BEIRUT, Lebanon — Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan grew to become the president of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, formalizing the rise of a 61-year-old prince who has deftly wielded his nation’s oil wealth to change into one of the influential leaders within the Arab world and an in depth accomplice of the US.
On the helm of the Emirati state, Sheikh Mohammed succeeds his older half trouble, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who died on Friday at 73 after main the Persian Gulf nation for 18 years.
Sheikh Mohammed, who had beforehand served because the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, one of many seven city-states that make up the United Arab Emirates, was unanimously chosen as president by a council of the rulers of the seven emirates, the Emirati state information company stated.
Sheikh Mohammed thanked the opposite rulers for his or her belief and prayed that God would assist him “serve his nation and the loyal individuals of the Emirates,” the information company stated.
Identified throughout the area and in Western capitals for his inquisitive thoughts and for an understated demeanor that masks ambitions that reach far past his nation’s borders, Sheikh Mohammed has successfully been ruling the Emirates since 2014, when Sheikh Khalifa had a stroke and stepped again from public life.
Typically referred to by his initials, M.B.Z., Sheikh Mohammed has constructed shut ties in Washington by providing up the providers of the Emirates and its armed forces to assist with Western navy endeavors within the area. His nation has additionally spent copiously on American-made weapons and on lobbyists to make sure that his views are promoted in the US.
Emirati particular forces have deployed with People in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia and Libya, and the United Arab Emirates was a member of the worldwide coalition that the US shaped to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
As head of state, Sheikh Mohammed may even oversee the selections of one of many world’s largest sovereign wealth funds in addition to of a significant oil and gasoline producer and member of OPEC at a time of turbulence in world power markets exacerbated by the battle in Ukraine.
Within the Center East, Sheikh Mohammed considers the largest threats to stability Iran and its community of armed proxies and political Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood, a Muslim social and political group linked to political events in numerous Arab international locations.
He’s near Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the dominion’s de facto ruler, and performed a big position in advertising the younger Saudi prince in Washington as the way forward for Saudi Arabia after his father, King Salman, ascended the throne in 2015.
Their two international locations spearheaded a navy intervention in Yemen shortly after that has achieved none of its foremost objectives, settled right into a grinding stalemate and fueled one of many world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Within the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings that unfold throughout the area in 2011, Sheikh Mohammed labored behind the scenes to help strongmen and undermine political Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia.
Extra not too long ago, his authorities has resisted Western entreaties to assist isolate President Vladimir V. Putin over his invasion of Ukraine, making the Emirates a refuge for fleeing Russian oligarchs and their cash.
The United Arab Emirates is a desert nation in regards to the measurement of South Carolina on the coast of the Persian Gulf and on the Gulf of Oman. It’s the residence of Dubai, a flashy, futuristic metropolis. Of the Emirates’ estimated 10 million individuals, about 1.2 million are residents. The remainder are international staff.
Domestically, it’s an autocracy with no political events and the place political activists and critics of presidency coverage are closely surveilled, have been focused with subtle hacking software program and are generally jailed. However its robust economic system has made it one of the common locations for educated professionals from throughout the area.
Not like Saudi Arabia, its closest ally, the Emirates permits for freedom of faith and hosts mosques, church buildings, temples and different homes of worship. It additionally has a Ministry of Tolerance, supposed to advertise acceptance of others, and a lady who serves because the minister of state for happiness and well-being.
Sheikh Mohammed’s relationship with the White Home has seesawed lately. He privately expressed frustration with President Barack Obama due to his push to safe a world settlement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, which was signed in 2015. Together with Israeli and Saudi leaders, Sheikh Mohammed felt that focusing solely on Iran’s nuclear program left it free to pursue different actions that destabilized the area, like arming proxy militias.
After the election of Donald J. Trump, Sheikh Mohammed actively courted the incoming president and his entourage, and even canceled a gathering with Mr. Obama so as to meet Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
His ties had been a lot hotter with Mr. Trump, who in 2018 withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal and, initially no less than, cheered on a blockade that the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and different international locations imposed on Qatar, one other shut American accomplice within the gulf, in 2017. (The Trump administration later labored to heal the rift, which was kind of resolved in 2021.)
In August 2020, the Emirates handed Mr. Trump one other win by establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel, making it the third Arab nation to open formal relations with the Jewish state and the primary new one to take action in 28 years. The Kingdom of Bahrain, a gulf island, adopted the identical day, and Morocco and Sudan later.
Sheikh Mohammed’s relationship with President Biden has been much less easy. The Emirates was alarmed by the US’ sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan and the swiftness of the Taliban’s takeover of the nation.
And Emirati officers have advised American interlocutors that they really feel the US has executed too little to guard the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from assaults by armed Iranian proxies, elevating questions in regards to the longstanding American dedication to making sure the safety of gulf international locations and their oil manufacturing.
Sheikh Mohammed is the Emirates’ third president because the nation gained independence from Britain in 1971 and named his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, its first head of state.
Sheikh Mohammed is a educated fighter pilot who, like different gulf royals, was educated on the British Royal Army Academy at Sandhurst.