BEIRUT, Lebanon — Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan turned 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 some of the influential leaders within the Arab world and an in depth companion of america.
On the helm of the Emirati state, Sheikh Mohammed succeeds his older half hassle, 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 mentioned.
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 mentioned.
Recognized 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.
Usually 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 army 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 america.
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 america fashioned to struggle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
As head of state, Sheikh Mohammed may also oversee the selections of one of many world’s largest sovereign wealth funds in addition to of a significant oil and fuel producer and member of OPEC at a time of turbulence in world vitality markets exacerbated by the warfare in Ukraine.
Within the Center East, Sheikh Mohammed considers the most important threats to stability Iran and its community of armed proxies and political Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood, a Muslim social and political group related to political events in various 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 army intervention in Yemen shortly after that has completed 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 assist 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 money.
The United Arab Emirates is a desert nation concerning 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 overseas 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 targeted with sophisticated hacking software and are generally jailed. However its robust financial system has made it some of the common locations for educated professionals from throughout the area.
In contrast to 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 girl who serves because the minister of state for happiness and well-being.
Sheikh Mohammed’s relationship with the White Home has seesawed in recent times. 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 meeting with Mr. Obama as a way to meet Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
His ties have been a lot hotter with Mr. Trump, who in 2018 withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and, initially not less than, cheered on a blockade that the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and different international locations imposed on Qatar, one other shut American companion within the gulf, in 2017. (The Trump administration later labored to heal the rift, which was roughly 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 america’ sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan and the swiftness of the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
And Emirati officers have informed American interlocutors that they really feel america has executed too little to guard the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from attacks by armed Iranian proxies, elevating questions concerning 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.