Mix of nationalities shields UAE from Arab unrest, says police chief

'There are so many nationalities present. We are not afraid,' says Dhahi Khalfan Tamim
Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai police chief
By Reuters
Tue 08 Mar 2011 05:12 PM

The UAE is stable despite a wave of Arab protests that has reached other Gulf Arab countries, and is not considering new initiatives to reinforce security, Dubai's police chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the UAE is stable. There is no fear with regard to security," Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai's police chief and a member of the emirate's Executive Council, said on the sidelines of a conference.

Gulf Arab countries, whose oil wealth has provided a high standard of living compared to the rest of the Arab world, were once thought immune from spreading Arab protests that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and triggered revolt in Libya.

But anti-government protests have now spread to several Gulf countries including Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia although there have been no signs so far of protest in the UAE, which includes business hub Dubai and oil-exporting Abu Dhabi.

"There are so many nationalities present. We are not afraid, and we aren't taking any new initiative to reinforce security," Tamim said.

The UAE, the world's third-largest oil exporter, along with Qatar, the world's top liquefied natural gas exporter, are seen as the Gulf states least vulnerable to the political unrest.

The UAE's local population of around 15 percent of its total estimated five million is dwarfed by a larger number of expatriates in the seven-emirate federation, which has one of the world's highest gross domestic products per capita at over $47,000.

Were there to be discontent in the UAE, analysts say it likely would appear in less developed emirates whose citizens have benefited less from the capital Abu Dhabi's vast oil wealth or trade and property-fuelled development in Dubai.

Earlier this month, state media said the UAE will invest $1.6bn to improve infrastructure in less developed regions of the country.

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