- Abu Dhabi succession shifts to next generation amid Gulf-wide trend
- Analyst sees further consolidation of power in Abu Dhabi
- The UAE has emerged as an important regional player
DUBAI, March 29 (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has appointed his eldest son Sheikh Khaled as the head of the Gulf state’s oil-rich region. The crown prince of the capital Abu Dhabi and appointed his brother to the top job, state media said on Wednesday.
Sheikh Mohammed became president and ruler of Abu Dhabi last year after years of managing the U.S.-aligned OPEC oil producer, appointing his brother Sheikh Mansour to join Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktou Mu served as Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.
This appears to further concentrate power in Abu Dhabi, which, with its vast oil wealth, is the political capital of the UAE’s federation of seven emirates. Dubai is the commercial and tourist center of the Gulf region.
Sheikh Mohammed named his other brothers Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan is deputy ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Cinzia Bianco, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said on Twitter that by appointing the high-profile brother to the new role, he maintained “some power-sharing balance, but only within the Al Nahyan family (in Abu Dhabi).
The selection of Sheikh Khalid as crown prince reflects the trend in most Gulf Arab monarchies of immediate relatives — sons over brothers — to inherit the throne, including Saudi Arabia.
Abu Dhabi has been president since 1971, when Sheikh Mohammed’s father established the UAE federation.
Analysts say Sheikh Mohammed, known as MbZ, has been grooming his son for positions of authority in security – including intelligence – economics and governance.
MbZ was the de facto ruler for years before taking power following the death of his brother in May last year, when the UAE’s longstanding relationship with the United States was strained by the United States’ secession from the region.
When the UAE and Bahrain forged ties with Israel in 2020 to create a new anti-Iran axis in the region, he led a Middle East realignment, while still engaging with Tehran to contain tensions and focus on economic priorities.
The UAE has also deepened ties with Russia and China.
The country of less than 10 million people prides itself on its political and economic stability. It has one of the highest per capita income levels in the world and is home to millions of foreign workers who make up the bulk of the workforce.
In a separate decree on Wednesday, MbZ appointed Sheikh Khaled as chairman of Abu Dhabi’s executive council, the latest reshuffle of the main entity in the emirate, home to the world’s richest state investor one.
Earlier this month, Sheikh Tahnoun was named chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Sheikh Mansour has been named chairman of Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund.
Reporting by Yousef Saba in Dubai and Alaa Swilam and Omar Abdel-Razek Abdel-Hakim in CairoReporting by Ghaida GhantousEditing by Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis
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