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UAE: Two families, one tribe

The Al-Maktoums and the Al-Nahyan have common origins as different branches of the Bani Yas tribe, but since the two families split in the 1830s they have developed with distinct differences. The Al-Nahyans have been focused on managing tribal affairs across their wide swathe of territory and are closer religiously to the prevalent sentiment in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. The Maktoums’ devotion has been to business and to developing Dubai, with its large Iranian-origin population, as an outwardly-facing entrepôt enjoying open relations with anyone with an interest in trade.

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