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Khaled bin Zayed: What do we know about the new Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi?

On Wednesday, the President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, appointed his son, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed, as Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and also appointed his brothers to other high positions.

And the Emirates News Agency announced the appointments, which are the most prominent in the era of the President of the State since he assumed office in May 2022, following the death of his brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

It included the appointment of Deputy Prime Minister Mansour bin Zayed as Vice President of the State, along with the current Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and appointed Sheikh Tahnoon and Sheikh Hazza as deputy rulers of the emirate.

Who is the new crown prince of Abu Dhabi?

Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was born on January 8, 1982. He is the eldest son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and his mother is Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan.

He graduated from the Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom, and served in the State Security Service.

He was appointed head of the State Security Apparatus, with the rank of minister, by a federal decree on February 15, 2016, and continued in his position until January 17, 2017, when he was appointed Deputy National Security Adviser, with the rank of minister.

Sheikh Khaled became a member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, according to an Emiri decree issued on January 21, 2019.

After about 9 months, Sheikh Khaled was appointed head of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, and he became responsible for all matters pertaining to the Executive Council, including raised issues, plans, requests, or planning.

Sheikh Khaled is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Emirates Oil Company (ADNOC).

“an expected reign”
Since the founding of the state, only rulers from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi have presided over the Emirates, while the vice-presidents have been the rulers of the Emirate of Dubai.

Therefore, during the past months, there was a lot of speculation about the possibility of appointing Sheikh Khaled as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, especially in light of his prominent appearance in many political meetings.

Sheikh Khaled participated in a number of important occasions, as he appeared with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, on September 26, 2022, as he signed with him the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between the two countries, on the sidelines of his visit to Tokyo.

He also headed the UAE delegation participating in the funeral ceremonies of the former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in the capital, Tokyo, in the presence of a number of world leaders and leaders. His attendance at the funeral was remarkable, especially since the Gulf countries sent their leaders or prominent ministers to participate in it.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida
There is speculation that Sheikh Khaled will be appointed crown prince of Abu Dhabi, especially in light of his prominent appearance in many political meetings.

In February 2023, Sheikh Khaled supervised the “Gentle Knight” operation launched by the UAE to provide relief to those affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, by running an air bridge to transport search and rescue teams, medical equipment and the necessary aid.

Sheikh Khaled’s activities indicate that he pays special attention to youth, as well as to economic fields. However, information about Sheikh Khaled’s personal life, whether his wife or children, remained far from the media.

What are the powers of the vice president of the UAE ?

Deputy Prime Minister Mansour bin Zayed was appointed Vice President of the State, along with the current Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates is the second highest position in the UAE, coming directly after the Head of State.

In accordance with Article 51 of the UAE Constitution, the Supreme Council of the Federation elects from among its members the Vice President of the State.

The Vice President of the State exercises all the powers of the Head of State in his absence, in accordance with Article 52 of the UAE Constitution.

The term of office of the Vice-President of the State is 5 Gregorian years, subject to renewal, and in the event that the position of the President of the State becomes vacant for any reason whatsoever, the Vice-President temporarily exercises the powers of the President until the election of the new President.

It has been customary in the UAE, since its inception, for the ruler of Dubai to be the vice-president of the state and the ruler of Abu Dhabi as the head of the state. It has also been customary in the UAE for the vice-president to be the prime minister.

What is the Supreme Council of the Federation?

According to Article (46) of the Constitution of the State, the Federal Supreme Council is the supreme authority in the State, as the Council consists of the rulers of the seven emirates, and each emirate has one vote in the deliberations of the Council.

According to Article (49), decisions of the Supreme Council on substantive matters are issued by a majority of five of its members, provided that this majority includes the votes of the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the minority adheres to the opinion of the aforementioned majority. As for the decisions of the Council on procedural matters, they are issued by the majority of votes.

Article (53) clarifies that when the position of the president or his deputy becomes vacant due to death, resignation, or the termination of the rule of either of them in his emirate for any reason, the Supreme Council shall be called within a month of that date to meet, to elect a successor to fill the vacant position for the stipulated period.

The former US president receives Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, when he was crown prince, in The UAE and the United States lived in a tense relationship due to Washington’s tangible tendency to disengage from the region.

What are the challenges that may face the new crown prince?
The appointment of Sheikh Khalid as crown prince reflects a trend in most Gulf states towards giving priority to sons over brothers with regard to the issue of succession, including in Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi has retained the position of president since the founding of the UAE by Sheikh Mohammed’s father in 1971.

Sheikh Mohammed was the de facto ruler of the Emirates for years before he assumed power after the death of his brother last May, at a time when relations between the UAE and the United States were strained due to Washington’s tangible tendency to disengage from the region.

Sheikh Mohammed led a process of rearranging the cards in the Middle East when his country and Bahrain established relations with Israel in 2020 to form a new anti-Iran axis in the region. At the same time, the UAE continued to engage with Tehran to contain tensions while focusing on economic priorities.

The UAE has also worked to strengthen relations with Russia and China.

The country, with a population of less than ten million, prides itself on its political and economic stability. It has one of the highest levels of per capita income in the world, and hosts millions of expatriate workers who make up the bulk of the workforce.

“Tahnoun’s unannounced role is more important and stronger”
Press reports shed light on the competition between the poles of the Zayed family since the selection of Mohammed bin Zayed to head the state, as Khaled competed with personalities, most notably: Tahnoun and Mansour, the brothers of bin Zayed.

Tahnoun, who holds the position of National Security Adviser, was one of the most prominent competitors of Sheikh Khaled and his strong relationship with Western intelligence services, and handles files related to Turkey and Iran.

Analysts do not expect that Tahnoon bin Zayed will have a public role, as the actions or movements of the heads of the security services, such as Tahnoun, are usually unannounced, and sometimes it facilitates the adoption of a political decision or position.

National Security Adviser Tahnoun, who is known on a personal level for his passion for martial arts such as karate and taekwondo, visited Iran last December, which made headlines at the time, as it was considered the first in years

Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council with National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon
Sheikh Tahnoun was one of the most prominent competitors of Sheikh Khaled and his strong relationship with Western intelligence services, and he handles files related to Turkey and Iran.

Who are the crown princes in the UAE?

Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi: Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi: Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi: Crown Prince of Fujairah.
Sheikh Rashid bin Saud Al Mualla: Crown Prince of Umm Al Quwain.
Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi: Crown Prince of Ajman.

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