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Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan turns into UAE’s president


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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Rulers within the United Arab Emirates on Saturday unanimously appointed Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan because the autocratic nation’s president, signaling each unity and stability on this key energy-rich nation that hosts Western militaries.

The ascension of Sheikh Mohammed, 61, had been anticipated after the dying Friday of his half-brother and the UAE’s president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the age of 73. The transition of energy marks solely the third time this U.S.-allied nation of seven sheikhdoms has chosen a president since turning into an unbiased nation in 1971.

Below Sheikh Mohammed, who has been the nation’s de facto chief since Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014, the UAE had tried to mission energy militarily throughout the broader area because it joined a Saudi-led struggle in Yemen.

However because the lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic, Sheikh Mohammed and the broader UAE has tried to recalibrate its strategy by largely pulling out of the struggle and looking for diplomatic detentes with rivals. The UAE additionally diplomatically acknowledged Israel, which shares Sheikh Mohammed’s longstanding suspicion of Iran. Nevertheless, ties to the U.S. have strained lately.

The state-run WAM information company described the vote at Al-Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi as unanimous among the many rulers of the nation’s hereditarily dominated sheikhdoms, which incorporates the skyscraper-studded metropolis of Dubai.

“We congratulate him, and we pledge allegiance to him, and our individuals pledge allegiance to him,” Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, stated on Twitter after the vote. “The entire nation is led by him to take it on the paths of glory and honor, God prepared.”

There had been just one dying of a president earlier than Friday within the nation’s historical past, which noticed Sheikh Khalifa take over for each his and Sheikh Mohammed’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, after his dying in 2004. Sheikh Zayed, whose identify graces a significant freeway linking the Emirates and whose face seems all over the place within the nation, broadly stays considered because the nation’s founding father.

The UAE as a complete is observing a three-day mourning interval, which is able to see companies shut throughout the nation and performances halted in Sheikh Khalifa’s honor. Digital billboards all confirmed the late sheikh’s picture in Dubai on Friday night time as flags flew at half-staff. A wider mourning interval of 40 days will go on past that.

Sheikh Mohammed had been serving because the UAE’s de facto president since a 2014 stroke noticed Sheikh Khalifa disappear from public view.

Identified by the acronym MbZ, Sheikh Mohammed cultivated ties with the West that proved helpful for Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE that instructions tens of billions of {dollars} in wealth funds from its oil and gasoline deposits. A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2004 launched by WikiLeaks referred to him as “charismatic, savvy and really comfy within the West.” He hosted then-President George W. Bush in 2008 at his desert property, a go to full with Bedouin tents and falcons.

The nation hosts some 3,500 U.S. troops, many at Abu Dhabi’s Al-Dhafra Air Base, from the place drones and fighter jets flew missions combating the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Dubai is also the U.S. Navy’s busiest port of name overseas. Each France and South Korea additionally maintained a navy presence right here.

Sheikh Mohammed educated on the British navy academy at Sandhurst and is a helicopter pilot. His military-first strategy noticed the UAE be a part of Saudi Arabia of their bloody, yearslong struggle in Yemen that also rages to at the present time. Sheikh Mohammed has had an in depth relationship with neighboring Saudi Arabia’s personal upstart crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Nevertheless, the Emirates has largely withdrawn its troops from Yemen.

Sheikh Mohammed additionally lengthy has been suspicious of each the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, doubtless organizing a marketing campaign concentrating on Islamists within the UAE after the 2011 Arab Spring and urging the West to take a more durable line towards Tehran over issues about its nuclear program and its assist of paramilitary teams all through the area. The UAE’s recognition of Israel in 2020, whereas opening new commerce and tourism, additionally serves as a hedge in coping with Iran.

For the reason that coronavirus pandemic, nonetheless, the UAE below Sheikh Mohammed has sought to rehabilitate ties to Iran and Turkey, which has backed Islamists within the area. A quartet of Arab nations together with the UAE additionally dropped their boycott of Qatar over a diplomatic dispute concerning its assist of Islamists, although relations stay icy between Abu Dhabi and Doha.

“The sleek transition of energy within the UAE displays the sobriety of institutional work and the superior stage of governance mechanisms and their stability,” stated Anwar Gargash, a senior Emirati diplomat.

However strains have emerged lately between Sheikh Mohammed and the U.S., lengthy a guarantor of safety within the wider Persian Gulf. Then-President Barack Obama and world powers reaching a nuclear cope with Iran in 2015 soured the Emirates. The chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 below President Joe Biden worsened issues concerning the U.S.’s pullback from the area.

Sheikh Mohammed discovered himself entangled in particular counsel Robert Mueller’s report on then-President Donald Trump and Russian interference in America’s 2016 election. The chair of Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee was arrested in 2021 on prices alleging he secretly conspired to affect U.S. coverage to learn the United Arab Emirates.

A deliberate U.S. sale of superior F-35 fighter jets to the UAE additionally seems stalled partially over American issues concerning the Emirates’ relationship with China. In the meantime, the UAE has been cautious to not alienate Russia as Moscow wages struggle on Ukraine.

Comply with Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.



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