According to state media, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has appointed his eldest son Sheikh Khaled as the new crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the wealthy capital of the UAE. He also gave top roles to his brothers, with Sheikh Mansour becoming the UAE vice president, alongside Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This move seems to further centralize power in Abu Dhabi, the political capital, which has immense oil wealth, while Dubai is the center of business and tourism in the Gulf region.
Sheikh Mohammed also appointed his other brothers Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan as deputy rulers of Abu Dhabi, while keeping power-sharing within the Al Nahyan clan. The choice of Sheikh Khaled as the crown prince reflects a trend in most Gulf Arab monarchies towards direct lineage, with sons being preferred over brothers for succession.
Sheikh Mohammed has been grooming his son for leadership roles in security, economy, and governance. He had been the de facto ruler for years before assuming power after his brother’s death in May 2022. Under his leadership, the UAE forged ties with Israel in 2020 to create a new anti-Iran alliance while still engaging with Tehran to contain tensions with an eye on economic priorities. The country has also deepened ties with Russia and China.
The UAE is home to millions of expatriate workers and has one of the world’s highest per-capita income levels. In a separate decree, Sheikh Mohammed named Sheikh Khaled as the head of Abu Dhabi’s executive council, one of the world’s wealthiest state investors. Earlier this month, Sheikh Tahnoun was named chair of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, while Sheikh Mansour was named chairman of Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s second-biggest sovereign wealth fund.
The UAE president has issued a resolution, with the approval of the UAE Federal Supreme Council, to appoint Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister of Presidential Court as UAE Vice President. pic.twitter.com/kYFDycPGcd— مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@ADMediaOffice) March 29, 2023