By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East Analyst
As the United Arab Emirates - a federation of seven Gulf sheikhdoms - marks its 38th birthday, has the Dubai debt crisis tarnished one of the Arab world's more notable success stories?
The UAE has survived for the better part of four decades. That in itself is an achievement.
When the federation was born on 2 December 1971, there was a good deal of uncertainty about its future.
The British decision to withdraw from the Gulf - announced a few years earlier - had made the rulers of the sheikhdoms distinctly nervous.
They reportedly told the British they were ready to pay for their troops to stay - an offer the government in London declined.
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