zubair and Abu al-Khasib. Gradually, some of the refugees have begun settling down,
reconstruction is proceeding at a brisk pace, and
the British army, which exercised authority over the
region, has withdrawn its troops. The Arab countries
of the Gulf are investing money into the al-Zubair district while Iranian investors are interested in Basra.
However, two essential issues regarding the future
remain unresolved: the contracts between the South
Oil Company, a public entity, and the oil majors;
and whether autonomy will eventually be conceded
to the southern governorates of Basra, Thi Qar, and
Misan within a federal region like Kurdistan.

77

Urban Societies

Basra City

The third largest urban agglomeration in Iraq after Baghdad and Mosul, Basra
has long been a rival of the capital city. This military encampment controlling
access to the Gulf was built in 638, before Baghdad, which was founded in 762.
Initially located on the site of the present al-Zubair, which was sheltered from
floods, Basra moved to the right bank of the Shatt al-Arab after the construction of a network of canals and occupied a strategic position between Mesopotamia, Persia, Arabia, and the Gulf. Historically, Basras strength lies in its port,
which makes the city, which has not expanded on the left bank, a rich, cosmopolitan commercial and financial centre open to the outside world and similar
to the major trading centres of the Levant like Beirut, Salonika, Alexandria, or
Constantinople. Basra was reputed for its numerous Muslim intellectuals and
the lively theological debates it hosted. In 1884, the Shii population, which had
been in a majority since the eighteenth century, successfully persuaded the
Ottomans to detach the southern part of Baghdad province and create a new
province with Basra as its capital. Although the city was then home to a Shii
bourgeoisie specialized in sea trade, its new status did not preclude the existence of a Sunni elite pursuing trade and politics and maintaining good relations with the Ottomans, or the presence of Jewish and Christian merchants.
The British protectorate brought very little change apart from the modernization of Basra port. This led to the development of mercantile activities, which
continued under the monarchy set up by the British in 1932. In fact, trading
activities were revitalized during World War II when the British army, which
had reoccupied the country, made full use of the port. After 1947 and the departure of the British a second time, the city grew despite the political strife that
continued until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958. The rural exodus and
the discovery and drilling of oil in this region caused a population explosion in
Basra, which had almost a million inhabitants around 1950; their number rose
to one and a half million twenty years later. The arrival of skilled personnel to
run the oil industry and administrative services encouraged the emergence of
a middle class. But a process of social division resulted in increasing inequality
and the cultural diversity that had existed in the first half of the twentieth century became impoverished.

80

A PORT ON A DISPUTED BORDER RIVER


Urban area in

Main road
Railways
Canal

1942
1990

Tank

2009

Civil airport

Desert

Militairy airport

Tanuma

Basra
Sh
att
A

l-A
ra

Abu al Khassib

Orchard and
market gardening

Al Zubair

Cereal
0

4 km

Flood risk area

Irak
2009
; National
Imagery
andand
Mapping
Agency,
US Government,
2003 ; 2003;
Portion
of Soviet
GeneralGeneral
Staff map
at the
1:
Irak Reference
ReferenceMap,
Map,OCHA,
OCHA,ONU,
ONU,
2009;
National
Imagery
Mapping
Agency,
US Government,
Portion
of Soviet
Staff
mapscale
at the
20,000,1: 1990
and1990
of India
Survey
the scale
: 253,440
scale
20,000,
and Field
of India
FieldatSurvey
at1the
scale .1: 253,440.

Urban growth stopped suddenly when the Iraq-Iran war broke out in 1980 and
continued until 1988. As a Shii city, Basra was suspect in the eyes of the ruling
Baathist party dominated by Sunnis. As a strategic port on the Shatt al-Arab, it
was subjected to repeated bombing by the Iranians and was a prized stake in
several particularly destructive battles. Shipping activities in Basras port were
brought to a complete halt and in the mid-1980s, when the bombing was at
its worst, barely 400,000 people remained in the city. During the 1990s, urban
society changed drastically. Among the 900,000 persons living there from that

urban societies
moment onwards were many newcomers who had
migrated from the wetlands, for which the province
is well-known, driven by an agricultural development policy whose hidden objective was the control
of the area. These newcomers settled on the periphery, giving rise to tensions between them and the
citys original population. This was aggravated in
the ensuing years as Basra bore the brunt of the Gulf
War that followed the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in
1990. Although the Coalition armies did not attack
the city directly, it suffered from violent reprisals by
the Iraqi government in 1991 after a revolt by the
local population after the end of the fighting and

the swift defeat of Iraqi troops. The third conflict in


the Gulf, which began in 2003, led to the citys occupation by British troops and a factional, covert war
that paralyzed economic and social life. Though the
port was blocked for a long time, the government
set up by the Coalition in Baghdad gave priority to
the operation of oil wells and associated industries.
Politico-religious militias, either local or serving
external interests, fought to gain control of the citys
activities and the regions resources. The departure
of foreign troops in 2008 revived factional clashes
only to end in a fragile peace based on the shared
control of activities.

THE CAPITAL CITY OF AN OIL PRODUCING SHII PROVINCE

Tigris

Talha

Euphrates

Mudainah

Motorway

Oil pipeline

Main road

Gas pipeline

Railways

Oil eld

Major civil
airport
Secondary civil
airport

Qurnah
Al-Sahin

Oil terminal
Renery
Gas liquefaction
plant

Urban area
Town above
25,000 inh.

Al Dair
Al Hartha

Shiite

Marsh,
ood risk area

Sunni

Orchard

7%

4%
Condition of housing
according to returnee
households

37%

Destroyed

52%

Severe
damage
Moderate
damage
No or minor
damaged

Source: Basrah Governorate Assessment Report, UNHCR, 2006.

Source : Basrah Governorate Assessment Report, UNHCR, 2006.

In spite of all its advantages, this wealthy city


with a significant industrial base has not benefited
the development enjoyed by other Arab cities of the
Gulf. As a result of municipal elections and administrative reorganization, the attributes of normalization seem to be in place, but the after-effects of the
conflict are still palpable. Though numerous urban
projects are in the planning stage, generally with foreign assistance and collaboration, the future of the
provincial capital seems uncertain.

Alluvial plain

IRAN

Basra

Al Zubair

Harbor

A CITY DEVASTATED BY WAR

Desert

Abu Al Khassib

ab

Sh
att
Al
-A
r

Umm Qasr
Al Faw

KUWAIT
0

20 km

Arab-Persian
Gulf

81

Kuwait City

Originally a pearling base established in the early eighteenth century at the end
of a bay, Kuwait has developed into a metropolis with a population of more than
two million, to become the macrocephalic capital of a rich desert emirate of the
same name. Its diverse urban landscapes make it appear like an epitome of the
Gulfs cities. This diversity is due in a large measure to the citys hasty development after oil-drilling operations started in 1946 and the creation, even before its
independence in 1961, of a system for redistributing the oil rent for the benefit
of not only Kuwaiti nationals, but also early Arab immigrants. Though Kuwait
was the regions richest city in the 1950s, there were few imposing buildings
apart from the magnificent mosques. The citys political and economic institutions were housed in low-rise buildings on the seafront. Some new districts
like Hawali surround the original city centre. While the Kuwaitis invested their
money abroad, most international investors, except companies linked to the oil
economy, the citys nerve centre, avoided investing in Kuwait, because of its
position wedged between the menacing Iraqi Republic and the Saudi Arabian
kingdom imposing a certain amount of circumspection. The two Kuwait towers
inaugurated in 1979 are landmarks that offer visitors a panoramic view of the
city as well as a prized restaurant, and are still used as water towers.
From 2 August 1990 to 26 February 1991 Kuwait was occupied by Iraqi troops.
The battle for its liberation, waged by an international force mandated by the
United Nations, caused a great deal of destruction, and left empty the residential
districts that had been occupied by Palestinians, who were forced to leave when
their representatives sided with Iraq. Reconstruction was slow and investors exercised prudence given the fear of a new Iraqi attack. Urban development took off
only ten years later, when Saddam Husseins government was definitively overthrown and a new government was set up in Baghdad under the supervision of
the US forces. Numerous building projects mushroomed in just a few years, transforming the urban landscape and the life of the citys residents. The construction
of a large number of towers and malls, though not as colossal as those in Dubai,
nevertheless can be considered a major development. The urban and architectural quality of the new outlying districts varies according to the social groups targeted by the real estate developers. By the end of the 2000s, metropolitan Kuwait

82

EXPANSION OF KUWAIT CITY


1957

1980

2005

4800'

4740'

2920'

4820'

Falaka
2920'

15 km

2900'

From Geoinformatics
forfor
Scientic
Research.
From
GeoinformaticsCenter,
Center,Kuwait
KuwaitInstitute
Institute
Scientific
Research.

is under renewal. The concentric plan around the core of the city has been
retained; ring roads, connected by radial avenues starting from the seafront,
are numbered according to their distance from the city centre. The long boulevard along the seashore has been extended and beautified: the large houses
of the citys wealthiest residents bordering it have been renovated or rebuilt.
Beyond the free harbor zone of Shuwaikh, the city extends towards the west
and around the port of Doha. To the south, the urban agglomeration stretches
over forty kilometres along the coast. Luxurious office complexes overlook the
sea and behind them lie clusters of small apartment blocks without proper public infrastructurethese house middle-income employees. To the southwest,
the airport area has also seen rapid development with the emergence of districts combining services, trade, and residential zones.
Kuwait is incontestably different from the other Gulf cities because of its
composite urban landscape, where prestigious towers stand next to mediocre
and badly maintained residential areas or even to buildings and wastelands
lying abandoned since the Iraqi occupation. Groups of chic villas stand next to
small buildings occupied by middle or lower-class residents. Due to the blurred
distinction between public and private property, and land speculation, there

urban societies
are many vacant plots. Urban life is marked by social relationships rooted in
Kuwaits recent tumultuous history, whether it is antagonism between the longtime residents of the old city and the numerous Bedouins who have settled in
al-Jahra or distrust between the natives and some groups of immigrants. The
city is pursuing the same path of urban growth and has launched spectacular
projects similar to those occurring in other Gulf cities since the mid-1990s, even
though it has made a late start and is going about it on a more modest scale.
The considerable social mixedness of Kuwait City has not been weakened by
the recent development of a complex polycentrism: a historical centre split
into two parts by the emergence of Sharq as a business district; the rise of a
new trade centre in Salmiya; the project of a university district in Shadadiyah;
and the development of planned areas for entertainment and trade in Faha-

heel not far from the al-Ahmadi township where the oil companies have their
offices.
While the bridge between the mainland and Failaka Island lying off the Bay
of Kuwait has been abandoned for the time being, other large projects are still
under discussion in the planning stage. Thus the former project of a new town
in Subiya on the other side of the bay near the al-Sabah Fort, connected to the
centre of Kuwait by a 22kilometer bridge and planned for 250,000 people,
is reactivated under the Madinat al-Hareer (City of silk) project expected to
accommodate 700,000 people by 2030 and dominated by a tower higher than
the one in Dubai. But uncertainty remains about the final form of this expansion.
Not far from there, on the island Bubiyan, the building of a large port, recently
started, is contested by Iraq.

KUWAIT CITY CENTRE

KUWAIT METROPOLITAN AREA


Doha

Shuwaikh

ian

Kuwait
Towers

St.

em
al l

Hawali

Al Jahra

Fa
hd

Shadadiyah
Fah
ah
e

Liberation
Tower
First Rd.

Ki
ng

el
Ex
pre

Fa
he
d

bin

ssw
ay

Green
Island
Ab
du
laz
iz

Shopping mall
Iconic tower

Mixed area

Rd
.

Industrial area

From
Kuwait
Institute
for Scientific
Research.
From Geoinformatics
GeoinformaticsCenter,
Center,
Kuwait
Institute
for Scientific
Research.

Al Ahmadi

Harbor

Fahaheel

Shuaiba

Airport
Shadadiyah Campus project

Ministry of Oil
Diplomatic area

Fintas
Residential area
Service area

Rd.
nd
Seco
International hotel

Salmiya

St.

Al
s

Ar
ab

Old Port

lf
Gu

Sharq

Park
0

0,5

1,5

2 km

Urban land reserve

10 km

FromGeoinformatics
Geoinformatics
Center,
Kuwait
Institute
for Scientific
Research.
From
Center,
Kuwait
Institute
for Scientific
Research.

83

Greater Dammam

Dammam Metropolitan Area, comprising the three cities of Dammam, Dhahran, and al-Khobar, together with the urbanized oasis of Qatif, has developed
along the same lines as the rest of the coastal region of Saudi Arabia where it
is located. The present agglomeration, with a population of 1,500,000, was born
when drilling operations started in 1938 in Saudi Arabias first oil wells located
in the desert just a few kilometres from the coast. The township of Dhahran
was built by the concessionary company, CASOC (California Arabian Standard
Oil Company), to set up facilities for its operations in the vicinity of the oilfield.
Dhahran later became the headquarters of Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company), the Saudi branch of Standard Oil established after the war. Al-Khobar,
a small fishing village to the east of Dhahran, was rapidly transformed into a
port to export crude oil to the nearby Bahrain refinery. Dammam, located to
the north, developed as a trading centre before its port overtook al-Khobar as
the regions busiest port. While the oil company built a modern oil terminal and
a refinery in Ras Tannurah, about 30 kilometres to the west, the three towns
expanded, maintaining their respective specializations. During the 1970s, the
first industrial zone, which was soon occupied by about one hundred companies, was built in the vacant area in the middle of the emerging conurbation. In
the 1980s, when the Saudi government seized control of the American oil company and the Saudi Aramco was established, the three cities merged into a single
entity. By the end of the decade, with the creation of the Dammam Metropolitan
Area, they became a single administrative entity.
The development of the metropolitan area has continued since the early 2000s.
The metropolis expanded in the north towards the vast oasis of Qatif and Ras
Tannurah. In the south, a second industrial zone is coming up about twenty kilometres from the centre of the agglomeration on the road connecting Hofuf to
Riyadh. One hundred and twenty companies have already started functioning
and their number is likely to more than double during the next few years. The new
airport, King Fahd International Airport, built in thelate 1990s to the citys northwest at a distance of 35 km from Dammam and more than 40 km from al-Khobar,
seems to be too far from the agglomeration to stimulate an urban dynamic in
its direction yet. However, because of its location, it is in a position to serve the
industrial city of al-Jubail, 60 km to its north.

84

THREE OIL CITIES, ONE METROPOLITAN AREA


N

Ras Tannurah

Safwa

Arab-Persian Gulf

Al Qatif

King Fahd
Airport

King Abdul Aziz


Port
Dammam

Urban area

Dharhan

Al Khobar

Civil airport
Military airport

King F
ahd c
ause
wa
y

Agricultural area
Oil field

to
Bahrain

Desert
Motorway
Road
Railways

10 km

urban societies
DAMMAM

DHARHAN

AL KHOBAR
N

King Fahd
University

ARAMCO
0

1 km

King Fahd
Park

1 km

1 km

Urban area

International hotel

Civic administration

Urban area under development

Shopping mall

ARAMCO

Park

University

Railways, station

Unbuilt area

Hospital

Motorway

Today, though the metropolitan area includes Qatif


and the 300,000 people spread over its oases, each
of the three principal cities has preserved its own
character and atmosphere. Dammam, with more
than 800,000 inhabitants, is the most highly populated. Since 1975, it has had a modern port, King
Abdul Aziz Port, which specializes in shipping
non-petroleum products. Having transhipped 24
million tons of cargo in 2008, it is the second nonspecialized port of Saudi Arabia after Jeddah (46
million tons) and recorded a 10 percent growth of
its activities in the same year. Dammam is also an
important administrative and services centre with
several banks and hospitals. Since 1975, it has been
home to the department of medicine of the King

Faisal University, which also has a campus in Hofuf.


The seafront and the immense park, the largest in
the country, landscaped along the avenue leading
to Dhahran, offer many recreational areas; these
are particularly appreciated by expatriate families,
many from South Asia, who constitute a large part
of the citys population. However, it is al-Khobar,
with a population of almost 500,000, which is most
suitable for walks and outings. Along the seafront,
a large number of popular restaurants enjoy an
atmosphere reputedly more liberal than in other
parts of the country. The grid pattern of the streets
in the city centre was built in 1942 and has been
preserved, giving the city a modern look. While its
port now only handles secondary national trade,

the city has become an important control and transit centre for international trade and also a significant centre for services, particularly for the banking
sector. As for the city of Dhahran, with a population
of about 100,000, it remains organized by the corporate headquarters of the national oil company. The
latter has huge office complexes, residential areas
for its employees, common cultural and sports
facilities, and its own bus company. It stimulates
the establishment of a large number of companies
specialized in the petroleum sector, each of which
has built housing for its employees in the neighborhood. There are two other important activities:
firstly, the airport, which was among the countrys
three major civilian airports, has since 1999 become
an air base for the exclusive use of the Saudi armed
forces, although from 1945 a part of it has been was
used by the Americans. Secondly, the well-reputed
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
welcomes more than 10,000 students. The heart of
the city is thus a huge area where professional and
residential private spaces stand side by side. Most of
them are closely guarded gated communities within
which people of different professions and nationalities lead a segregated existence. Aggravated after
the fatal attacks in 1996, a security atmosphere
prevails in the city patrolled by the police and controlled through roadblocks, while the regional headquarters of the Saudi special anti-terrorist force is
located next to the residential quarters of Aramco.
English is spoken more widely in the city than in
other parts of the kingdom and, in some areas,
the American way of life seems to be followed as
if some parts of Dhahran were exempted from the
strict rules enforced in the rest of the country.

85

The Oasis City of al-Ahsa

86

AL-AHSA
AN OASIS AT THE EDGE OF A GIANT OIL FIELD
Abqaiq

BAHRAIN

Shedgum

Al-Uyun

Al Uqair

SAUDI
ARABIA

Al Mubarraz

Al-Qurayyah

Located about 60 km inland from the Gulf coast and 140 kilometres to the
southwest of Dammam, al-Ahsa stands on vast reserves of groundwater that
supply numerous artesian wells. It is the largest oasis in Saudi Arabia and one
of the largest in the world. Hofuf (320,000 inhabitants), the main centre, and alMubarraz (310,000 inhabitants), located a few kilometres to the north, account
for almost the entire population of this area comprising about 50 villages, farmland, and two small towns, al-Uyun, about 20 kilometres to the north of Hofuf,
and al-Taraf, about 15 kilometres to the southeast. One passenger rail line and
one freight rail line connect al-Ahsa with Dammam and Riyadh. An airport connects the oasis to the countrys principal cities.
Al-Ahsa has been inhabited since prehistoric times and is mentioned in many
ancient texts. From the ninth to the eleventh century AD, al-Ahsa was a part of
the independent Qarmatian state whose capital, al-Muminiya, was near modern
Hofuf. The oasis then fell into the hands of Bedouin tribes and later alternated
between self-government and foreign domination. In 1913, the Ottoman garrison
surrendered to Ibn Saud, who annexed al-Ahsa to the Nejd region; the former thus
became a part of Saudi Arabia in 1932. Hofuf, capital of al-Ahsa province (later the
Eastern Province), ceded the status of provincial capital to Dammam in 1953 and
was then reduced to the rank of the governorates administrative centre. Hofuf is
dominated by Qsar Ibrahim, a tenth-century fort associated with a mosque. The
main souk was badly damaged by a fire in the early 2000s but remains quite active.
It is known for streets that specialize in the gold trade, a reminder of the fact that
for many centuries the city was an important trading centre on the caravan route.
The centre of al-Mubarraz is also clearly identified by its fort, its mosque, and its
souk. The historical districts have been transformed during the last thirty years:
forts have been restored and souks have been renovated and expanded by the
opening of new shops in streets that were earlier residential. Traditional houses
have been replaced by modern structures that satisfy present norms of comfort
or they have been split into apartments rented out to foreign workers, most from
South Asia. Many local families have left the city centre and moved to villas or
apartment blocks built along avenues in peripheral districts. New commercial
centres and hotels have come up in this part of the city. The urbanized area thus

Al Taraf

Hofuf

Uthmaniyah

10

20 km

Desert

Urban area

Irrigated agricultural area

Archeological site

Oil and gas field

Road
Track
Railways

Gas treatment plant


Power plant

extends along a north-south axis from two historic cores, inexorably encroaching on the cultivated lands that once contributed to its wealth and are now
being shifted further away from the centre.
Al-Ahsa is still noted for its farming activities, a flourishing trade in agricultural produce, and a food-processing industry. The oasis has more than two
million palms producing more than 500,000 tons of dates per year, making the
city the most important market for dates. Other fruits are also grown, especially citrus fruit, along with irrigated cereal crops (wheat, maize, barley, and
even rice). The livestock comprises 200,000 sheep, 50,000 goats, 12,000 cows,
15,000 camels, and about 15 poultry farms with an annual production of 100,000

urban societies
A DEVELOPING OASIS :
AGRICULTURE AND URBAN GROWTH
Urban area in 1987
Urban area in 2001
Urban area in project
Irrigated agricultural area, 1987
Irrigated agricultural area, 2001
Tank
Hill
Desert

Jebel Al Qara

10 km

From Mohammed At Belaid, "Space techniques for desertification monitoring and


From Mohammed At Belaid, Space techniques for desertification monitoring and control in Al
control in Al Ahsa Oasis", UN/Saudi Arabia Regional Workshop, Riyadh, 2004.
Ahsa Oasis, UN/Saudi Arabia Regional Workshop, Riyadh, 2004.

eggs and 30,000 chickens. Al-Ahsa, which has a stud


farm that breeds thoroughbred royal Arabian horses,
is also famous for its camel market, where special
high-priced varieties are bred for racing. In the area
around the city a number of food-processing companies have sprung up. Private companies process the

farm produce from the oasis (making fruit juices and


dairy products), while other companies, supported
by the public al-Ahsa Development Company and
the Ministry of Agriculture support a factory with a
capacity of processing five tons of dates per day.
Side by side with traditional handloom units
(making woollen coats) and local metalworking
units (fabricating objects of copper, sabres, and daggers), new industries produce materials for the construction industry, and plastics factories have been
established mainly to the north of the oasis on the
road to Dammam. Large projects are being executed
with government assistance or foreign collaboration
to increase al-Ahsas cement-producing capacity
and set up a sizable aluminium factory. There is no
direct effect from the petroleum sector, but the oasis
is situated on the east edge of the Ghawar oilfield,
considered the worlds largest. Two mixed deposits
with huge oil-gas separating plants are located not
far from the city at Shedgum and Uthmaniyah. The
proximity of these installations for producing and
processing hydrocarbons has contributed to the
development of the city, which provides services to
oil workers who constitute 20 percent of the active
local population.
The al-Ahsa oasis with its flourishing agriculture
and industry is also an important centre for the service sector, which provides 60 percent of employment. Trade is evidently very important, as are
banking services. The education sector also provides
numerous jobs. The Hofuf campus of King Faisal
University (established in 1975) attracts students
from all over the country to its agronomy and vet-

erinary science departments as well as its schools


of medicine and dentistry for women students
(the Dammam campus trains engineers and has a
department of medicine for men). Tourism, too, is
an important source of employment, particularly
hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies organizing
guided tours of various well-known tourist places in
the kingdom. In addition to forts, souks, mosques,
and an archaeological museum, visitors to the
oasis region can visit the springs and caves of Jebel
al-Qara or take an excursion to the ruins of the fivethousand-year-old al-Uqair port, near which a small
seaside resort has come up, or to the still active onethousand-year old salt mines of Abqaiq.
HOFUF CITY CENTRE
HERITAGE REVALUATION
Dates
souk

Qasr Ibrahim
Gold
souk

Archeological museum
International hotel
Heritage place
Souk
Bank
University
Train station
Railways

Urban area
Park
Oasis
0

1 km

Unbuilt area

After Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula, Lonely Planet, 2007.

87

Manama, an Island Capital

Manama, the capital and the only urban agglomeration in Bahrain, was originally a vast oasis situated to the northeast of the island of the same name in the
archipelago that constitutes this small kingdom where traces of human settlement date back at least 5,000 years. In the 1960s, Manama had a population
of barely 60,000 and had difficulty surviving on agriculture and trade after the
decline of pearling. Today, it is an agglomeration with a population of approximately 700,000 people spread over the northern half of the island, and over the
neighboring islands of Muharraq and Sitrah.
In the old centre houses of unbaked bricks with inner courtyards and a wind
tower have been preserved. The old souks, the most frequented of which is the
gold souk with its traditional stalls, remind customers of bygone days, although
modern shops too have cropped up. The main entrance has arches that used to
house the offices of the British government and now lead to the diplomatic area
and the business district in the north. The old houses lining the wide avenues now
make way for hundreds of banks and financial institutions that contribute to the
citys wealth. Several ministries and government offices are located in the modern district, the kingdoms economic and political hub. The neighboring Hoora
district is a centre of nightlife with numerous bars, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs visited by crowds of foreign visitors. Many come from neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia, in search of the freedom that is a rare commodity
in this part of the world. In the daytime too, the district lures people with a huge
shopping centre, the GOSI Complex, which has many stores, a contemporary
art centre called La Fontaine set up in a cluster of beautiful old buildings, and
a museum of Islamic art. Further south Gudaibiya is a less popular district, even
though it houses several government buildings, including the parliament. Gudaibiya is where most immigrants live immediately after their arrival in Bahrain.
Not far and still within the older part of the city, the Adliya district has recently
become an alternative to Hoora, attracting tourists in search of night-time entertainment in its bars and restaurants, and its art galleries that have been opened
in beautiful houses. Even further south, overlooking Tubli Bay, where mangroves
and water birds are now protected, Umm al-Hassam is a middle-class residential district. However, many of these houses, which were built in the late 1970s,
are quite run down and the heavy traffic on the roads makes driving and park-

88

MANAMA, TOWARDS A POLYCENTRIC CITY


N

Arab-Persian Gulf

Muharraq

Water Garden
City

Seef
Almoayyed Tower

Lulu
Island

Bahrain
Financial
Harbor

Bahrain World
Trade Center

Diplomatic
Area

Manama
Souq
La Fontaine

Seef Mall

National Museum
GOSI
Complex

Hoora

Khwar
al Qalaia

Gold City

Gudaibiya
Al-Fateh
Grand Mosque

Zinj

Adliya

Main nancial centre

Jufair

Cultural place
Mosque
Embassy

New Zinj

International hotel
Shopping mall
Urban area

Umm Al Hassam

Real estate project


Park
Unbuilt area

Tubli Bay
0

500 m

ing difficult. The ongoing renovation does not allow buildings higher than four
storeys and includes a new fishing port in the bay. Finally, the eastern part of
Manama comprises the Zinj district near the site of the ancient village of Bilad
al-Qadeem, which was the islands capital before the arrival of the Portuguese
in the early sixteenth century. The al-Saboor Mosque, one of the oldest in

urban societies
Bahrain, bears witness to this past. Today, foreign
embassies are being opened in this area and new
buildings are being built closer to the sea, forming a
new district of luxury villas called New Zinj.
At the periphery of this urban complex, two new
districts have been built on reclaimed land. Over the
last few years, Juffair, to the southeast, has become
a smart district where the citys privileged youth
and executives of western companies have set up
residence. A few government buildings, the national
library, the offices of the Bahrain Tribune, an English-language daily, and the al-Fateh Grand Mosque
add to the bustle, apart from the construction of
residential buildings advancing at a rapid pace. To
the northwest, the new district of Seef is an artificial peninsula with apartment blocks and luxury
hotels, company headquarters, and shopping centres, including the Seef Mall, the largest in the kingdom. Seef has become the most expensive district of
Manama; it claims to be a second central business
district and is symbolized by the citys tallest structure, the Almoayyed Tower.
The city of Manama is not, however limited to this
ever-expanding urban spread. It is also necessary to
take into account Muharraq Island, now a residential suburb of the city. A city stood on this site in
ancient times and the island has been continuously
inhabited since then. Muharraq, where Bahrains
international airport is located, is now connected
to Manama by three bridges. It has an industrial
zone and a small man-made archipelago, the Amwaj
Islands, where many posh buildings are under construction. Connected to Manama by a bridge passing through the Nabih Salih Island, the Sitrah Island,
too, is a part of the city. The two islands, which traditionally practiced farming, are being rapidly urban-

ized, particularly Sitrah, where a huge industrial


zone is developing which includes an oil refinery,
oil depots, an aluminium factory, chemical factories, textile mills, and automobile repair shops. This
development has been facilitated by a second bridge
connecting the industrial zone to the nearby Bahrain Island and the localities of Rifa, al-Wusta, and
Medina Isa, thus forming a vast suburban sprawl
15 to 25 km from the city centre.
Built on the site of ancient villages, gardens, and
palm groves, Manama tourists visit many historical ruins, including the ruins of ancient Dilmun (a
UNESCO heritage site, whose inhabitants traded
with Mesopotamia and the Indus Delta) and a Portuguese fort. The city is now characterized by the
distinctive atmosphere of its numerous districts
and a socially mixed population; its wide avenues
bordered with elegant buildings make way for
more modest residential buildings on the small side
streets. Like many other cities in the Gulf, the numerous construction projects vying with one another to
draw attention with their bold and showy designs
are intended for the richest sections of the population, foreign companies, and wealthy expatriates.
Most are located on the islands north-eastern coast
on land reclaimed from the sea, thus expanding the
district where business and power are concentrated:
areas like the Bahrain Financial Harbor, which combines offices and luxury residences; the two slender
towers of the Bahrain World Trade Centre; Bahrain
Bay where towers and villas stand side by side, not
to mention the residential Lulu Island. To the citys
extreme south, other projects like al-Areen boast of
a Formula 1 circuit, a protected nature reserve, and
golf courses under construction.

COMPREHENSIVE URBAN PLANING


Muharraq
N

Manama

to
Saudi Arabia

Nabih Salih

BAHRAIN

Sitrah

Medina
Isa
Rifa

to
Qatar

CBD
University and High
Tech Corridor

10 km

Industrial area
Residential area
Touristic area
Projected touristic area

Port area
Airport
Bridge
Bridge under building

From Department of Industry, Bahrain.


From Department of Industry, Bahrain.

89

Greater Doha

Doha, Arabic for bay, is different from most cities in the Gulf because it developed much later and at a very rapid pace. In 1906, the Swiss traveller Burckhardt
described three inhabited places in the bayal-Bida, Salata, and Doha. The last,
which depended on pearling for its livelihood, was then the largest settlement
in the Qatar Peninsula. Along with al-Wafrah, located further south, each had a
population of just a few thousand. A hundred years later, the population of the
town, which went through a slump in the 1930s following the collapse of the
pearling industry, reached 850,000.
The citys development around the historical centre began in earnest after independence in 1971. Even as some of the old districts were becoming more densely
populated, the new capital developed in the form of two less densely populated
rings arranged in a semi-radial-concentric pattern, with circular roads named
after the letters of the alphabet. During the following decades, expanding beyond
the C-Ring Road, the city joined the industrial and working-class city of al-Rayyan,
which was being developed a few kilometres to the west to accommodate newly
arrived immigrant workers. Dohas population rose from 100,000 in 1970 to more
than 200,000 in 1980, and 350,000 in 1990, with al-Rayyan accounting for more than
100,000 inhabitants. Doha is expanding horizontally with a preponderance of lowrise buildings comprising more than 75 percent of the total buildings. Depending
on the districts and their inhabitants, houses range from luxury villas to working
class dwellings, sometimes in a run-down condition. The few towers in the city
are located along the bay, where the Corniche was built on the embankment after
the emir decided to improve the insalubrious pockets bordering the sea. Government institutions have opened their offices in these towers and in nearby buildings. At the same time, the port is being expanded without removing the existing
facilities. Industrial plants, too, are fairly modest and confined to a zone in the
citys southwest, housing light industries manufacturing paints, detergents, and
light engineering goods to satisfy the demands of the domestic market.
In the mid-1990s, Dohas population growth quickened, exceeding 380,000. Population grew even faster in al-Rayyan, which reached 320,000. The city is expanding in the northeast towards the desert along the main roads. On the other side, it
is also moving towards al-Wafrah (population 30,000) south of the international
airport. Simultaneously, the restoration of the historic centre is in full swing. The

90

DOHA CITY CENTRE : A RADIO-CONCENTRIC PLAN


N

.
e St
ich
rn
o
C

Weaponry Museum

Cor
n

Rin

Park
1

1,5

Qatar National
Museum

gA

Doha
International
Airport

Ring C

Diplomatic area
0,5

iche St
.

Ring B

International hotel
Shopping mall
Museum

Museum of
Islamic Art

2 km

g
Rin

first decade of the new millennium was devoted to the execution of major projects, which were integrated in 2007 into the Greater Doha Master Plan, whose
architectural designs are based on the star and the arabesque. There is a planning effort, but it was has not managed to the same level of specialization as
other Gulf cities. A manifestation of Dohas desire to become an international
transport hub like Dubai can be seen in the expansion of the airport in late
2009 on reclaimed land, together with the development of an economic zone,
and the development of the port. The development of the Pearl of the Gulf,
a man-made island to the citys north that is expected to accommodate 42,000

urban societies
RAPID DEMOGRAPHIC GROWTH

A RECENT SPATIAL SPREAD

PROPOSED LAND USE

Number of inhabitants
(1970-2006)

800,000

Total

700,000

600,000
500,000
D

400,000

Doha

Al Rayyan

Doha

300,000

200,000

Al Rayyan

A
C
E

100,000
0
1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

From
Census of
of Population
and official
official surveys.
surveys.
From Census
Population and

people, shows that Doha is keen to develop international tourism and encourage expatriate executives
of multinational companies to buy freehold property in this prestigious locality. Twenty-first-century
Doha, a product of the recent boom in natural gas,
is a city on the move, an urbanized agglomeration that is expected to spread over a distance of
25 kilometres along the coast by the year 2025. There
is a proposal to surround the city centre between the
Corniche and the C-Ring Road by a serpentine canal
and to build on its other bank residential buildings
flanked by green spaces and separated by barren
corridors to channel wind energy, beyond which
there will be industrial zones. Lusail, a new township
rising on Dohas northern coast, is expected to have
200,000 residents. A 140kilometer metro network is
being built with German expertise (Deutsche Bahn)
to provide transport facilities in this fast-developing urban territory. An eastwest line will connect

Al Wakrah

Urban area
in 1973

Desert

in 1990

Urban
motorway

in 2002

Ring

in 2008

Harbor

0 1 2 3 4 5 km

International Airport
Airport under construction
(end of work 2015)

From
coverfacility
(data
processsing
M. LeM.Cam).
FromNASA
NASAGlobal
Globaland
and
cover facility
[data
processing
Le Cam].

al-Rayyan to Doha and the southern line will lead


along the coast of the Mesaieed Industrial City, further south of al-Wafrah, and up to the new city of
Lusail, at the northern end of the bay. The metro
network will also cover the new districts of the capital, which will host the World Cup in 2022; an additional 80,000 hotel rooms are planned to be ready by
then, a substantial jump from the 18,000 rooms now
available.

CBD

Park

City centre

Wooded area
Harbor and
airport
Industrial area

Densied area
Residential city

0 1 2 3 4 5 km

Desert

From Planning Council.


From Planning Council.

91

The Island and the City of Abu Dhabi

92

URBAN GROWTH AND ARTIFICIAL SHORELINE

1960

1978

2008

At the time of independence in 1971, the city of Abu Dhabi was home to barely
100,000 people and the government did not expect their number to exceed
600,000. But according to the 2005 census, it reached 650,000 and is now
approaching one million. The new master plan expects this number to rise to
two million by 2020, and three million by 2030. This growth results from two
factors: first, Abu Dhabi is the capital of both the United Arab Emirates and
the Federations richest emirate and second, it is situated close to Dubai, which
serves as an inspiration. Abu Dhabi is, however, keen to avoid Dubais mistakes
leading to an uncontrolled growth.
According to tradition, the al-Bu Falah tribe discovered a spring on an island
while chasing a gazelle during a hunting expedition. Around 1790, their sheikh,
who belonged to the al-Nahyan family whose descendants still preside over the
destiny of the emirate and the Federation, left the oases of Liwa to settle on this
island, which had become an important pearling centre. It was easy to defend
because it was surrounded by islets and sand banks, which made navigation difficult. When oil-drilling operations began in the mid-1960s, the Bedouin population settled and became urbanized, even as large numbers of migrants arrived in
Abu Dhabi. The city expanded to the northeast and beyond the al-Hosn fort, the
emirs former residence. Japanese town-planners planned the citys streets in a
grid pattern. As a result, traffic movement is organized along wide avenues lined
with very simple-looking buildings behind which are hidden apartment blocks
and villas. Behind the seafront, enlivened by green spaces and the Corniche that
is lined by international hotels, is a business district housing the offices of oil
companies. A power station and a desalinization plant have been built on the
island of Umm al-Nar, whose archaeological remains prove that it was inhabited
by human beings as early as the third millennium BC. The city has been rebuilt
on top of its own earlier layers, the earlier generation of buildings making way for
taller and more elegant constructions. The urban extension, which was initially
limited to a few districts covered by villas on the principal islands, including the
diplomatic quarter, is speeding up. The Corniche, now dominated by towers with
glass facades belonging to oil companies, has been widened by the construction
of an embankment and leads westward to the Emirates Palace, a luxury hotel that
opened in 2007. Close by, a huge shopping complex (Marina Mall) and a heritage
village are found on a man-made peninsula.

Urban area

10 km

Area under construction or


development

Tidal bank

The citys prosperity is based on oil exports, but its economy is rapidly diversifying in the areas of trade and services. The federal government, the Abu
Dhabi emirate authorities, and the municipal administration have a large number of offices in the city. The congestion of Dubai has driven many Arab and
western companies to relocate their offices in Abu Dhabi, which offers more
amenities today. As many new projects arise, a large number of construction
workers are housed in camps on the mainland at the edge of the city where
new districts are being built along the expressway that leads to Dubai and also
serves the international airport. Built in 1968 renovated and expanded in 2005
and then again in 2010, the international airport replaced the Bateen airport to
the islands south, which, after having been a military air base before, is now an
executive airport for private planes.
The Master Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 envisages the development of uninhabited
islands and also the mainland. Bridges have been built or are under construction to connect various islands and a new bridge between the island of Abu
Dhabi and the mainland has doubled the capacity of the Maqta Bridge, which
was built on the site of an old fort. The man-made Lulu Island that faces the

urban societies
Corniche will host an amusement park. Reem Island, on the northeast where a
Central Business District (CBD) is under construction, is the site of residential
and office towers. The construction of museums will make Sadiyat Island a cultural district. Yas Island has a Grand Prix racing circuit. Apart from these projects
and facilities, the plan envisages the construction of Capital City, a secondary
administrative centre beyond the monumental Zayed Mosque (completed in
2007), which dominates the south-eastern end of the main island. Finally, there
is Masdar City, an experimental project for the development of renewable energy
sources and recycling of used water and waste. The public transport system has
to be improved and the plan envisages the introduction of dedicated bus corridors. Two railway stations, one near the Corniche and the other near the Capital
City, will serve the future Abu Dhabi-Dubai high-speed train service, while Mina
Khalifa, located between Abu Dhabi and Dubais Jebel Ali free zone, will add to
the existing ports of Mina Zayed at the northern end of Abu Dhabi Island and
Mussafah, whose industrial zone has enjoyed the status of a special economic
zone since 2008.

ABU DHABI MASTER PLAN 2030


N

Port
Khalifa

Saadiyat
Port
Zayed

Yas

Lulu
Al Reem

ABU DHABI CITY CENTRE: AN ORTHOGONAL GRID

Umm al Nar

Hudayriat

th

Abu Dhabi Mall

Port
Mussafah

Al
S
am
Sal

Cultural
Foundation

t.

e
ich

t.

dS

on

c
Se

Capital
City

oad
tR

ad
Ro

th
eF
irs
t

t
or
rp

St
.

Ai

Za
ye
d

CBD

Industrial

High and medium-density residential

Airport

Low-density residential

High Tech / Business Park

Parks and environment reserve

lee

st
Ea

a
Kh
Al

Emirates Palace

ed
ay

Qasr
al Hosn

Heritage
Village
rn
Co

he

Eas

Marina Mall

ic
or n

10 km

bi

ra

lA

a
Ro

jA
t

ee

Str

Adapted from
Planning
Council.
Adapted
fromUrban
Urban
Planning
Council.

International hotel
Shopping mall
Cultural place

Al

ADNOC Branch
(National Oil Company)
Diplomatic area

0,5

1,5

da

a
Sa

St.

2 km

93

The Coastal Conurbation of


Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman

94

DUBAI-SHARJAH-AJMAN
A POLYCENTRIC LINEAR METROPOLIS
Iconic tower
Motorway
Other road

The Gulf

Stretching along the sea, the Dubai metropolis now


extends beyond the borders of the emirate bearing
the same name and to the territory of the emirates
of Sharjah and Ajman. This urban agglomeration,
which is not under a supra-municipal administration, had a population of nearly 2.5 million at the
end of the 2000s. Located between the impressive
Jebel Ali port and industrial free zone and the more
modest Hamriyah free zone, this urban polycentric
strip of land stretching over more than 70 kilometres, some parts of which are densely populated in
high-rise buildings, is served by two highways in
addition to the coastal road punctuated by districts
like Jumeirah, which are home to posh villas and
international hotels like the iconic Burj al-Arab
shaped like the sail of a dhow. Often congested
with vehicles, the E 11, which is known in Dubai as
Sheikh Zayed Road, runs through the agglomeration
at a short distance from the coast. Some sections of
the E 311 and E 611 highways were built later in the
desert to serve as bypasses and these are bordered
by new construction.
The city centre, which has arisen on the site of
Dubais original double nucleus, stretches on either
side of a khor (creek). On its right bank, known as
Deira, are a series of shopping areas around the
souks, which are located downstream, and a cluster
of buildings housing administrative and economic
institutions that overlook the dhow port located
upstream. On the opposite bank, known as Bur

Palm
Jebel Ali

Emirate border

The World
Palm
Jumeirah

Palm
Deira

Jebel Ali

Sharjah

Burj Al Arab

E11

E11

Jumeirah

WTC

Ajman

Dubai

Al Hamriya
E11

E11

Burj Khalifa

E11

E311

E311

E311
E311

E6

Mushrif

11

E611

E611
Urban area
Urban area under
construction
Industrial area

Postponed project

Airport

Unbuilt area

Park
Agricultural area
0

Dubai, are the historic Shindagha district and Bastakiya, where the restored houses of Iranian merchants
with their wind towers house art galleries, and the
al-Fahidi fort, built in 1799, has been converted into
a museum.
To the west, the fashionable towers along Sheikh
Zayed Road constitute a linear central business dis-

10 km

Awir

trict whose landmarksthe World Trade Centre


built in 1978 and Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest
tower (828 meters) opened in 2010are symbols
of Dubais elevation to a global city. To the east,
the historic core of Sharjah, located around a triple
khor, which is sometimes called a lagoon, is another
centre of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman conurbation.

urban societies
DUBAI CITY CENTRE

SHARJAH CITY CENTRE

AJMAN CITY CENTRE

TWO CORES ALONG THE CREEK

HERITAGE PRESERVATION

THE GROWTH OF A SMALL PORT

Food
Souk

Port
Rashid

Al Shindagha

Gold
Souk
Spice
Souk

D e i ra

Bastakiya

Th
eC
re

Port
Khaled
Al Saya
Island

Fruit &
Vegetable
Souk

ek

Textile
Souk Dubai
Museum

International hotel
Sea resort
Souk
Shopping mall
Museum
Cultural place
Fort
Municipality
Emiri Diwan
Chamber of Commerce

International hotel
Souk
Shopping mall
Cultural place
Municipality
Emiri Diwan
Chamber of Commerce
Abra station (water taxis)
Bus station

Khwar of
Ajman

Central
Souk

Dhow
Wharfage

Bur Dubai
Urban area

Port Saeed

Restored heritage
district
Health Care City
Free Zone
Park
0

Cimetary
0,5
1km

Qanat al
Qasba

Health Care
City

Industrial
area

Al Khan
Lagoon

From Department
From
Department of
of Tourism
Tourism &
& Commerce
CommerceMarketing.
Marketing.

Within the federal framework of the U.A.E., the


Sharjah government has the capability to pursue
its own urban strategies independently of Dubai. It
thus took up, at an early stage, the restoration of its
architectural heritage, a legacy of its rich seafaring
past. While high buildings overlook the Corniche
that runs past the port and shopping malls attract
buyers, the city centre offers preserved traditional
architecture or even new buildings in traditional
style such as the cultural and commercial complex

SHARJAH

Khaled
Lagoon

Dubai Golf
and
Yacht Club

Al Mamzar
Lagoon

DUBAI
0

0,5

1km

Urban area
Heritage area
Urban area under
construction
Port and industrial
area
Park

FromSharjah
SharjahCommerce
Commerce&&Tourism
Tourism Authority.
Authority.
From

of Qanat al-Qasba. Although its museums, universities, and publishing houses enhance its reputation
as a cultural and intellectual centre, Sharjah is also a
dormitory town, home to a large number of middle-

International hotel
Souk
Shopping mall
Museum
Municipality
Emiri iwan
Chamber of Commerce

Urban area
Urban area under
construction
Industrial area
0

0,5

1km

Free Zone

From Ajman
From
Ajman Municipality
Municipality &
& Planning
Planning Dpt.
Dpt.

class families working in Dubai, drawn there by the


relatively low rents.
On the eastern fringe of the metropolis, again on
the banks of a khor, stands Ajman, whose modest
city centre located on the left bank can be described
as a juxtaposition of residential districts inhabited by people belonging to low-income groups.
Ajman manages its development as a small independent city even though it is overshadowed by its
neighbors.

95

The al-Ain-Buraimi Oases

96

AL-AIN BURAIMI
A DISSYMETRIC CROSS-BORDER CONURBATION
Urban area

Unbuilt area

Agricultural area

320 to 500 m

Oasis

500 to 1000 m

Industrial area

Above 1000 m

Airport
Scenic road

OMAN

Hili

Buraimi

National Museum

Al Ain

Zayed
Military College

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Ain al Faydah
International hotel
Museum
Archeological park
Fort
Zoo
Natural spring

UAE University
Higher College of Technology
Military academy
Shopping mall
Camel market
Camel racetrack

OMAN

feet
l Ha
Jebe

On the border between the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the sultanate of Oman is
the area historically known as Tawam (meaning twins), a reference to the two
vast palm groves of a group of oases mentioned in travellers stories as Buraimi.
Over the last four decades it has become a cross-border conurbation with a
population of nearly 500,000. Buraimi is the name of a town with a population
of 70,000 in 2007, situated in Omani territory, 100 km from Sohar and 350 from
Muscat, while al-Ain (meaning the spring), situated in the United Arab Emirates, has a city population of 285,000. The metropolitan population, i.e. including peri-urban localities, came to 375,000 in 2007; it had doubled between 1975
and 1980 when it rose to 100,000, before rising to 200,000 around 1990, and to
300,000 ten years later. Almost equidistant (about 150 km) from Abu Dhabi and
Dubai, al-Ain is the Federations fourth largest and the emirates second largest
city. This garden city, which includes several oases surrounded by five-storey
residential buildings along tree-lined avenues, has a great symbolic importance.
Initially, it was supposed to be the federal capital, as it was the favourite city of
Sheikh Zayed who was its governor at one time and enjoyed staying there even
after he became the emir of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab
Emirates. Since 1976, the city has been home to the Federal University (502 students in 1979 and 12,500 in 2009).
People settled at the edge of the Rub al-Khali desert, in the foothills of Jebel
Hafeet, which rises to a height of 1,250 meters, and the limestone hills of the Hajar
range. These tertiary anticlines, which have endorheic wadis running down, contain aquifers. The catchment and channelling of groundwater reserves have made
it possible to develop carbonated soil on plain of fragmented rock resulting from
the erosion of hills. Tombs on the lower slopes of Jebel Hafeet indicate that the
area was inhabited around 3000 to 2500 BC. The archaeological excavations in
Hili led to the discovery of a large village of farmers and craftsmen that dates
to the end of the third millennium BC. Iron Age sites (Rumailah and Qarn Bin
Saud) indicate that the domestication of dromedaries and the construction of the
first falaj (irrigation channel) around 1000 BC made it possible, by associating
pastoral nomadism with irrigated farming, to develop an area that had become
totally arid.

Mazyad
0

10 km

This system, which dates back thousands of years, persisted until the 1970s.
Between 1970 and 1980, the cultivated area increased by 290 percent. Plots
with an average area of 2.5 hectares and provided with a well and a pump were
distributed; a large number of forestation projects, experimental farms, and
battery farming were introduced. During the 1990s, Buraimi and the oasis of

urban societies
A GROUP OF FOOTHILL OASES

THE OASIS HERITAGE PROJECT IN THE CENTRAL AREA


t
J. Al Ohah

Masoodi

Farms
Commerce

tt
lah
J. Haq

Hili
Qatarha
Al Jimi

Oasis

Civic
School
Healthcare

Buraimi

Religious
Residential
Recreational
Unbuilt area

Muwaiji
Motarad

Al Ain
0

500

1000 m

Adapted from
Adapted
fromUrban
UrbanPlanning
PlanningCouncil.
Council.

Dune sands
Chalcky detritic
deposits
Mountain

1 km

eet
J. Haf

Palm grove
Wadi

From Dr S. Cleuziou works and Emirates Natural History Group documents.


Based on the publications of Serge Cleuziou and Emirates Natural History Group Documents.

Madha, opened up by the construction of a road,


moved from subsistence farming to commercial
farming, were oriented towards the Emirati market.
Al-Ain, which gets its water supply from the desalinization plants on the coast because of the drastic
fall in the groundwater level, still has farms in the
new irrigated areas, but the old abandoned palm

groves are now no more than heritage sites visited


by tourists. The town-planning scheme aspires to
raise the population to one million by 2030 while
preserving its atmosphere, and hopes to combine its
booming tourism sector and fast-moving industrial
development while also conserving its landscape
and heritage. The central district project has given
rise to controversy. Its detractors are concerned that
the oasis will be turned into a museum and the area
around it will receive a token, symbolic treatment
with the introduction of neo-oasis architecture.
Because of its position as a crossroads and the
availability of water resources it was long coveted
by neighboring rulers. In the seventeenth century, it
was a bone of contention between the sultan of Muscat and the imam of Nizwa; in the eighteenth century, it passed to the control of Oman; from 1805, the
oases were subjected to forays by the Wahhabis, who
controlled the region partially until 1869. In 1891, the
emir of Abu Dhabi became ruler of al-Ain while the

sultan of Oman retained Buraimi, which was occupied by the Saudis in 1952. In fact, the dispute over
Buraimi was not so much a power struggle among an
Ibadi sultan, a Maliki emir, and a Wahhabi king as a
disagreement between the British government and
the American oil companies. After an international
arbitration tribunal failed to resolve the issue in
1954, British military intervention put an end to the
Saudi presence in 1955. After independence (1971),
the United Arab Emirates ceded the coastal area
adjoining Qatar in exchange for a final renunciation
of Saudi Arabias claim to al-Ain. The demarcation of
the border that passes through the city was officially
accepted in 2005. While the border remained porous
after 1971, the government of Abu Dhabi recently
built a wall with strictly guarded checkpoints, much
to the discontent of the people living along the border, to decrease infiltration of illegal immigrants
and drug smuggling from Iran through small Omani
ports after controls were tightened in Emirati ports.
97

Muscats Capital Region

The capital region (800,000 inhabitants) of the Sultanate of Oman stretches from
east to west over a distance of approximately 40 kilometres. It is fragmented due
to the limitations of the site, rocky hills with ravines that form a natural fortress against inland tribes. For historical reasons, it was built around two cores
nestled in sheltered bays. The Muttrah port (151,000 inhabitants), an active trading centre, presents a contrast with the imposing fortified city of Muscat (25,000
inhabitants). Situated four kilometres apart, these two cores, long connected by
a single path between the sea and the mountains and separated by an open
space, are now connected by an expressway. In addition to the sites natural
beauty, tourists are attracted to Muttrah by its superb buildings belonging to
rich merchants and old souks, and in Muscat by the historical edifices around
the sultans palace that have now been converted into museums.
Located almost at the middle of the coast of the Gulf of Oman, where it curves
towards the southwest, Muscat dethroned Sohar, a flourishing medieval port city
situated further north, in the sixteenth century. Muscat, which traded in goods
and slaves, built a prosperous colonial empire on the coasts of East Africa, Persia, and India and was long coveted by the Portuguese, the Persians, the Dutch,
and the English. Its turbulent history gave the city its historical cosmopolitan
character and its community-based layout. Thus, the Lawatyas, an endogamous
Ismaili community probably originating in Sind but holding Omani nationality,
have lived for generations in a gated district close to the Muttrah souk, where
they work as goldsmiths and jewellers. The Banias, Hindus belonging to merchant
castes, have been living here for centuries but do not have the Omani nationality.
Money-lenders to successive rulers of Muscat in the past, the Banias are concentrated in a district close to the palace. In addition to these old foreign communities, who have been living in Muscat for a long time, since 1970 there has been
an influx of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, constituting a little over
40 percent of the population, a figure higher than in other parts of the country.
Hierarchies are now determined by income and pose a threat to older hierarchies
that were based on prestige. Thus the old divisions between communities are
becoming blurred and spatial differentiation on ethnic lines is making way for
divisions based on differences in income.

98

EARLY COSMOPOLITISM
COMMUNITIES AND DISTRICTS IN MUSCAT AROUND 1900
Gulf of Oman
Mirani

Jilali

Omani Arabs
Baluchi
0

100

200 m

Bahraini

Sultans Palace

Mosque

Persian

British Consulate
General

Fortress

Pass

Swahili

Souk

Wall

Mountain

Jadgah

Indian bazar

Fort

Escarpment

Adapted from F. Scholz, La diffrenciation socio-spatiale de la ville arabo-musulmane. Le cas de Mascate , in B. Dumortier and

Adapted from F. Scholz, La diffrenciation socio-spatiale de la ville arabo-musulmane. Le cas de Mascate, in B. Dumortier and M. Lavergne,
M. Lavergne,
LOmanKarthala,
contemporain,
LOman
contemporain,
2002. Karthala, 2002.

The city has branched out to the south into wadis, where small urban centres
have developed in the wider parts of the valleys and newer districts are spreading out. Separated from Muttrah by the residential district of Bayt al-Falaj,

urban societies
A LINEAR FRAGMENTED URBAN REGION
Urban area in 1970

Urban area in 2008

Gulf of Oman

Large real estate project


Seeb

The Wave Muscat

Al Qurum

Airport area
Muttrah

Park
Muscat

Bayt
al Falaj
Ruwi

Madinat as
Sultan Qaboos

Al Udhaybah

Industrial area

Mina
al Fahl

Mangrove
Unbuilt area

Khuwayr

Motorway

Wadi
al Kabir

Ghala

Motorway under construction


Other road

Bawshar
0

10 km

From
Explorer map and J.E. Peterson, Historical Muscat, Leiden, Brill, 2007.
From Explorer map and J.E. Peterson, Historical Muscat, Leiden, Brill, 2007.

MUTRAH, A PORT AND A MERCANTILE CENTER

MUSCAT, THE SULTANS CITADEL

Gulf of Oman

Hotel

Ministry

Market, souk

Museum

Fort
Ancient
watchtower
Ancient wall

Fortress

Gulf of Oman

Wall
Fort

Fish Market

Old
port

Mirani
Fort

Port Sultan Qaboos

Jilali Fort
Sultan
Palace

or

niche
Soor
al Lawatya
Gold
C

Ruwi, the central business district of this multi-polar


capital, consists of international hotels, corporate
headquarters, and offices of economic and financial institutions, while Wadi al-Kabir is an industrial and working class district. The citys expansion
is mainly directed towards the west, where the
coastal plain of al-Batinah begins. Beyond the oil
terminal and the refinery of Mina al-Fahal, Qurum
is a wealthy suburb. In al-Khuwair the middle-class
population lives south of the highway, while embassies and ministries have been relocated north of it.
Medinat Sultan Qaboos is a new city, while Bushehr
(150,000 inhabitants) grew out of a pre-existing village. Beyond the Ghala and Udaibah districts that
house processing industries and warehouses, Seeb
(250,000 inhabitants) lies east of the airport. With
the establishment near the university and the Majlis
al-Shura (Consultative Assembly), the city of Seeb,
formerly an old village, constitutes a new centre at
the periphery of the capital region.

Souk

200

400 m

Mountain

Mountain

Urban area

Urban area

Park

Park

Unbuilt area

200

400 m

Unbuilt area

99

Sohar and Sur: Two Cities on the Gulf of Oman

Sohar and Sur, heirs to Omans rich thalassocratic past, are today just middle
size cities in the Gulf region. On the national scale, they are regional capitals
and part of a macrocephalic urban network dominated by Muscat. Sohar, whose
population jumped from 64,161 in 1993 to 95,728 in the 2003 census, is the countrys third largest city, with 126,800 inhabitants in 2010. Sur, whose population
rose from 41,439 in 1993 to 47,727 in 2003, became the fifth largest town, but the
fourth most populated urban agglomeration with 61,000 inhabitants by 2010.
Located 220 km to the north of Muscat and 200 km to the south of Dubai,
Sohar, the former capital of Oman, already mentioned in a sixth-century text,
was very prosperous from the eleventh to the fifteenth century and is purportedly
the birthplace of Sindbad the Sailor. Being the administrative capital of the alBatinah North Governorate, its area of influence interferes with the attractiveness
of Muscat, but also Rostaq. This oasis at the inland foothills of the western Hajar
Mountains was the capital of Oman in the eighteenth century and is now the
administrative capital of al-Batinah South. Al-Batinah (12,500 km2), the countrys
most populated region with 28 percent of the total population, was divided in
two governorates in 2011.This is indicative of the tension between the coastal area
with its ports and the mountainous region with its oasesa tension that has influenced Omani history and identity. Situated between coastal wadis that descend
from the foothills of the Hajar Mountains, Sohar presents the same dichotomy:
two strips of land running parallel to the seashore, the outer one traditionally
dependent on fishing and the inner one on agriculture, separated from each other
by a palm grove.
After a long decline, Sohar is now part of regional urban dynamics, which
increases its polarization by the neighboring emirates and affirms its openness to
globalization. In 2001, a campus of Oman Medical College was established there,
as well as a university offering courses in various applied sciences, like management, engineering, and information technology. These two private institutes,
established by the sultans decree, use English as the language of instruction and
award degrees recognized by the government in association respectively with
West Virginia University (USA) and Queensland University (Australia). Sohar City
Centre, a huge mall with shops and recreational facilities, has been announced

100

SUR
FROM A POLYCENTRIC SMALL TOWN TO AN EXPANDING TOWN
Historical core

Urban area
before 1970
from 1970 to 1990

Gulf of Oman
Al-Rusagh

from 1990 to 2000


Expansion axis

Shariah
Sunaysilah

Al-Janah

Al-Ayjah
Sur al-Sahil
Husayniyah

Ghuaynah

Al-Rashah

Al-Subakh

Bilad Sur
Birmanah

Lagoon
Al-Aqbah

International hotel

Al-Hasa
Sukaykirah
Sayh al-Qadim

Cimetary

Nismah
0

Agricultural area
1 km

Desert

From B.B.Mokhtar,
conomiques
et extension
urbaine
Sour ,Sour,
in B. Dumortier
and M. Lavergne,
contemporain,
From
Mokhtar, Activits
Activits
conomiques
et extension
urbaine
in B. Dumortier
and M. LOman
Lavergne,
LOman contemporain, Karthala,
Karthala, 2002.
2002.

by the Majid al-Futtaim group of Dubai. But the largest project, with expertise
of Port of Rotterdam, consists of a deep-water port and a free zone that takes
advantage of Sohars strategic position close which avoids the ships crossing the
Strait of Hormuz. While GDF Suez is building a second power station, an aluminium factory, whose capital has been raised jointly by the Omani National
Oil Company (40 percent), the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company

urban societies
SOHAR

TOWARDS THE REVIVAL OF AN ANCIENT CAPITAL

Amq

Majis

Sanqah

Al-Afifah

Salian

Zafaran

Kurun

Hadirah
Hajirah

Al-Shizaw

Al-Subarah
Al-Shabul

Al-Suwayhirah
Sohar
University

Sohar City
Centre

Wadi
Suq

2 km

International hotel
Oman Medical
College

Port area

Agricultural area

Industrial area

Oasis

Urban area in 2001

Park

Desert

Real estate project

Urban area in 1987

Museum

THE NEW PORT OF SOHAR


AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT

Souk
Shopping Mall
under construction
Private university

Port area
in operation
in development

Adapted from
Office
technical
documents.
Adapted
fromSohar
SoharDevelopment
Development
Office
technical
documents.

(40 percent), and the Canadian company, Alcan


(20percent), opened in 2007. Early in 2011, Sohar witnessed demonstrations and violent clashes between
the police and Omani youths demanding jobs and
higher wages.
Sur, 150 km to the south of Muscat, is the main city
of al-Sharqiyah. Until the 2011 administrative reform,
it was the capital of the al-Sharqiyah Governorate
which comprises an area of 36,800 km2 and 13 percent of the countrys population according to the
2003 census; it accounts for about a fifth of the population of this largely rural area. Sur is now the capital
of al-Sharqiyah South Governorate, while Ibra is the
capital of al-Sharqiyah South. The city, whose builtup area has asymmetrically grown tenfold over the
last quarter century, has expended northward from
Sur al-Sahil, settled by Ibadi Muslims, and al-Ayjah,
inhabited by Wahhabis. Today, Bilad Sur, a group of

in project

oasis villages, is added to these two cores located on


either side of the lagoons entrance. Its topographical fragmentation, a mosaic of tribes and religious
differences between the two shores, which are not
connected by a bridge, has delayed the integration
of the citys components. Confined for a long time
to activities connected with the sea (fishing, building dhows, sea-trade with East Africa, slave-trading,
etc.), Sur witnessed considerable development of
its informal commercial and industrial sector during the 1970s. The change was accelerated when the
College of Education was built in 1996 and an undergraduate private college, in collaboration with Bond
University (Australia) in 2001, but above all when
the Qalat gas terminal located about 20 kilometres
to the north was completed during the same year.
Notably, Sur and Qalat were seriously damaged by
the cyclone Gonu in June 2007.

Free zone
(in operation, in development)
Industrial area
(in operation, in development)

Villages and agricultural


areas
Road
existing
under construction
in project
Airport area

Wadi
Hil

Wadi Jizi

Aluminium melting plant

Gulf of Oman

to
Muscat

to
Dubai

2 km

to Abu
Dhabi

From Sohar
Sohar Industrial
From
Industrial Port
Port Company.
Company.

101

The Port City of Bandar Abbas

Above all, Bandar Abbas is the principal Iranian port that handles 75 percent
of the countrys imports and 90 percent of its non-oil exports. Due to its strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz, it has received considerable attention
from Tehran over the last two decades and has seen continuous development
as a result of huge investments. Known in ancient times as Hormirzad and later
named Bandar Gumruk by the Persians and Comorao by the Portuguese, it was
used for some time by the English and the Dutch, and rented out to the Sultanate of Oman from 1780 to 1868. Bandar Abbas (renamed in honor of Shah Abbas
the Great who drove out the Portuguese) was a minor Iranian port for the most
part of the twentieth century, during which time the principal ports were Abadan and Khorramshahr at the end of the Gulf. But the war between Iraq and
A SEAFRONT CITY

DEVELOPMENT TOWARDS THE SOUTH


Urban area
Container port
Mineral and oil
terminal
Shipyard
Desert
International airport

BANDAR ABBAS

Other airport
Road
Railways

Foulad Jetty

Shahid Bahonar

Shahid Rajaee (SEZ)

5 km

International hotel
Urban area
Park
0

500

102

1000 m

Unbuilt area

Shopping mall
Historic building
Train station
Railways

Iran changed the situation completely. The front-line ports on the Shatt alArab (Arvand Rud) were, to a large extent, destroyed, making Bandar Abbas,
situated far from Iraq, the main trading centre for the Islamic Republic of
Iran, which has become increasingly isolated at the international level. Goods
imported from the West, as well as those manufactured in Asia, transit mainly
through Dubai on the opposite shore. They are then trans-shipped back to
Iran and partly re-exported to the Caucasus, and Central Asian countries.
Bandar Abbas, which was a small fishing harbor with 17,000 inhabitants in
1955, had a population of over 350,000 by 2010. The urban area is spread over
almost 50 km along the coast, but the city itself is concentrated on about 15
kilometres. The urban core consists of the old harbor where dhows plying the
trade with the opposite shore berth with their mixed cargoes, a lively bazaar,
and numerous administrative buildings, because Bandar Abbas is the capital of
the province of Hormozgan. To the east, the city ends in a large area occupied

urban societies
THE CAPITAL OF HORMOZGAN PROVINCE, BETWEEN ZAGROS AND THE GULF
Rudan

Fin

Fars

0 to 500 m

Kerman

2681 m

1000 to 2000 m

Minab
BANDAR ABBAS
Bandar Pol

Bastak

Gavbandi

Bandar Khamir

Shahid Rajaee Hormuz


Qeshm

Angohran

Bandar Suza

Lavan

Hengam
Kish

Hendarabi
Kish

Bandar Kong

Qeshm

Sirik

t of Horm

uz

Bandar Charak

Stra i

Sistan
and
Baluchestan

Sanderk

Lark

Jenah

500 to 1000 m

Bandar Lengeh

Provincial capital

Historic building

Nature reserve

Motorway

Main town

Special Economic Zone

International airport

Other road

Other town

Free zone

Other airport

Railways

OMAN
Jahlu

UAE

by the airport, which links Bandar Abbas with Tehran and other large Iranian cities, as well as Shiraz
and Kish, and also Dubai. Westward, the port continues to expand. There lies the heart of the urban
economy, which includes a fishing harbor, an important naval base linked with a military airport, huge
docks where cargo and container ships berth, oil
terminals, and several industrial zones, including a
steel mill and the countrys largest aluminium factory. The Shahid Bahonar port, located eight kilometres from the city, is being modernized. About
15 kilometres further, the modern port of Shahid
Rajaee, built in 1983 and developed further in several
stages, continues to expand. In the frame of a special economic zone open to foreign investment, and
with assistance from the port of Hamburg, it expects

10

20

30

to provide international quality services to ships.


Machine tools, arms, metal products, food, and pharmaceuticals enter the country through its docks and
wharves, and it exports fruits and almonds, carpets,
leather, and steel. An oil and ore terminal is situated between these two ports. These port facilities
also include a shipbuilding yard. Bandar Abbas, a
port of strategic importance to the countrys development, is connected by excellent highways and
railway lines with economic centres in the countrys
interior.
At the regional level, Bandar Abbas is closely
linked with Qeshm Island, which has a population
of around 115,000 dispersed in some 50 small towns
and villages. The islands inhabitants pursue traditional occupations like fishing and farming, as well

40

50 km

Jask

as more modern occupations recently introduced to


the island, which has a free zone like Kish. Tourism
is growing fast, thanks to the presence of a nature
reserve and archaeological and historical remains,
and its proximity to the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, from which a number of expatriate
workers come, if only for a day, to renew their visas.
Bandar Abbas is also developing links with the small
coastal town of Asaluyeh, about 400 km by road,
with which the capital of Hormozgan will be linked
by a gas pipeline. A large number of installations for
processing gas, petrochemical factories, and heavy
industries are being developed in the Pars Special
Economic Energy Zone that was set up in the 1990s
near Asaluyeh, and where 27 industrial projects are
being implemented.

103

Abadan and Khorramshahr: Two Oil Cities

Basra

al

tt

IRAN
- Arab

Bandar
Mahshahr

Khorramshahr

Al Zubair

Bandar
Emam Khomeyni

Abadan

International
border

IRAQ

Speed way
Secondary
road
Railways

Umm Qasr

K U WA I T
0

Al Faw

10 km

Oil pipeline

Qasemiyeh

Gas pipeline

Arab- Pe rsian Gulf

Main
airports
Refinery
Gas
treatment
plant
Oil
terminal
Container
port

AN OIL CITY UNDER RECONSTRUCTION


IRAN

Main road
Railways
River, canal

Khorramshahr
Ka

run

Ri

ve

Airport

Port area
Oil pipeline
Oil area

hma
ns i r

Urban area

d
d Ru

Free zone
Agricultural area
Marsh, flood risk area
Desert

Ba

Mahrat

IRAQ

Arvan

104

A STRATEGIC BORDER AREA


ha

Situated about 15 km apart on the left bank of the Shatt al-Arab, known as
Arvand Rud in Persian, Khorramshahr and Abadan are very different from each
other, although they have close links. The present city of Khorramshahr, located
at the confluence of the Karun and Arvand Rud rivers, has been in existence at
least since the fourteenth century. In 1815, the Bedouin tribe of Bu Kassab named
it Muhammarah and made it the capital of an independent emirate situated
between Persia and the Ottoman Empire. Claimed by both Turks and Persians,
the city changed hands several times. In 1925, when Reza Shah established the
Pahlavi dynasty in Tehran, the Persians tightened their control over the region,
which lost its name of Arabistan. Since then, the region has been known as Khuzestan, while the city took the name of Khorramshahr. In the meantime it grew
considerably, due to the discovery of oil in the region in 1908. Khorramshahr
then became a very busy port with facilities for berthing high tonnage ships,
mainly involved in the export of petroleum. Abadan, too, grew significantly during the same period. Described as a small port at the time of the Abbasids, it
is situated on an island bounded by the rivers Arvand Rud and Bahmansir, a
secondary emissary of the Karun. Abadan was no more than a village when the
site was selected by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company for building an oil township
and a refinery, the worlds biggest before World War II. The development of the
oil industry is thus responsible for the importance acquired by these two cities
in the early years of the twentieth century, one built on the foundations of an
ancient urban nucleus and the other newly established. Today, both cities bear
the scars of the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran.
Khorramshahr was and still is structured by its port-based economy mainly
dependent on petroleum, but also import-export activities facilitated by the
navigability of the Karun River. Its population, which was no more than 34,000
in 1991, had risen to 130,000 by 2010. It includes Arabs descended from nomadic
tribes, which traditionally moved from one bank of the Shatt al-Arab to the
other, and Persians who have been living in the area since ancient times or have
come from other parts of Iran to participate in the economic boom associated
with the development of the oil industry. Abadan, since its creation, is a planned

5 km

Abadan

urban societies
city, built by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company as an adjunct to its refinery and
the port linked with it. The city had a population of 100,000 around 1950 and
more than 290,000 in 1976. Though it fell below 85,000 in the early 1990s, it had
reached 230,000 by 2010. Its urban structure reflects the hierarchy of a largely
industrial society. These social inequalities, which were ingrained in the citys
districts from the time of its creation, are reinforced by marked ethnic differences. Despite latent tensions caused by this situation, its cultural diversity and
its fairly high salaries have made Abadan famous all over Iran for its freedom
and tolerance.
The war during the 1980s was accompanied by the brutal occupation of the
Iranian shore by the Iraqi army, fierce battles, and bombing. Houses, factories,
port facilities, and transport services were completely destroyed and the civilian population sought refuge outside the combat zone. More than twenty years
after the end of hostilities, reconstruction is still going on and economic activities remain much below the level that existed in the late 1970s. Although there is
no doubt that the Abadan refinery has partially regained its earlier momentum

and the airport located between the two cities has recovered its activity, traffic
in the ports is still limited. The vast and ambitious project of the Arvand Free
Zone Organization will certainly contribute to the recovery of the two cities. It
proposes to develop the riverbank over an area of 155 km2 on either side of Khorramshahr and Abadan (with the help of foreign capital) by taking advantage
of the existing infrastructure in the two cities. This project proposes to build a
railway line between Khorramshahr and Basra in Iraq and another to connect
this free zone with the ports of Bandar Imam Khomeini and Bandar Mahshahr.
The project also envisages setting up oil-related industries, various factories, and
even developing tourism. However, some have voiced concern that the project
involves tightening government control over the border areas and eventually
evicting the Arabic-speaking population of its villages. Be that as it may, Khorramshahr and Abadan entered a new phase of development that could put an
end to a long period of stagnation that began with the Iraqi attack and continued
because of the regional instability caused by later conflicts and the persistent
uncertainty in the Gulf.

KHORRAMSHAHR

ABADAN
N

Destroyed historical
city center

Ar

Oil city

Oil city

Urban area

Urban area

Recent expansion

Airport

va

Ka r u
nd

1 km

Ru

n Ri

City center

Bahma

nsir

ver
Oil area
Industrial area
Agricultural area

Arvand

1 km
Oil storage
facility

Refinery

Refinery
expansion

Rud
Agricultural area

105

Integration of Metropolitan Areas

Since the first decade of the twenty-first century, it is possible to see along the
Arabo-Persian Gulf an emerging megalopolis like those that exist in many parts
of the world. Such territories, some of which have already acquired a definitive structure while others have not, are extensive, highly urbanized areas that
include a network of metropolitan cities as well as small and medium-sized
towns, agricultural areas, and tourist destinations. These are areas where political, economic, and financial power are concentrated, where the head offices of
large corporations and media houses that influence public opinion are located,
together with major universities and research centres, and where the latest
fashions in clothes and music are launched. Organized by one or two very
large cities, these megalopolises are the products of globalization and are the
expression of a new cosmopolitanism even as they retain the main character of
the cultural area in which they are embedded and in which they appear to be
the centre.
The megalopolis that is emerging along the Gulf coast is made of a discontinuous territory. It consists of a series of densely populated areas built on sandy terrain along the coast, and large tracts of desert crossed by highways and oil and
gas pipelines. It constitutes a spatial archipelago whose elements are connected
by flow of people, goods, and capital and also by economic agreements and a
strategic alliance in the form of the Gulf Cooperation Council. This territory is
being developed across powerful economic networks that bring together the cities and ports extending from Kuwait to North Oman. It also includes agricultural
or urbanized oases in the desert and in the foothills. It maintains an ambivalent
relationship with the Iranian coast. It conforms to the megalopolis model because
of the strong complementarities between the chain of coastal cities interspersed
with oil and gas deposits, many of them offshore, oil terminals, industrial zones,
and military bases. The arid environment and geopolitical tensions make this
megalopolis quite unique.
The nucleus of this vast metropolitan system is situated in the eastern region
with Dubai as the economic hub, closely associated with Abu Dhabi, the capital
of the Federation of the United Arab Emirates and also, because of its enormous
oil resources, the capital of the wealthiest emirate. Ambitious plans to expand

106

these two cities and grandiose infrastructure projects on the federal scale have
led to the emergence of a powerful, polycentric coastal urban expanse with
three international airports and several seaports closely connected with other
large cities in the region, which now count among the globes major cities. Paradoxically, this metropolitan dynamic gained strength during the real estate
and banking crisis that struck Dubai in 2009, when Abu Dhabi took charge of
a part of Dubais assets, thereby increasing its influence not only within the
Federation but also in the entire megalopolis. An inland city with a population of 500,000, the al-Ain oasis is also a part of this metropolitan area. Serving
simultaneously as residential, touristic, and agricultural areas, many oases are
connected by good roads to the coastal cities, supplying them with fresh fruits
and vegetables. They have also become attractive weekend destinations for the
residents of the large coastal cities. In addition, several ports and industrial cities like Bandar Abbas on the Iranian coast (located only a few hundred kilometres from Abu Dhabi and Dubai) are growing at a rapid pace. Although they lie
outside the megalopolitan system, they share the dynamics that are driving the
other coastal developments. Defying the embargo imposed by western powers,
there is considerable trade, though mostly illicit, between the opposite shores of
the Gulf.
Further west, another group of cities are less powerful and less connected
with the other elements of the emerging megalopolis. This group includes the
Saudi Arabian cities of al-Jubail and Dammam, where there is a concentration
of oil-related activities. Then there is Manama, the capital of Bahrain, where
the financial sector is dominant, followed by Doha, the capital of Qatar, which
has been growing rapidly over the last few years following the exploitation of its
enormous gas deposits. In the interior, the role the Saudi oasis of al-Ahsa plays
in its adjoining urban areas is similar to that of al-Ain. The portion of this area
belonging to Saudi Arabia is evidently under the influence of Riyadh, with which
it has a lot of exchanges. Although it is not part of the megalopolitan system,
the royal Saudi capital wields considerable influence on the regions dynamic.
No decision is taken in the coastal cities without taking into account Riyadhs
view on the subject and nothing happens without Riyadh showing an interest.

urban societies
THE EMERGENCE OF A COASTAL MEGALOPOLITAN SYSTEM

Mountain
Desert
Gulf

Area under urban influence

Agglomeration belonging to
the megalopolitan system

Stong decisional
capacity

Area of oil production

Urban oasis inside the


megalopolitan system

Decisional
capacity

Irrigated agricultural area

Agglomeration outside the


megalopolitan system

Even though it is located about a thousand kilometres from the Gulf coast and separated from it by the
Zagros Mountains, Tehran to some extent exerts a
similar influence. As Irans capital, Tehrans imprint
is seen on the economic and military strategies of
the Iranian coast. And though Iran is considered an
enemy state, there is a flourishing trade with it across
the Gulf, and this influences the policies adopted on
the opposite shore.

Strong ties

Permeability

Weak ties

Impermeability

the building of this megalopolis. Though located in


the neighborhood and despite their oil wealth, the
economies of Basra in Iraq and Khorramshahr and
Abadan in Iran have not yet fully recovered from the
destruction wreaked by the war, while the borders
between the three states have not become the kind
of trading centres that they could be in the future,
which would make them a part of the megalopolitan
dynamics.
At the other end of the emerging megalopolis,
beyond the Strait of Hormuz, the cities of the Gulf
of Oman have not yet acquired enough strength
to occupy an important place in this system. However, the development of the Indian Ocean coast,
whose ports benefit from not having to cross the
Strait of Hormuz, is significant and its trade links
with the urban areas of the emirates are becoming stronger. On the other hand, the oases on the
inland foothills of the mountains bordering the
coast, including Nizwa, the former capital of an
independent mountainous state, have been affected
by the exodus of their inhabitants to the coastal cities, despite measures to develop the area and they
remain relatively unaffected by the dynamics experienced in the Gulf.

Main exchanges

The influence of Tehran is also notable at the


north-western end of the megalopolitan system.
Similarly, the Iraqi military-political dynamic, in
which Baghdad plays a determining role, has repercussions in Kuwait. The relative isolation of Kuwait,
the capital of a rich oil emirate, is the result of persistent political tensions in this part of the Gulf, which
has been through three wars in thirty years. In fact,
Kuwait does not participate as much as it should in

107

Conclusion

The Gulf, an expanse of shallow salty water surrounded by the desert or narrow coastal plains at the foot of mountain ranges (the Hajar Mountains of
Oman and the Zagros Mountains of Iran), has been a space for movements
and since antiquity. The discovery and exploitation of oil in the first decades
of the twentieth century transformed it into a critically important area for the
great powers and a wealthy region at the global level. There are strong differences between the regions states, mainly former official British protectorates
like Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the Trucial States, or informal ones like Oman
and Muscat. These differences are a result of their oil histories, decreasing from
north to south, and the volume of their production and reserves, together with
the pre-existence of a diversified economic base due to the availability of more
ample water resources, as in the case of Iraq, Iran, and Oman. Open to reforms
(Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi) or having little choice given the scarcity (Dubai and
Sharjah) or exhaustion (Bahrain) of a non-renewable resource, the respective
authorities are working to diversify the economy. Consequently, since the 1990s
there has been a remarkable transformation in this region, which has served as
an interface throughout history. Located in a part of the world that has been a
bridge between Africa and Asia, between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, acting as trading centres linking the Middle East to the rest of the
world and an area of transit between the West and the East, the cities on these
coveted coasts are now emerging as important players in the regional and global
stage. On the Arabian coast, these cities are being built with external resources:
migrant workers from Arab countries, South and Southeast Asia; technology
imported from the West; town-planning models inspired by North America;
and public policies that increasingly assimilate global norms prescribed by UN
agencies. On the Iranian coast, the port cities on the periphery of the national
territory attract people from the countrys central regions, and differ from the
rest of the country because they have been historically more open to the sea
than turned towards the inland plateau, and due to their continual interaction
with the opposite shore.
The maps and graphics in this atlas reveal that the rapid advance towards
modernity of these societies still bears the imprint of both the tribal organization
and Islam. Their distinctive characteristics are shaped by an economy based on

108

the complementarity between the sea, the desert, and, in some cases, mountains with more abundant water resources. These societies combined trading
activities in a series of small ports with traditional agriculture based on careful
irrigation practices in oases isolated in the desert, scattered along the coast, or
located on the foothills of the mountains, and with a Bedouin culture characterized by nomadic pastoralism and caravan trade. The use of new techniques
helps to keep alive a past rich in original solutions, while elements of traditional
life like dromedaries, dhows, and falcons have been imbued with a symbolic
value, and vernacular knowledge and practices acquired the status of intangible heritage. Some oases are revitalized by new farming systems and some
ports by the establishment of commercial and industrial free zones. Islamic
banking institutions and products have been created in order to conform to
religious prescriptions regarding financial ethics. By going beyond the oil rent
economic model and diversifying their activities, the regions societies have
become part of a new dynamic that heralds change. Thus, even though they
do not have industrial traditions, some states have become top-ranking producers of chemical fertilizers, plastics, and aluminium. Trade has been revolutionized by the construction of deep-water ports able to handle the latest
generation of container ships. Dubai has become one of the worlds largest
ports, while the region as a whole has become a major hub for the movement
of goods between Asia and the West. Some of the regions airports, like Dubai
and Doha, have become indispensable hubs for long-haul flights, while some
airlines like Emirates and Etihad have acquired an enviable reputation in the
global market. Finally, thanks to a wide range of hotels, not limited to prestigious iconic five-star establishments, and its communication policy, Dubai
ranks among the most visited destinations of the Arab world, hosting as many
tourists as Morocco and Tunisia. In other cities, heavy investments have been,
or are being made to increase the number of hotel rooms in order to develop
tourism by offering a wide range of tourism products and to host large-scale
sports and cultural events that receive wide media coverage. Abu Dhabi is a
perfect example of this endeavour, building a cultural district with the backing
of the worlds leading museums, offering beaches, organising discovery tours by
canoe in the mangroves, and having constructed a motor-racing circuit to host

conclusion
the Formula-1 Grand Prix. The development models followed by the Gulf States
appear original, and include, paradoxically, the anti-western Islamic Republic
of Iran and the ultra-conservative, yet pro-western Saudi Arabia. Quite surprisingly, the growth of the regions most liberal countries seems, on many counts,
to prefigure the worlds future. On one hand, people throughout the world live
in ever increasing numbers in large cities. Now societies in the Gulf, where the
highest rates of urbanization in the world are observed, are basically urban. City
centres are filled with high-rise buildings, and peripheral districts are sprawling along the coastal highways and roads across the desert. On the other hand,
the environment and sustainability are core issues today. Because of the vulnerability of their arid ecosystems, societies in the Gulf maintain a strong relationship with nature, even though this nature, anthropized for thousands of
years and today strongly artificial, is now threatened by rapid changes in the
economy and lifestyles. Cities built on fragile coasts or on desert sands are now
obliged to look for solutions to ecological problems, particularly in the areas of
water management, carbon emissions, and waste disposal. They have recently
adopted sustainable development strategies based on energy transition: use of
solar and wind energy, development of public transport, and climate-friendly
architecture. Though these strategies may not always be effective and may often
be restricted to debates and discussions, they reflect, nevertheless, the keen
desire of the Gulf States to ensure their future survival. Finally, in a more general
context marked by drastic changes in the social system, these societies manifest
all the trends that accompany the phenomenon of globalization the world over:
the assertion of multiculturalism, widening inequalities, and a certain type of
authoritarianism.
The societies in the Gulf are essentially multicultural, given the massive and
multifaceted migrations that have been taking place over the years. During the
last decades, most of the regions cities have recorded an extraordinary increase
in population. Such growth is linked to the influx of migrants from other regions
and hence of different ethno-linguistic groups on the Iranian coast. On the Arabian coast, the population has exploded, due to the influx of foreigners, the only
exception being Iraq, and this because of its turbulent history during the last
thirty years. Today, these foreigners comprise a large portion of the population,
at times even a majority, and constitute entire communities that coexist and specialize in particular occupations according to their nationality, religious group
or region of origin. In most of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, English is
fast becoming the lingua franca in offices, shops, and transport, though people
speak their ownlanguage at home and socialize with people from the same geographical area. There are marked differences in the income and status of various
groups. The Gulf societies are therefore highly inequitable. They are organized,

like all other societies, in a hierarchy of social strata determined by wealth and
standard of living. The lifestyle of wealthy local families, rich entrepreneurs,
and foreign experts is antipodal to that of construction workers and domestic
help. But this glaring contrast, which strikes travellers on a short visit, should
not diminish the importance of the middle classes that include not only immigrants, but also a part of the local population. Similarly, ill treatment of labourers and excesses committed by dishonest employers or the tragic experiences
of exploited immigrants should not divert our attention from the opportunities
to move up the social scale. Among the local population, there is a hierarchy of
prestige that overrides economic differences, as a persons status is determined
by his tribal or geographical origins, leading to divisions and even antagonism
between groups on account of old feuds.
The diversity of their place in the society illustrates the complexity of the status accorded to women, their dress being the most visible sign. With the exception of Iran and Saudi Arabia, women in black abayas mingle freely with South
Asian women in colorful clothes, as well as a variety of women in western outfits
in many cities of the Gulf. Yet overall, womens lifestyles and status differ drastically according to their social and geographical origin and their family background. In the absence of gender studies based on in-depth research, it is not
possible to classify them. Concealed behind veils, women in the Gulf frequently
visit malls with their family and friends, when they are not confined behind the
walls of their houses. But among those who are educated, and this number is
rapidly increasing, many show enough determination to take up employment,
become career women, and bring about a change in society. Western women,
when they decide to take up employment, hold skilled jobs. The wives of middlelevel Arab and Asian executives stay at home or work in offices and shops that
also employ foreign women who have come to the Gulf on their own. Women
immigrants from the poorer Asian countries work as domestic help or cleaners.
Finally, societies in the Gulf are characterized by authoritarianism, which is
now spreading to many societies all over the world. More than anywhere else,
these societies exercise a strict control over the population through electronic
surveillance systems that utilize sophisticated technology. On the Iranian shore,
protest movements against the government are not tolerated. The Arabian coast
is ruled by monarchies, which do not yet allow a large place for modern representative systems of government, nor for the full expression of an organized civil
society. These Arab monarchies still retain traditional methods of consultation
(shura) and consensus (ijma), in addition to direct access to authority through
the majlis, where sheikhs hear complaints and requests. Although the fundaments of existing institutions, the ruling dynasties and religious values, cannot
be questioned, rapid social changes are nevertheless openly debated and aired by

109

the media. Foreigners are mostly allowed to follow their own lifestyles and practice their religion in appropriate places of worship such as Christian churches
and Hindu temples. But rules pertaining to this freedom vary from country to
country and place to place.
Despite historical and geopolitical divergences between the two shores of the
Gulf, they have maintained trade relations over the centuries and are generally
driven by interrelated interests. Urban dynamics triggered by the petroleum
industry and globalization are similar, although their pace and intensity may not
be the same on account of differences in their economic policies. While Abadan
and Khorramshahr, like Basra in Iraq, are slowly overcoming the ravages of war,
Bushehr and Bandar Abbas have recorded a significant demographic and spatial
growth, while on the islands of Kish and Qeshm, like in the port of Shah Bahar,
free zones have been established, as well as in the coastal area near the huge
offshore gas deposits of South Pars. This peripheral area reveals all the contradictions of a regime that advocates economic self-sufficiency but at the same time
provides loopholes to bypass its own laws in order to participate in globalization, while a flourishing sea trade with the ports on the Arabian coast, particularly Dubai, makes it possible to get round the embargo imposed on Iran.

110

On the Arabian coast, urban management, sustainable development, multiculturalism, marked social contrasts, and security are issues of crucial importance
for the future. Thanks to their revenues from oil and gas and the diversification of
their economies, these cities involved in a collective dynamic based on complementarity and competition. Such a dynamic led to the emergence of a multipolar metropolitan structure, a megalopolis in the midst of the desert that is likely
to become the centre of the Arab world and play a leading role in the global
economy. To ensure this central place, these societies are obliged to pursue the
innovation process they have started to adopt. They must ensure that their multiculturalism gives rise to new initiatives, that their hierarchical structure permits social advancement, and that their authoritarianism, touted as a guarantee
of peace and security, upholds the human rights of their people. At a time when
the people of the Arab world are demanding more freedom and development,
the progress towards greater modernity and the pursuit of regional integration
are indispensable conditions for building an effective and dynamic megalopolitan structure. The regions future is, however, uncertain because of the geopolitical and geostrategic conditions prevailing in the region and in the world.

Bibliography

ABBAS Abdelkarim (ed.), 1999, Change and development in the Gulf, New York,
St. Martins Press.
ADHAM Khaled, 2008, Rediscovering the Island: Dohas Urbanity from Pearls to
Spectacle, in Y. Elsheshtawy (ed.), The Evolving Arab City. Tradition, Modernity
and Urban Development, London and New York, Routledge, pp. 218257.
AL FAHIM Mohammed, 1995, From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi, London,
I.B. Tauris.
Al Qasimi Sultan bin Mohammed, 1996, The Gulf in Historic Maps (14931931),
Leicester, Thinkprint.
, 1999, The Gulf in Historic Maps (14781861), Leicester, Streamline Press.
AL-RASHEED Madawi, 2005, Transnational connections and the Arab Gulf,
London and New York, Routledge.
AL-SABAH Salem al-Jabir, 1983, Les Emirats du Golfe: histoire dun peuple, Paris,
Fayard.
Anaz Ghanim, 2012, Iraq: Oil and Gas Industry in the 20th Century, Nottingham,
Nottingham University Press.
Ashrafpour Ashraf, 2012, Persian Gulf, Geo-Politics and Wars, New Delhi, Kaveri
Books.
Bazoobandi Sara, 2012, Political Economy of the Gulf Sovereign Wealth Funds: A
Case Study of Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, London and New York,
Routledge.
BAUQUIS Pierre-Ren, Bauquis Emmanuelle, 2004, Ptrole & gaz naturel. Comprendre lavenir, Strasbourg, Hirl.
BENOIST-MECHIN Jacques, 1991, Ibn Soud ou la naissance dun royaume, Bruxelles, Editions Complexe.
BERREBY Jean-Jacques, 1959, Le golfe Persique. Mer de lgende, rservoir de ptrole.
Iran.-Irak., Arabie Soudite, Koweit, Bahrein, Qatar, Cte des pirates, Mascate et
Oman, Paris, Payot.
BIGARD Jean-Pierre, HOURCADE Bernard, RICHARD Yann, 1996, LIran au
XXme sicle, Paris, Fayard.
BONNENFANT Paul (Ed.), 1982, La Pninsule arabique daujourdhui, 2 vol, Paris,
C.N.R.S.
Boy de La Tour Xavier, 2004, Le ptrole au-del du mythe, Paris, Technip.

BRADFER Alain, DALLET Jean-Dominique, 2010, Les Emirats arabes unis,


lavenir en face, Courbevoie, ACR Edition.
BRUSL Tristan, 2010, Whos in a labour camp? A Socio-economic Analysis
of Nepalese Migrants in Qatar, European Bulletin of Himalayan Research,
n3536, pp. 154170.
CADNE Philippe, 2008, Socit de la connaissance et politiques de dveloppement aux mirats arabes unis, Maghreb-Machreck, n 195, p. 2136.
, 2010, Chine et pays du Conseil de Coopration du Golfe : le dveloppement de relations multiformes, Monde Chinois, n 23, p. 1118.
, 2012, Croissance urbaine, migrations et diversification sociale dans le
golfe Arabo-persique, Espace, populations, socits, 2012/1.
CADNE Philippe, DUMORTIER Brigitte, 2009, Les pays du Conseil de coopration du Golfe: nouvelles tendances migratoires, nouvelles politiques?
Maghreb-Machreck, n 199, p. 101120.
COLLECTIF, 2010, Les tats du Golfe, Prosprit et inscurit, Paris, La Documentation franaise, Questions internationales, n 46.
Couto Dejanirah, Bacqu-Grammont Jean-Louis, Taleghani Mahmoud
(eds), 2007, Atlas historique du golfe Persique (XVIeXVIIIe sicles)/ Historical
Atlas of the Persian Gulf (Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries), Turnhout, Brepols
(trilingual English, French and Persian).
CRYSTAL Jill, 1995, Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait
and Qatar, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, Middle East Library.
DA LAGE Olivier, 1999, Gopolitique de lArabie Saoudite, Bruxelles, Editions
Complexe.
DAVIDSON Christopher, 2005, The United Arab Emirates: A Study in Survival,
Boulder, Colorado, Lynne Rienner Press.
, 2008, Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success, New York, Columbia University
Press.
, 2009, Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond, New York, Columbia University Press.
, 2010, The Persian Gulf and Pacific Asia: From Indifference to Interdependence, New York, Columbia University Press.
, 2011, Power and Politics in the Persian Gulf Monarchies, London, C. Hurst
& Co.

111

DAVIDSON Christopher & Mackenzie-Smith Peter, 2008, Higher Education in


the Gulf: Building Economies, Politics and Cultures, London, Saqi Books.
DAVIS Michael, 2006, Fear and Money in Dubai, New Left Review, 27, n 5,
pp.4758.
DIGARD Jean-Pierre, HOURCADE Bernard, RICHARD Yann, 1996, LIran au
XXe sicle, Paris, Fayard.
DUMORTIER Brigitte, 1997, Gographie de lOrient arabe, Paris, A. Colin, Collection U.
(ed.), 2008, Mondialisation et socit de la connaissance aux Emirats arabes
unis, Paris, Editions Choiseul.
, 2008, Les mirats arabes unis: ptrole et socit de la connaissance,
Maghreb-Machrek, n 195, p. 4156.
DUMORTIER Brigitte, LAMBERT Laurent, 2007, Vers la privatisation dun
double secteur stratgique: leau et llectricit aux Emirats Arabes Unis,
Maghreb-Machreck, n 191, p. 109126.
DUMORTIER Brigitte, LAVERGNE Marc, 2000, Dubai, von der Wstenstadt zur
Stadt in der Wste, Geographische Rundschau, vol. 52, n 9, p. 4651.
, 2002, LOman contemporain : Etat, territoire, identit, Paris, Karthala.
Ehteshami Anoushirvan, Wright Steven, 2012, Reform in the Middle East Oil
Monarchies, London, Ithaca Press.
ELSHESTAWY Yasser, 2004, Redrawing boundaries: Dubai, an emerging global
city, in Y. Elsheshtawy (ed.), Planning Middle Eastern Cities. An urban kaleidoscope in a globalizing world, London and New York, Routledge.
, 2010, Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle, Oxfordshire/New York, R
outledge.
EMBABI N. S., 1993, The National Atlas of the United Arab Emirates, Al An, UAE
University.
FACEY William, 2001, The Story of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, London,
Stacey International Publishers.
FIELD Michael, The Merchants, 1984, The Big Business Families of Arabia, London, John Murray.
FOUGEROUSE Maurice, 1984, Bahren, un exemple dconomie post-ptrolire au
Moyen-Orient, Paris, Ed. LInstant durable.
FOURMONT-DAINVILLE, Guillaume, Gopolitique de lArabie Saoudite: la guerre
intrieure, Paris, Ellipses, 2005.
FOX John W., Al-MUTAWA Mohammed, MOURTADA-SABBA Nada, 2006, Globalism and the Gulf, London-New York, Routledge.
FROMHERZ Allen James, 2012, Qatar: A modern history, London, I.B. Tauris.
Fuccaro Nelida, 2009, Histories of City and State in the Persian Gulf: Manama
since 1800, Cambridge University Press.

112

GARDNER Andrew, 2010, City of Strangers: Gulf Migration and the Indian Community in Bahrain, New York, ILR Press.
GAUSE Gregory, 1994, Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the
Arab Gulf States, New York, Council on Foreign Relations Press.
GHUBASH Hussein, 1998, Oman : une dmocratie islamique millnaire. La tradition de limma : lhistoire politique moderne (15001970), Paris, Maisonneuve
& Larose.
GIBERT Bastien, MARAUT Axel, TELLE Benjamin, 2005, Enjeux et perspectives
pour les Emirats arabes unis. Et aprs le ptrole?, Paris, LHarmattan, Coll.
Entreprises et Management.
GRAZ Liesl, 1990, Le Golfe des turbulences, Paris, LHarmattan, Coll. Comprendre
le Moyen-Orient.
HEARD-BEY Frauke, 1999, Les Emirats arabes unis, Paris, Karthala.
, 2005, From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Motivate
Publishing.
, 2005, The United Arab Emirates: Statehood and Nation-Building in a
Traditional Society, Middle East Journal, 59, n 3, pp. 357375.
HELD David, Ulrichsen Kristian (eds), 2011, The Transformation of the Gulf:
Politics, Economics and the Global Order, London and New York, Routledge.
HERTOG Steffen, 2010, Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in
Saudi Arabia, London, New York, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.
Hvidt Martin, 2011, Economic and Institutional Reforms in the Arab Gulf Countries, Middle East Journal , Vol. 65, n 1, pp. 85102.
, 2009, The Dubai Model: An Outline of Key Development-Process Elements
in Dubai, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 41, n 3, pp. 397 418.
, 2007, Public-private ties and their contribution to development: the case
of Dubai, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 43, n 4, pp. 557577.
HOURCADE Bernard, 2002, Iran Nouvelles identits dune rpublique, Paris, Belin,
Asie Plurielle.
Ibrahim Badr El Din, 2012, Economic Co-Operation in the Gulf: Issues in the Economies of the Arab Gulf Co-Operation Council States, New York, Routledge.
ISHOW Habib, 1989, Le Kowet : Evolution politique, conomique et sociale, Paris,
LHarmattan.
JEANDET Nol, 1993, Un golfe pour trois rves: le triangle de crise: Iran, Irak, Arabie: rflexions gostratgiques sur un quart de sicle de rapports de forces, Paris,
LHarmattan, Coll. Comprendre le Moyen-Orient.
JEGOU Monique, 1982, Les Emirats Arabes Unis, Paris, Albin Michel.
KAPISZEWSKI Andrzej, 2001, National and Expatriates. Population and Labour
Dilemmas of the GCC States, Reading, Ithaca Press.

bibliography
KECHICHIAN Joseph (ed.), 2000, A Century in Thirty Years. Shayk Zayed and the
United Arab Emirates, Washington, Middle East Policy Council.
KRANE Jim, 2009, City of Gold, Dubai and the dream of capitalism, New York,
St. Martins Press.
KOOLHAAS Rem et al. (ed), 2010, Al Manakh Gulf Continued, Abu Dhabi, AMO
ArchisPink TankNAI.
LACROIX Stphane, 2010, Les islamistes saoudiens, une insurrection manque,
Paris, PUF.
LADIER-FOULADI Marie, 2009, Iran : un monde de paradoxes, Nantes,
LAtlante.
LAHOUD-TATAR Carine, 2011, Islam et politique au Kowet, Paris, PUF.
Legrenzi Matteo, 2011, The GCC and the International Relations of the Gulf:
Diplomacy, Security and Economic Coordination in a Changing Middle East,
London, I.B. Tauris.
Legrenzi Matteo, Momani Bessma (eds), 2011, Shifting Geo-Economic Power of
the Gulf: Oil, Finance and Institutions, Surrey, Ashgate Publishers.
LEVEAU Rmy, CHARILLON Frdric (eds.), 2005, Monarchies du Golfe : les
micro-tats de la pninsule Arabique, Paris, La Documentation franaise.
Lestrange de Cdric, Paillard Christophe-Alexandre, Zelenko Pierre,
2005, Gopolitique du ptrole. Un nouveau march. De nouveaux risques. Des
nouveaux mondes, Paris, Technip.
LOUR Laurence, 2008, Chiisme et politique au Moyen-Orient Iran, Irak, Liban,
monarchies du Golfe, Paris, Autrement.
, 2008, Transnational Shia Politics. Political and Religious Networks in the
Gulf, London, London, C. Hurst & Co /New York, Columbia University Press.
LUIZARD Pierre-Jean, 2009, Comment est n lIrak moderne ?, Paris, CNRS.
Luomi Mari, 2012, The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change: Abu Dhabi and
Qatar in an Era of Natural Unsustainability (Power and Politics in the Gulf),
London, C. Hurst & Co.
MARCHAL Roland (ed.), 2001, Duba, cit globale, Paris, CNRS dition, Coll.
Espaces et milieux.
MENORET Pascal, 2003, Lnigme saoudienne : les Saoudiens et le Monde 1744
2003, Paris, Ed. La Dcouverte.
, 2007, Arabie saoudite : un dbut de rgne crpusculaire, Paris, Ramss/IFRIDunod.
, 2010, LArabie, des routes de lencens lre du ptrole, Paris, Gallimard
Dcouvertes.
MOGHADAM Amin, 2009, Lautre rive : les Iraniens aux mirats arabes unis,
entre visibilit et invisibilit, Maghreb-Machreck, n 201, p. 7992.
MOHAMMAD-REZA Djalili, 2005, Gopolitique de lIran, Brussels, Eds. Complexe, coll. Gopolitique des Etats du monde.

NADEYA Sayed Ali, 2003, Population and development of the Arab gulf states: the
case of Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait, Farnham, Ashgate.
NIBLOCK Tim, 1980, Social and Economic Development in the Arab Gulf, London,
Croom Helm.
NIBLOCK Tim, WILSON Rodney (eds), 1999, The political economy of the Middle
East (6 vol.), Cheltenham and Northampton, Edward Elgar.
NONNEMAN Gerd, AARTS PAUL (eds), 2005, Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs, New York, New York University Press.
OSULLIVAN Edmund, 2008, The new Gulf, How modern Arabia is changing the
World for good, Dubai, Motivate Publishing.
OTAIBA Mana Saeed, 1977, Petroleum and economy of the United Arab Emirates,
London, Croom Helm Edition.
OUIS Pernilla, 2002, Power, Person and Place: Tradition, Modernity and Environnment in the United Arab Emirates, Lund, Lund University Press.
OWEN Roger, SAID ZAHLAN Rosemarie, 1998, The Making of the Modern Gulf
States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, London,
Ithaca Press.
PETERSON John, 1988, The Arab Gulf States: Steps Toward Political Participation,
New York, Praeger.
POTTER Lawrence (ed.),2009, The Persian Gulf in History, Basingstoke, Palgrave
Macmillan.
POTTS Daniel, 1990, The Arabian Gulf in Antiquity, Vol. 1. From prehistory to the
fall of the Achaemenid empire; Vol. 2. From Alexander the Great to the coming
of Islam, Oxford, Clarendon Press.
RAMADY Mohamed, 2010, The Saudi Arabian Economy, Policies, Achievement
and Challenges, Heidelberg, Springer (first edition 2005).
(ed.), 2012, The GCC Economies: Stepping Up To Future Challenges, Heidelberg, Springer.
Ramakrishnan A. K. (ed.), 2012, Society & Change in the Contemporary Gulf,
New Dehli, New Century Publication.
RIGOULET-ROZE David, 2005, Gopolitique de lArabie saoudite, Paris, Armand
Colin.
Rivlin Paul, 2010, Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond, Middle Eastern Studies,
46, n 2, pp. 320322.
ROUX Jean-Paul, 2006, Histoire de lIran et des Iraniens. Des origines nos jours,
Paris, Fayard.
Said Zahlan Rosemarie, 1978, The Origins of the United Arab Emirates. A Political and Social History of the Trucial States, New York, Macmillan.
, 1979, The Creation of Qatar, London, Routledge.
SAMPLER Jeffrey, EIGNER Saeb, 2008, Sand to silicone. Going global, Rapid
Growth Lessons from Dubai, Dubai, Motivate Publishing.
113

SHAH Nasra, 2004, Gender and Labour Migration to the Gulf Countries, Feminist
Review, n 77, pp. 183185.
SCHMID Heiko, Economy of Fascination, Dubai and Las Vegas as Themed Urban
Landscapes, Berlin, Gebrder Borntraeger.
SCHOLZ Fred, 1985, Die kleinen Golfstaaten: Reichtum und Unterentwicklung, ein
Widerspruch ?, Stuttgart, E. Klett.
SCOTT COOPER Andrew, 2011, The Oil Kings: How the US, Iran, and Saudi Arabia
Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East, New York, Simon & Schuster.
Seznec Jean-Francois, KIRK Mimi (eds.), 2010, Industrialization in the Gulf: A
Socioeconomic Revolution, London, Routledge.
SOURNIA Christine, 1992, Femmes des Emirats: portraits dhier et de demain,
Paris, Albin Michel.
Subacchi Paola, Nuggee John, 2008, The Gulf Region: A New Hub of Global
Financial Power, London, Chatham House.
SULTAN Nabil, Weir David, Karake-Shalhoub Zeinab, 2011, The New Postoil Arab Gulf: Managing People and Wealth, London, Saqi Book.
Taleghani Mahmoud (ed.), 2005, Atlas dIran socio-conomique et culturel/
Atlas of Iran: socio-economic and cultural, Thran, Institut de Recherche
Franais en Iran (trilingual English, French and Persian).

114

Thesiger Wilfred, 1995, Arabian Sands, London, Penguin (first edition, London,
Longman, 1959).
, 2008, The Marsh Arabs, London, Penguin (first edition, London, Longman,
1964).
VENIER Philippe, 2009, Stratgies dancrage des immigrs kralais (Inde
du Sud) dans les villes des mirats arabes unis, Maghreb-Machreck, n 199,
p. 121138.
Visser Reidar, 2006, Basra, the Failed Gulf State: Separatism and Nationalism in
Southern Iraq, Berlin, Lit Verlag.
VALERI Marc, 2007, Le Sultanat dOman. Une rvolution en trompe-lil, Paris,
Karthala, Recherches Internationales.
WARNOCK Gabrielle, 1998, mirats arabes unis: une nation maritime, London,
Trident.
WIRTH Eugen, 1988, Dubai. Ein Modernes Stiidtisches Handelsund Dienstleistungszentrum am Arabisch-Persischen Golf, Erlangen, Erlangen Geographische
Arbeiten, n 48.
Zorgbibe Charles, 1991, Gopolitique et histoire du Golfe, Paris, PUF, coll. Que
sais-je?

Index

Abadan, 38, 74, 75, 102, 104, 105, 107, 110


Abbasid (Caliphate), 76, 104
Abqaiq, 59, 87
Abu Dhabi, 10, 16, 20, 26, 27, 33, 38, 39,
40, 41, 43, 45, 46, 49, 51, 62, 64, 65,
66, 67, 71, 92, 93, 96, 97, 106
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, 49
Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity
Company, 100101
Abu al-Khasib, 77
Abu Musa (islands of), 33, 52, 65
Academic City (Dubai), 51
Adliya district, 88
Africa, 1, 31, 72, 108
Africa, Horn of, 1, 9
agriculture, 18, 19, 59, 63, 66, 70, 71, 73,
75, 76, 86, 88, 97, 100, 103, 108
al-Ahmadi, 83
al-Ahsa, 38, 39, 58, 59, 86, 87, 106
al-Ahsa Development Company, 87
Ahvaz, 38, 39, 43, 74
al-Ain, 39, 65, 66, 96, 97, 106
air bases, 85, 92
airports, 6, 40, 59, 71, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90,
92, 103, 105, 106, 108
Ajman, 39, 45, 64, 65, 68, 70, 94, 95
Ajman University of Science and
Technology, 68
ALBA (Aluminium Bahrain), 43
Alcan, 101
Algeria, 28, 31
Algiers Agreement of 1975, 32
Al-Jazeera, 63
Almoayyed Tower, 89

aluminium (industry), 3, 42, 43, 59, 60,


87, 89, 100, 103, 108
Amwaj Islands, 89
Anglo-Persian Oil Company, 24, 104,
105
aquifers, 17, 18, 96
Arabia, Horn of, 9
Arabian coast, 6, 16, 17, 20, 108, 109, 110
Arabian Peninsula, 1, 7, 11, 72, 76
Arabian Sea, 1, 2, 10, 33, 72
Arabistan. See Khuzestan
Arab League, 56
Arabo-Persian Gulf, 1, 2, 6, 68, 69, 70,
71, 72, 73, 106, 108
Arabs, 8, 11, 12, 33, 36, 56, 104
Aramco (Arabian American Oil
Company), 24, 58, 84, 85
archaeological (remains), 1, 8, 10, 92,
96, 103
architecture, 62, 82, 90, 95, 97, 109
al-Areen (project), 89
aridity, 6, 16, 18, 64, 70, 96, 106, 109
Arvand Free Zone Organization, 105
Arvand Rud (P., Shatt al-Arab), 6, 74,
104. See also Shatt al-Arab
Asaluyeh, 75, 103
Asia, 1, 31, 32, 72, 73, 102, 108
Asir, 58
Australians, 37, 43
authoritarianism, 109, 110
al-Ayjah, 101
Baathist ruling party, 77, 80
Bab al-Mandeb, Strait of, 31

Baghdad, 8, 32, 40, 48, 77, 80, 81, 82, 107


Bahmansir River, 104
Bahrain, 2, 8, 12, 14, 20, 26, 27, 33, 40,
42, 44, 46, 49, 52, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64,
84, 88, 89, 106, 108
Bahrain Financial Harbor, 89
Bahrain Monetary Agency, 60
Bahrain World Trade Centre, 89
Baluchis, 33, 75
Baluchistan, 11
Bandar Abbas, 11, 38, 39, 41, 43, 74, 75,
102, 103, 106, 110
Bandar Gumruk, 102
Bandar Imam Khomeini (formerly
Bandar Shapur), 75, 105
Bandar Lengeh, 11, 75
Bandar Mahshahr, 105
Bandar Taheri, 8
Banias (Hindus), 98
Bani Yas tribe, 66
banking, 46, 85, 87
crisis, 3, 47, 106
Islamic, 46, 60, 108
offshore, 46, 60
Basra, 2, 8, 14, 26, 32, 33, 38, 39, 57, 76,
77, 80, 81, 105, 107, 110
Basra University, 51
Bastakiya, 11, 94
al-Batinah, 73, 99, 100
Bayt al-Falaj, 98
beaches, 69, 70, 108
Bedouin (tribes/culture), 14, 18, 58, 62,
65, 83, 86, 92, 104, 108
al-Bida, 90

Bilad al-Qadeem, 88
borders
disputes over, 15, 32, 61, 63, 64, 65
maritime, 57, 62
Braudel, Fernand, 2, 10
bridges, 40, 41, 63, 83, 89, 92
Friendship Bridge, 40
British, 14, 24, 33, 46, 77, 81, 88, 97
Empire, 14, 20
protectorates, 56, 60, 64, 71, 72, 80,
108
British East India Company, 14, 64
British Petroleum, 24
Bubiyan Island, 57, 83
al-Bu Falah (tribe), 66, 92
al-Bu Falasah, 66
Bu Kassab, 104
Bul Hanin, 62
al-Bunduq (oilfield), 62
Buraimi Oasis, 65, 96, 97
Bur Dubai, 94
Burgan oilfield, 56
Burj al-Arab, 94
Burj Khalifa, 94
al-Bu Said (rulers), 14
Bushehr, 14, 38, 74, 75, 99, 110
camels/dromedaries, 9, 18, 87, 96, 108
Canada, 28, 31
Cape of Good Hope, 31
Capital City (Abu Dhabi), 93
cash crops, 19, 69, 71
CASOC (California Arabian Standard
Oil Company), 84
115

Caspian Sea, 8, 41, 44, 75


cement (industry), 42, 43, 62, 87
Central Business District (CBD; Abu
Dhabi), 93
chemical (industry), 42, 89. See also
fertilizers; industry
China, 8, 9, 26, 31, 43
Chinese, 8, 43
Christianity/Christians, 1, 10, 13, 77, 80
cities, 38, 40, 41
coastal, 3, 6, 40, 58, 106, 107
industrial, 62, 74, 84, 90, 106
Coalition, 56, 59, 81
Comorao, 102
construction
projects, 6, 18, 21, 39, 41, 43, 51, 53,
57, 63, 66, 71, 74, 75, 80, 82, 89, 92,
93, 96, 97
sector/industry, 43, 66, 87
workers, 92, 109
container ships, 9, 40, 103, 108. See also
ports
conurbations, 39, 84, 96
coastal, 39, 68, 94
Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman, 70, 94
Cooperation Council for the Arab
States of the Gulf (GCC). See Gulf
Cooperation Council
Corniche, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95
currency, 46, 52, 53
Dalaki River, 74
Dammam, 38, 39, 40, 43, 44, 58, 59, 84,
85, 86, 106
dams, 74
date palm (groves), 18, 19, 59, 70, 86,
97, 100
defence (issues), 14, 52, 65
Deira, 94

116

Deira coastal road, 67


democracy, 32, 57, 65
democratization process, 61
demographics, 53, 56, 62, 65, 110
demonstrations, 2, 52, 61, 101, 109
desalinization plants, 17, 18, 29, 92, 97
desert, 18, 19, 38, 56, 57, 62, 72, 77, 82,
106, 108
Dhahran, 39, 58, 84, 85
Dhaid Oasis, 69
Dhofar (area), 8, 72
dhows, 9, 21, 64, 73, 94, 101, 108
Dibba, 69, 71
Dilmun, 8, 60, 89
diving, 69, 71
Doha, 38, 39, 40, 41, 51, 59, 62, 82, 90,
91, 106
Dubai, 2, 11, 26, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 45,
47, 51, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 75,
92, 93, 94, 95, 100, 102, 103, 106, 108,
110
Dubai International Finance Centre
(DIFC), 67
Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman conurbation.
See conurbations
DUBAL (Dubai Aluminium), 43
Dukhan oilfield, 62
Dutch, 9, 14, 98, 102
East Africa, 98, 101
economic
crises, 3, 20, 47, 74, 77, 81, 105, 107
diversification, 36, 45, 47, 53, 56, 60,
66, 68, 73, 92, 108, 110
growth, 17, 62, 65, 104
hubs, 88, 106
inequalities, 3, 65
integration, 52
policies, 57, 61, 66

special economic zones, 43, 44, 45,


66, 75, 90, 93, 103
economy, 20
of culture, 51
global, 25, 50, 110
post oil strategies, 37
rent-based, 3
traditional, 18, 68, 71, 100, 103
(See also agriculture; fishing)
ecosystem, 6, 71, 109
education, 50, 51, 56, 63, 87
Education City (Qatar), 63
Egypt/Egyptians, 37, 48, 56
electricity, 53, 74. See also power plants
embargo (by the West), 27, 38, 39, 75,
76, 106, 110
emigration, 36
emir (title of), 14, 15, 56, 57
enclaves, 15, 65, 68, 69, 71
energy
consumption, 26, 29, 42
renewable, 66, 93
sector, 1, 50, 62, 66
solar, 109
sources, 31, 93
wind, 91, 109
English, 9, 98, 102. See also British
English (language), 50, 56, 63, 85, 100, 109
ethnicity, 32, 33, 56, 74, 98, 105
ethno-linguistic (groups), 1, 109
Euphrates, 6, 12, 76, 77
Europe, 3, 19, 30, 31, 64
Europeans, 37, 49
European Union, 52, 53
exclave, 64, 72
expatriates, 3, 36, 37, 50, 61, 85, 91, 103
Fahaheel, 83
al-Fahidi fort, 94

Failaka Island, 57, 83


falaj (irrigation channel), 96
al-Fateh Grand Mosque, 89
al-Faw, 77
Federal University (al-Ain), 96
Federation (of the United Arab
Emirates), 40, 45, 49, 64, 65, 67, 69,
70, 71, 92, 96, 106. See also United
Arab Emirates
fertilizer (industry), 42, 56, 60, 108
financial
centres, 60, 67, 80
institutions, 2, 60, 88, 99
markets, 47
rent, 46
sector, 3, 71, 106
fishing, 9, 20, 21, 38, 58, 62, 70, 71, 75,
76, 84, 100, 101, 103
harbors, 68, 102, 103
industry, 73
ports, 75, 88
flora and fauna, 17, 66
food, 18, 19, 20, 21, 59, 103
processing industry, 75, 86, 87
foreign
companies, 61, 62, 75, 89
intervention, 52, 57, 77, 81
labourers, 18, 36, 58, 62, 65, 86, 109
tourists, 49, 88
universities, 42, 50, 51, 69, 87
foreigners, 37, 38, 47, 48, 50, 56, 60, 65,
71, 98, 109, 110
forts, 14, 86, 87, 89, 92, 94
fragmentation, 65, 101
free (trade) zones, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48,
67, 68, 70, 71, 75, 93, 94, 100, 103, 105,
108, 110
French, 14, 33
Fujairah, 64, 68, 69, 70, 71

index
Gateway City, 71
GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), 2, 3,
33, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46, 52, 53, 56, 61, 72,
103, 106, 109
GDP, 3, 49, 56, 62, 63, 65, 66
gender (issues), 65, 109
geopolitics, 3, 15, 47, 56, 68, 76, 106, 110
Germany/Germans, 14, 56
Gerrah, 8
Ghawar, 56, 58, 87
globalization, 3, 100, 106, 109, 110
GOSI Complex, 88
Greater Arab Free Trade Area, 53
Greater Doha Master Plan, 90
Greater Tunb (islands of), 33, 52, 65
Gudaibiya, 88
Gulf, 2, 9, 10, 26, 36, 107. See also
Arabo-Persian Gulf
Arab and Iranian shores contrasted,
41, 44, 74, 106, 107, 108, 110
Gulf War(s), 32, 56, 59, 81
Habshan, 71
Hajar Mountains, 70, 72, 96, 100, 108
hajj (pilgrimage), 48
al-Halul Island, 62
Hamriyah free zone, 45, 94
Harad, 59
harbors, 6, 64, 68, 73, 82, 102, 103
Hawali, 82
Hawar (islands of), 61
healthcare, 56, 57
heritage (sites), 19, 69, 89, 92, 97
highways, 40, 41, 71, 74, 94, 98, 103,
106
Hijaz, 58
Hili, 96
al-Hira, 12
Hofuf, 58, 59, 84, 85, 86

Hoora district, 88
Hormirzad, 102
Hormozgan, 75, 102, 103
Hormuz, Strait of, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 31,
33, 38, 44, 64, 65, 70, 72, 74, 75, 100,
102, 107
al-Hosn fort, 92
hydrocarbons, 24, 28, 30, 42, 62, 75, 87
Ibn Saud, 14, 86
Ibra, 101
Idd al-Shargi, 62
ijma (consensus), 65, 109
immigrants, 37, 82, 83, 88, 90, 97, 98,
109. See also labourers
independence, 1, 56, 61, 62, 64, 65, 71,
82, 90, 92, 97
India, 8, 9, 14, 26, 31, 37, 43, 98
Indian Ocean, 6, 8, 9, 69, 70, 71, 72, 107,
108
Indian Ocean Rim Association for
Regional Cooperation, 72
Indians, 8, 20
Indonesia, 28, 37
industrial
centres, 3, 39, 42, 59, 75, 81, 99, 105
development, 32, 52, 97
plants, 29, 90
sectors, 46, 101
zones, 43, 44, 45, 66, 68, 69, 75, 84,
89, 91, 93, 94, 103, 106, 108
industrialization, 29, 58
industry, 39, 42, 62, 66, 70, 71, 74, 90, 103
inequality, 80, 105, 109
infrastructure, 32, 40, 41, 49, 53, 57, 67,
71, 75, 77, 82, 106
Institute of Technology (Abadan), 51
International Islamic Financial
Market (IIFM), 60

investments, 2, 39, 41, 42, 47, 68, 102, 108


foreign, 43, 44, 57, 61, 71, 103
public, 46, 59
Iran, 1, 2, 3, 13, 25, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 36,
38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 51,
52, 56, 57, 62, 65, 74, 75, 76, 102, 104,
107, 108, 109, 110
coast of, 2, 6, 11, 16, 41, 44, 71, 75, 105,
106, 107, 108, 109
oil, 24, 25, 26, 30
Iranian Revolution. See Islamic
Revolution
Iraq, 1, 2, 24, 25, 27, 29, 30, 32, 36, 38,
40, 46, 48, 56, 57, 74, 76, 77, 80, 82,
83, 102, 104, 105, 107, 109, 110
invasion of Kuwait, 32, 37, 39, 56
US/foreign intervention in, 3, 27, 32,
33, 39, 57
Iraq-Iran War (198088), 27, 38, 56, 74,
75, 76, 80, 102, 104, 105, 107
IRENA (International Renewable
Energy Agency), 66
irrigation, 18, 96, 108
Isfahan, 30, 43
Islam, 11, 12, 13, 52, 108
Islamic Republic of Iran. See Iran
Islamic Revolution (1979), 25, 27, 32,
36, 48, 72, 74
Islamism, 37
Istanbul, 40
al-Jahra, 83
Jask, 75
Jebel Akhdar, 72
Jebel Ali, 9, 43, 45, 67, 71, 93, 94
Jebel al-Qara, 87
Jebel Hafeet, 96
Jebel Shams, 72
Jeddah, 9, 58, 85

Jews/Jewish tribes, 8, 11, 80


al-Jubail, 43, 59, 84, 106
Juffair, 89
Julphar (Ras al-Khaimah), 8, 20, 71
Jumeirah, 94
kafala (sponsorship), 37, 44
Kalba, 69
Karbala, 13, 48
Karun River, 74, 104
Kermanshah, 30
Khafji, 59
al-Khaleej (oilfield), 62
al-Khalifa, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa, 60
Khalifa port, 66
al-Khalij al-Arabi, 2. See also AraboPersian Gulf
Khalij-i Fars, 2
al-Khobar, 39, 58, 84, 85
khor (creek), 6, 94, 95
al-Khor, 63
Khor al-Amaya, 77
Khor al-Zubair, 44, 77
Khor Fakkan, 14, 69, 71
Khorramshahr, 75, 102, 104, 105, 107, 110
Khuzestan (Arabistan), 32, 74, 104
King Abdul Aziz Port, 85
King Fahd Causeway, 40, 59
King Fahd International Airport, 84
King Faisal University, 85, 87
al-Kiranah, 63
Kirkuk, 26, 77
Kish, 44, 48, 49, 75, 103, 110
Kurdistan, 27, 76
Kuwait, 1, 2, 14, 20, 25, 26, 27, 38, 40, 41,
44, 49, 52, 56, 57, 58, 59, 82, 83, 106,
107, 108
invasion by Iraq, 27, 32, 37, 39, 56,
81, 82

117

Kuwait, Bay of, 83


Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA),
46
Kuwait Stock Exchange, 46
Kuwait University, 51
labourers, 18, 36, 37, 58, 62, 65, 86, 109
lagoons, 6, 94, 101
Lengeh, 75
Lesser Tunb (islands of), 33, 52, 65
livestock, 59, 86
Liwa Oasis, 66, 92
Lorimer, J. G., 20, 62
Lulu Island, 89, 92
Lusail, 91
Madha (oasis), 64, 97
Madinat al-Hareer (City of silk)
project, 83
Magan, 8
Maghreb (the West), 1
majlis (public audiences), 65, 109
Majlis al-Shura (Consultative
Assembly), 99
al-Makhtum family, 66
Malacca, Strait of, 31
Malays, 8
Manama, 38, 39, 40, 59, 60, 68, 70, 88,
89, 106
Mandaeans, 77
mangroves, 6, 69, 88, 108
Maqta Bridge, 92
maritime
borders/boundaries, 15, 29, 65
trade, 3, 8, 9
transportation, 31
Masdar City, 66, 71, 93
Masfut, 68, 70
Mashriq (the East), 1
Master Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, 92

118

Maydan Mahzam, 62
Mecca, 10, 11, 48, 58
Medina, 10, 58
Medina Isa, 89
Medinat al-Shamal (City of the
North), 63
Medinat Sultan Qaboos, 99
Mediterranean Sea, 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 108
megalopolises, 3, 106, 107, 110
Meluba, 8
Mesaieed Industrial City, 62, 91
Mesopotamia, 10, 27, 56, 76
migrants, 36, 37, 49, 50, 56, 58, 92, 108,
109. See also labourers
migration, 37, 72, 109
military bases, 33, 71, 106
Mina al-Fahal, 73, 99
Minab, 75
Mina Khalifa, 93. See also Khalifa port
mineral resources, 70, 71
mines/mining, 43, 68, 87
Misan, 77
modernity, 108, 110
modernization, 63, 68, 80
monarchies, 15, 61, 72, 80, 109
monetary issues, 46. See also currency;
economic
mosques, 13, 82, 86, 87
Mosul, 80
mountains, 2, 6, 18, 49, 58, 68, 69, 70,
71, 72, 74, 98, 100, 107, 108
al-Mualla family, 70
Mubadala (Abu Dhabi public
investment fund), 46
al-Mubarraz, 86
al-Mudainah, 77
Muhammad (prophet), 10, 12
Muhammarah, 104
Muharraq, 43, 60, 88
Muharraq Island, 89

multiculturalism, 36, 109, 110


Musandam Peninsula, 11, 72, 73
Muscat, 11, 14, 20, 38, 39, 73, 96, 98, 100,
101, 108
sultan of, 11, 72, 97
Museum of Islamic Art (Qatar), 51, 63
museums, 48, 49, 66, 67, 69, 87, 88, 93,
94, 95, 97, 98, 108
Muslims, 12, 13
Mussafah (industrial zone), 43, 66,
93
Muttrah port, 98
Nabih Salih Island, 89
Nahwa, 69
al-Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan,
52, 65, 67, 96
al-Nahyan family, 66, 92
Najaf, 13, 48
nationality, 65, 85, 98, 109
nationalization, 24, 25, 46, 62
National Museum (Qatar), 63
nation-state, 14, 64
natural gas, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 42, 62,
66, 73, 91
deposits, 3, 29, 53, 62, 65, 68, 75, 106,
110
liquefaction plants, 30, 73, 77
pipelines, 103, 106
production, 59, 73, 77
terminals, 40, 77, 101
nature reserves, 69, 89, 103
naval bases, 75, 103
Nejd, 58, 77, 86
Nejma, 58
neutral zones, 15, 57, 59
New Eden Project, 76
NGOs, 37, 76
Nizwa, 97, 107
Nizwa, Ibadi Imamate of, 72

nomads/nomadism, 12, 15, 17, 18, 38,


62, 96, 104, 108
North Americans, 37, 49
North Dome (Qatar), 29
Norway, 28, 31
nuclear (power/strategy), 3, 75
OAPEC (Organization of Arab
Petroleum Exporting Countries), 25
oases, 17, 18, 38, 59, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68,
73, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 92, 96, 97, 100,
101, 106, 107, 108
Offshore Banking Units, 45
oil, 24, 27, 32, 38, 57, 73, 76, 77, 80
companies, 3, 24, 25, 77, 84, 85, 97,
100, 104, 105
concessions, 62, 84
consumption, 26, 66
deposits/reserves, 1, 3, 14, 15, 27, 32,
56, 57, 60, 65, 66, 71, 74, 76, 106
exports, 1, 28, 76, 84, 92
industry, 20, 24, 32, 36, 38, 39, 56,
104
post oil strategies, 37
production, 3, 28, 62, 64, 89
rent, 46, 82, 108 (See also economic,
diversification)
revenues, 3, 46, 67, 82, 104
terminals, 40, 103, 106
oilfields, 26, 27, 30, 38, 40, 58, 73, 76
offshore, 58, 62
Oman, Gulf of, 1, 2, 6, 7, 10, 14, 33, 64,
72, 73, 75, 98, 107
Oman, Sea of, 72
Oman, Sultanate of, 1, 2, 8, 11, 14, 16, 20,
21, 25, 26, 27, 29, 38, 43, 49, 52, 53,
62, 64, 65, 68, 69, 72, 73, 96, 97, 98,
100, 101, 102, 108
North Oman, 2, 12, 72, 106
Omani National Oil Company, 100

index
Oman Medical College, 100
OPEC (Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries), 25, 27
Ottoman Empire, 56, 58, 104
Ottomans, 11, 14, 64, 80
Pakistan, 9, 37, 75
Palestinians, 37, 82
pan-Arabism, 1, 32
pan-Islamism, 32
Parsian, 46
Pars Special Economic Energy Zone, 103
Pearl Coast, 64
pearling, 20, 62, 68, 82, 88, 90, 92
Persia, 56, 80, 98, 104. See also Iran
Persian (language), 2
Persian Empire, 10, 11
Persian Gulf, 1, 2, 7, 10, 20, 76
Persians, 8, 12, 33, 60, 98, 102, 104
petrochemical
plants, 3, 30, 103
sector, 42, 77
petrodollars, 46
petroleum, 18, 24, 26, 28, 31, 42, 46, 104.
See also oil sector, 3, 2425, 50, 85,
87, 110
pharmaceutical (industry), 71, 103
pipelines, 31, 33, 59, 71, 75, 77, 106
Pirate Coast, 64
plastics, 42, 87, 108
pollution, 21
polycentrism, 83
population, 2, 38, 39, 104, 105
growth, 21, 38, 62, 65, 90, 96, 100,
101, 109
local, 74, 81, 87, 109
ports, 3, 6, 9, 38, 40, 41, 42, 60, 62, 71,
75, 77, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85, 90, 93, 97,
102, 104, 106, 107, 108
deep-water, 57, 71, 100, 108

Portuguese, 9, 14, 60, 64, 88, 98, 102


power plants, 17, 29, 66, 92, 100. See
also electricity
private ownership, 47
property laws, 47, 53, 61
protest movements. See
demonstrations
Qabus bin Said al-Said, Sultan, 72
Qalat, 73, 101
Qanat al-Qasba, 95
Qarn Bin Saud, 96
Qatar, 2, 14, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 33, 37,
42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 49, 52, 58, 61, 62,
63, 64, 106, 108
Qatar Peninsula, 20, 40, 90
Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, 51
Qatif, 58, 85
Qawassim, 11, 64, 69, 71
Qeshm Island, 11, 41, 44, 75, 103, 110
Qsar Ibrahim, 86
al-Qurnah, 76
Qurum, 99
railways, 41, 59, 71, 74, 86, 93, 103, 105
high-speed lines, 40, 53, 93
rainfall, 6, 16, 70, 71
Ras al-Hadd, 72
Ras al-Khaimah, 8, 43, 45, 49, 64, 68,
70, 71
Ras Laffan, 62
Ras Musandam, 64
Ras Tannurah, 58, 84
Ras al-Zor, 59
al-Rayyan, 62, 90, 91
real estate sector, 3, 47, 57, 66, 67, 71,
106
reconstruction, 57, 74, 77, 82, 105
Red Line and Achnacarry
Agreements, 24

Red Sea, 2, 9, 58, 59


Reem Island, 93
re-export trade, 44, 75, 102
refineries, 30, 56, 60, 73, 84, 99, 104,
105
religion, 1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 52, 108, 110
religious
minorities, 33, 61, 101, 109
sects, 3, 12, 13
tourism, 48
Rentier State, 56
research (and development), 50, 51,
106
rias, 6
Rifa, 89
Riyadh, 12, 30, 46, 58, 84, 86, 106
Rostaq, 100
Rub al-Khali desert, 58, 96
Rumailah, 32, 76, 77, 96
rural exodus, 38, 72, 80
Russia, 27, 29, 31
Russian Federation, 28
Ruwais, 63, 66
Ruwi, 99
al-Sabah, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad, 57
al-Sabah family, 56
al-Sabah Fort, 83
SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries
Corporation), 42
al-Saboor Mosque, 88
Saddam Hussein, 77, 82
Sadiyat Island, 49, 51, 66, 93
Safavid dynasty, 13
Salalah, 9
Salata, 90
Salmiya, 83
Sassanids (224642 AD), 10, 12
Saudi Arabia, 1, 2, 13, 14, 17, 21, 24, 25,
26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 37, 40, 43, 46,

47, 48, 49, 52, 57, 58, 59, 60, 73, 77,
82, 84, 85, 86, 88, 106, 109
Eastern Province (al-Sharqiyah), 2,
33, 58, 86
Saudi Railways Organization, 59
al-Sauds, 58
seafaring, 68, 71, 72
seaports, 106
seas, 18
access to, 56, 57
trade, 64, 80, 101, 110
sebkhas (sandy plains), 6
sedentarization, 18
Seeb, 72, 99
Seef, 89
service sector, 3, 61, 71, 87, 92
Shabahar, 75
Shadadiyah, 83
Shah Bahar, 110
al-Shaheen, 62
Shahid Bahonar port, 103
Shahid Rajaee port, 103
Sharjah, 33, 38, 39, 45, 49, 64, 68, 69,
70, 71, 94, 95, 108
Sharq, 83
al-Sharqiyah, 73, 101. See also Saudi
Arabia
Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud), 6, 32, 74,
76, 77, 80, 102, 104
Shatt al-Basra (Basra canal), 76
Shedgum, 87
sheikhs, 14, 64, 71, 92, 109
Sheikh Zayed Road, 94
Shii, 13, 32, 33, 77
pilgrimages, 48
population, 33, 58, 59, 61, 76, 80
Shinas, 72
Shindagha district, 94
shipbuilding, 68, 73, 103
Shiraz, 74, 103

119

Shiraz University, 51
shopping complexes, 49, 88, 89, 92
shura (consultation), 65, 109
Shuwaikh, 44, 82
Siraf (present Bandar Taheri), 8, 9
Sir Bani Yas Island, 10, 66
Sitrah Island, 43, 44, 88, 89
slaves, 98, 101
smuggling, 20, 44, 73, 97
Sohar, 8, 14, 43, 73, 96, 98, 100, 101
Sohar City Centre, 100
souks, 86, 87, 88, 94, 98
South Asia, 85, 108
labourers from, 37, 56, 86
Southeast Asia, 8, 108
South Oil Company, 77
South Pars, 29, 75, 110
standard of living, 46, 109
Standard Oil, 84
steel industry, 3, 42, 43, 103
Subiya, 83
Suez Canal, 31
sultan (title of), 14
Sunnis, 12, 13, 33, 61, 74, 77, 80
super-tankers, 31
Supreme Council. See Gulf
Cooperation Council
Sur, 8, 73, 100, 101
sustainable development, 49, 109, 110
Tabriz, 30
tankers, 9, 31, 33
al-Taraf, 86

120

Tawam, 96
Tawazun (investment organization),
46
Taweelah, 66
technology, 50, 51, 61, 108
high-tech industries, 43, 51
Tehran, 32, 41, 44, 74, 102, 103, 107
Al-Thani, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad,
63
Thi Qar, 77
Tigris, 6, 10, 76
tourism, 3, 19, 44, 47, 48, 49, 61, 63, 66,
70, 71, 73, 87, 91, 97, 98, 103, 105, 108
Tourism Development Investment
Company, 49
trade, 8, 14, 20, 24, 28, 44, 57, 60, 61, 62,
65, 66, 67, 73, 74, 75, 82, 83, 85, 86,
87, 88, 92, 98, 106, 107, 108, 110. See
also free (trade) zones; smuggling
centres, 3, 20, 58, 60, 71, 77, 80, 83,
84, 86, 98, 102, 107, 108
maritime, 3, 9, 64, 80, 101, 102
traffic, 40, 41, 57, 88
transport, 3, 9, 26, 28, 31, 71
infrastructure/facilities, 40, 59, 76,
91, 105
public, 41, 93, 109
Treaty of Peace in Perpetuity, 64
Trucial States, 14, 64, 71, 108
Tubli Bay, 88
UAE University (al-Ain), 51
Umayyads, 12

Umm Bab, 62
Umm al-Hassam, 88
Umm al-Nar, 92
Umm Qasr, 77
Umm al-Quwain, 45, 64, 70
United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1, 2, 6, 12,
17, 21, 25, 27, 29, 33, 37, 40, 4243, 45,
49, 52, 53, 58, 62, 63, 64, 68, 72, 73,
92, 95, 96, 97
Northern Emirates, 70
United Nations, 37, 82
United States, 3, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 38,
61
intervention in Iraq, 27, 32, 33, 39,
57
universities, 51, 59, 69, 83, 99, 100. See
also education
University of Riyadh, 51
al-Uqair port, 87
urban. See also cities
agglomerations, 39, 58, 61, 75, 80,
82, 88, 89, 91, 94, 100
growth, 38, 39, 43, 80, 83, 84, 92, 98,
106
hierarchy, 39, 105
infrastructure, 41, 81, 82, 95, 110
networks, 77, 100
sprawl, 47, 57, 89
urbanization, 6, 38, 57, 58, 65, 72, 89,
109
Uthmaniyah, 87
vote, right to, 57, 61, 63

Wadi al-Kabir, 99
wadis, 16, 96, 98, 100
al-Wafrah, 90, 91
Wahhabis, 13, 49, 62, 97, 101
Warbah Island, 57
water, 1, 6, 7, 16, 17, 53, 63
groundwater, 16, 17, 18, 60, 73, 86,
96, 97
management of, 17, 19, 76, 109
resources, 38, 62, 71, 76, 97, 108
weapons, 32, 33
wetlands, 76, 81
women, 109
World Trade Centre, 67, 94
World War I, 26, 76
World War II, 26, 56, 80, 104
al-Wusta, 89
Yanbu, 30, 59
Yas Island, 49, 93
Yazd tribes, 12
Yemen, 1, 37, 53, 56, 58, 72
Zagros Mountains, 2, 16, 74, 107, 108
Zayed Mosque, 93
Zinj district, 88
ZonesCorp, 66
Zubair, 76, 77, 80
al-Zubarah, 63