March 31, 2023: The President of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has made his son the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and increased his brothers to top areas in a consolidation of power that failed from the tradition of passing leadership succession to one more brother.
Sheikh Khaled bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE leader’s first son, is currently the oil-rich Middle Eastern country’s crown prince, effectively following in line for its leadership.
Sheikh Mohammed, aged 62, also made his brother Sheikh Mansour, a senior minister, the Mubadala sovereign wealth fund and Manchester City soccer club owner, as UAE vice president, alongside already-present Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the monarch of Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed’s brother Sheikh Tahnoon, the UAE’s influential national security advisor, was made deputy ruler of Abu Dhabi, as was Sheikh Mohammed’s last brother Hazza bin Zayed. Earlier in March, Sheikh Tahnoon was named chair of the $790 billion Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the emirate’s leading sovereign wealth fund.
Developments in the Gulf state are watched in the major capitals of the world as the UAE’s power and influence have increased dramatically in the past few years, politically, militarily and economically.
The UAE, a federation of almost seven sheikhdoms and home to almost 10 million people, 90% of whom are ex-pats, oversees some of the world’s most significant sovereign wealth funds. It is a leading OPEC member and an older ally of the U.S. while instantly expanding its diplomatic and trade ties with Russia and China. Its military is one of the most powerful and better in the region.
Sheikh Mohammed is now UAE president and Abu Dhabi ruler from the previous year following the death of his brother Sheikh Khalifa, serving as crown prince and de-facto judge of the powerful Gulf state for years prior.
In a transparent demonstration of Sheikh Mohammed’s soft power and international reach, news videos at the time showed top leaders from worldwide lined up offering condolences and congratulations to the recent president in Abu Dhabi, which included then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Vice President of U.S. Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Emmanuel Macron of France.