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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:31 GMT
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is located on the southwestern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. To its west is Saudi Arabia and to its east is Oman. Iran is only a few miles north, across the Persian Gulf. With desert in its west and south, dry mountains in its east and the warm waters of the Persian Gulf to the north, the United Arab Emirates' climate is unable to support agriculture beyond small-scale oases and camel herds. The country is divided into three broad regions: the coastal harbors of the Gulf, bounded by the sandy desert of the Rub al-Khali, or Empty Quarter; the interior, where settlements cluster around oases; and the northeast, which is broken up by the Al Hajar Mountains. There are no natural rivers and few timber supplies in the United Arab Emirates, and nearly all the country's drinkable water is trapped beneath oases. In the premodern era, citizens mainly survived off piracy, trade and pearling, and the most powerful settlement was the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah near the Al Hajar Mountains. After the discovery of oil in the 1962, power shifted permanently to the more southern Abu Dhabi, which holds 94 percent of the country's proven oil reserves. These coastal cities are the core of the country. Founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan established the United Arab Emirates — the Arab world's only successful federation — in 1971 and ruled until his death in 2004. At that time, his son and current president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan took over power. The United Arab Emirates seeks to maximize its independence while warding off the influence and control of more powerful regional players Saudi Arabia and Iran. To do this, it has leveraged its energy supply and strategic location to secure alliances with extra-regional powers like the United States. Utilizing its oil receipts, the United Arab Emirates has imported foreign labor from South and East Asia, as well as the Arab world. Combining that labor with global technology, the country has rapidly transformed itself from a desert backwater to a key transport hub, tourist destination and regional military power.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:52 GMT
Peru
Peru
Peru is the third-largest country in South America, located on the west coast of the continent, just south of the equator. The country has three main geographic zones: the Andean highlands, the desert coast and the largely unpopulated Peruvian Amazon. Pre-colonial civilization in Peru was centered on the rugged Andean highlands, where most of Peru's natural riches – including gold, silver and hydrocarbons – are concentrated. The arrival of European colonists and maritime transport focused economic and political activity on the coast, and eventually created the modern state of Peru, with Lima as its capital. This metropolitan area produces more than 50 percent of Peru's gross domestic product (GDP) and is home to a third of the nation's population. With the Andes protecting Peru's coastal core, Peru's biggest external threats have come from the north, the south and the sea. Although Peru has had border disputes with both neighbors Ecuador and Colombia, Peru's main rivalry is with Chile. In the late 1800s, Peru and Chile fought the War of the Pacific. During that war, Chile seized large portions of the Bolivian and Peruvian Atacama Desert using its significantly more powerful navy. But Peru's biggest challenges by far come from its internal security situation. Deep ethno-linguistic divides between European descendants and Aymara, Quechua and other Andean communities are exacerbated by rugged terrain and poor infrastructure. As a result, civil unrest is pervasive and frequently violent. At the same time, Peru is the native home of the coca plant, which brings regional drug trafficking networks deep into the heart of Peru in pursuit of cocaine supplies. In turn, this fuels drug related violence and funds armed rebel groups. Despite these challenges, Peru has seen significant growth in recent years. However its basic geography will give the country an internal focus for the foreseeable future.
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