What’s subsequent for the UAE as Mohamed bin Al Zayed takes the reins? | Information

On Could 13, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan handed away on the age of 73.

Born in 1948, Sheikh Khalifa turned Abu Dhabi’s prime minister in 1969, two years earlier than the UAE gained independence. He started serving because the Gulf nation’s second president in November 2004 when he succeeded his father and the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Proper after Sheikh Khalifa’s loss of life, the ministry of presidential affairs introduced 40 days of mourning and heads of state from around the globe instantly supplied their condolences.

Hailing Sheikh Khalifa as “a real associate and buddy of the USA”, President Joe Biden pledged to “honour his reminiscence by persevering with to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and other people of the USA and the United Arab Emirates”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin credited him with having “finished a lot to strengthen pleasant relations and constructive cooperation between [Russia and the UAE]”.

Sheikh Khalifa presided over a lot of the UAE’s financial, technological, and social growth, which raised the nation’s regional and worldwide profiles. Shortly earlier than changing into president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, he ordered Etihad Airways’ creation and in 2008-09 Sheikh Khalifa performed a significant function in bailing out Dubai with billions of {dollars} of funds.

“By way of fiscal insurance policies and establishing Abu Dhabi to be a sustainable emirate he did rather a lot, and likewise in ensuring that the federal system works within the Emirates. I believe Sheikh Khalifa was actually necessary,” Courtney Freer, a fellow at Emory College, instructed Al Jazeera.

“You will have these Emirates that are actually unequal in the case of wealth, to variety of residents, to measurement – all of this stuff. The truth that he did bail out Dubai exhibits this dedication to the system [and] to the unity of the nation.”

‘Centralized political energy’

After Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014, his brother Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), who turned the crown prince of Abu Dhabi a decade earlier, took the helm. From that time on, Sheikh Khalifa was hardly ever seen in public though he continued issuing decrees.

MBZ ascended to the place of president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi on Saturday. But provided that MBZ has basically been the nation’s de facto ruler since 2014, if not earlier, no main modifications in day-to-day governance or main overseas coverage shifts needs to be anticipated.

Nonetheless, Sheikh Khalifa’s passing marks a proper generational shift, which has been in movement with MBZ taking the reins of energy.

“There are some speculations that Abu Dhabi may have more and more centralized political energy and naturally this has been a pattern ongoing I’d say since no less than 2014,” mentioned Freer.

“There may be extra centralization of energy within the arms of the Bani Fatima [the six sons of Fatima Bint Mubarak Al Kitbi, Sheikh Zayed’s third wife, known as the Mother of the Nation]… We may see extra centralization of energy quite than a diffusion of energy by way of the federal system.”

Andreas Krieg, an affiliate professor on the Faculty of Safety Research at King’s School London, mentioned he believes this would be the case.

“With MBZ now formally changing into the president, it’s clear that the Al Nahyan have gotten the royal household of the UAE. That’s a growth that may undoubtedly result in extra integration and extra focus of energy in Abu Dhabi, and fewer and fewer of federalism [with] extra centralization, which type of undermines the raison d’être of how the UAE happened [more than] 50 years in the past.”

Abu Dhabi’s new President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan [File: Hannah McKay/Reuters]

An open query that’s extremely necessary to the UAE’s future is who will substitute MBZ because the nation’s subsequent crown prince of Abu Dhabi. Aware of how a lot energy within the Emirates has centralized in Abu Dhabi, it will mainly decide who’s the following crown prince of the UAE.

Specialists agree there are two almost definitely contenders. The primary is Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi Government Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Government Workplace. Portfolios below him embrace some within the area of knowledge safety and home intelligence.

The second is UAE’s Nationwide Safety Adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan who additionally runs key portfolios within the authorities. Each are highly effective males in Abu Dhabi with entry to important networks within the UAE.

“There was fairly a little bit of battle internally in Abu Dhabi between [these two contenders] that’s been happening for greater than a 12 months. We see Tahnoun making an attempt to get extra leverage over the method. He appears to be the extra probably alternative, contemplating his energy and his personal networks in Abu Dhabi, to turn out to be the following crown prince of Abu Dhabi,” Krieg instructed Al Jazeera.

“The query is how lengthy is [MBZ] going to rule. It is perhaps twenty years, by which period additionally Tahnoun goes to be very outdated. So there may be an apparent alternative to really groom Khaled [10 years younger than Tahnoun] to turn out to be the following crown prince or to turn out to be the following ruler of Abu Dhabi and the UAE in 20 years’ time,” added Krieg.

Stability is precedence

Nonetheless, observers of this succession course of should even be conscious of the truth that the UAE may not firmly announce a Crown Prince any time quickly. Doing so shouldn’t be required right now. For the management in Abu Dhabi, sustaining cohesion and stability within the nation is the precedence.

No matter who replaces MBZ as the following crown prince of Abu Dhabi, a delicate query value elevating is – how would Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the opposite 5 Emirates relate to one another within the post-Sheikh Khalifa interval if the brand new UAE president takes steps to rework the nation right into a unitary state?

Maybe time will inform.

But for now, the UAE has sustained itself as a affluent federation that overcame lots of the governance challenges of the previous.

MBZ formally changing into president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi highlights how “this union, which remains to be comparatively new, has endurance”, identified Freer.

“There may be this dedication past simply the primary era of rulers. If folks noticed the UAE as a community of private fiefdoms, the truth that the system is sustaining itself mainly disproves that notion and exhibits that there’s longevity on this association, which individuals early on possibly didn’t see.”

Leave a Reply