United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday appointed his eldest son Khalid as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, making him next in line to take over as the leader of the federation.
The state-run WAM news agency announced the appointment of Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as crown prince late on Wednesday without giving further details.
After 62-year-old Sheikh Mohammed, commonly known as MBZ, became president last year, rumors swirled about whether he would choose one of his brothers as his successor.
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In that case, the frontrunners would be Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the powerful national security chief, Manchester City Football Club owner Sheikh Mansour or Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah.
Instead, he appears to be concentrating power within his immediate family, as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has delegated sweeping powers to his son and heir apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS. Had done
A separate announcement said that Sheikh Mohammed had appointed Sheikh Mansour as Vice President of the United Arab Emirates with the approval of the Federal Supreme Council. Sheikh Tahnoon and another brother, Sheikh Hazza, were appointed Deputy Rulers of Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Khalid, 41, has risen to prominence as the new crown prince, head of the country’s state security service and the powerful Abu Dhabi Executive Office.
The United Arab Emirates, a close US ally, is best known as the home of Dubai, a major international hub for business and travel.
The federation of seven emirates, including oil-rich Abu Dhabi, has rapidly transformed itself over the past half century from a desert region sparsely populated by Bedouin tribes into a political and economic powerhouse with state-of-the-art infrastructure. Tallest skyscraper in the world.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of the United Arab Emirates and the driving force behind its creation, ruled from 1971 until his death in 2004. He appointed his eldest son Khalifa as his successor and MBZ as deputy crown prince.
Sheikh Mohammed has been the country’s de facto leader since Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014. Sheikh Khalifa, for whom the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa is named, passed away in May 2022 after eight years.
During Sheikh Mohammed’s rule, the UAE forged closer ties with neighboring Saudi Arabia, initially joining its war against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels before largely pulling out of the conflict. The United Arab Emirates has sought to project military power across the region as it opposes the rise of Islamist groups.
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In 2020, the UAE normalized relations with Israel in the first of the so-called Abraham Accords, followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. The United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Arab countries had quietly maintained ties with Israel for years before being drawn together by mutual suspicion of Iran.
The United Arab Emirates hosts about 3,500 US troops, many of whom are at Abu Dhabi’s Al-Dhafra Air Base, from where drones and fighter jets take off to combat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Dubai is the US Navy’s busiest port abroad.
But tensions have risen in recent years between Sheikh Mohammed and the US, long the guarantor of security in the wider Persian Gulf. The UAE and Saudi Arabia were concerned by the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the US and other world powers. The chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 fueled fears that the US was pulling out of the region.
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A planned US sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates appears to be partially stalled due to US concerns about the emirate’s ties with China. Meanwhile, the UAE has been careful not to isolate Russia as Moscow wages war against Ukraine.
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