GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Post UAE – Oman Border Dispute: Social and Economic implications
Paper Proposal Text :
Since the formation of the states in Arabian Peninsula, disputes between them have concentrated mainly on borders. Disputes between UAE and Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain…etc. occupied significant place in determining the relationship between the Gulf States. While some disputes remain unresolved, such as UAE-Saudi border issue, there are others that were resolved such as UAE and Oman, and Bahrain and Qatar. My focus here is on the UAE-Omani resolved border disputes.

The literature on border disputes appears to be focusing mostly on the historical narratives and political solutions. However, post border conflicts remain a neglected aspect. My paper examines the economic and social implications of the post-UAE Omani border dispute. In particular, it seeks to answer the following questions; Why the border resolved dispute created further complexities for the lives of many people of the two cities (Al-Ain and Buraii); What are the implications of the tightening borders between two states? And can the shared history and strong social relationship between the UAE and Oman play a role in redefining the ‘borders’ between them? The two states have had several non-violent border conflicts. The main dispute was on the borders of the Omani city of Al-Buraimi and city of Al-Ain in UAE. The two states reached a final demarcation of their borders in July 2008. Surprisingly, prior to resolving the dispute, people living on the Omani and Emirati borders had easy access to their properties and their families who existed on both sides. However, since resolving this issue, number economic and social dilemmas emerged, particularly since the opening of the checkpoints in Oman and UAE.

Due to the large number of people travelling between Al Buraimi and Al Ain on daily bases, some families began moving from Buraimi to Al Ain, and vice versa. In addition, those owning investments in both sides started to sell their business and move back due to the persisting traffic congestions at the checkpoints and complications of the process of crossing goods. Furthermore, Emiratis living in Al-Buraimi had no problem of identifying themselves as being Emirati or Omanis. This is due to the fact that territorial identity is not accepted and people’s identities were only based on tribal roots. The most affected are those Emiratis living in Al-Buraimi, but working in the UAE.