UAE’s long-ailing chief Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has died

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The United Arab Emirates‘ long-ailing ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, died Friday, the federal government’s state-run information company introduced in a quick assertion. He was 73.

Khalifa, the president of the UAE, oversaw a lot of the nation’s blistering financial development and his title was immortalized on the world’s tallest constructing, the Burj Khalifa, after bailing out debt-crippled Dubai throughout its monetary disaster over a decade in the past.

The UAE’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs introduced a 40-day interval of mourning and a three-day suspension of labor in all ministries and the non-public sector starting Friday, together with flags to be flown at half-staff.

He had lengthy ceased having involvement within the day-to-day affairs of ruling the nation. As a substitute, his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, was seen because the de facto ruler and the decision-maker of main international coverage selections, akin to becoming a member of a Saudi-led conflict in Yemen and spearheading an embargo on neighboring Qatar lately.

There was no instant announcement a few successor, though Mohammed bin Zayed is anticipated to say the presidency.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died Friday, May 13, 2022, the government's state-run news agency announced.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died Friday, Could 13, 2022, the federal government’s state-run information company introduced. (AP Photograph/WAM)


Khalifa, who has not often been seen in official photographs or at public occasions for years, succeeded his father, the UAE’s founder Sheikh Zayed, in 2004.

He suffered a stroke and underwent emergency surgical procedure a decade later, although officers didn’t launch the information till the next day. He has largely been out of public sight ever since.

In 2017, 2018 and 2019, Emirati state media revealed uncommon pictures and video of Khalifa. Within the newest photographs, Khalifa wore white sneakers and a white conventional gown as he greeted Sheikh Mohammed and different rulers within the Emirates.

Khalifa, the eldest son of the UAE’s first chief after the federation’s formation in 1971, held probably the most highly effective place among the many seven semi-autonomous city-states stretching alongside the shores of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. His function as president derived from his standing as hereditary ruler of Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest and richest emirate. Abu Dhabi serves as dwelling to the federal capital.

Regardless of its measurement and huge oil wealth, Abu Dhabi usually discovered itself overshadowed by the glitzy neighboring emirate of Dubai, the Center Japanese business hub that showcases each the UAE’s daring visions and, at occasions, debt-fueled pipe goals, together with an enormous palm-shaped man-made island that sits empty years after its creation.

As Dubai’s fortunes started to falter together with the worldwide financial system in 2009, Khalifa led efforts to guard the federation by pumping billions of {dollars} in emergency bailout funds into Dubai. The 2 emirates don’t at all times see eye-to-eye on international coverage selections and compete commercially with each other. In 2003, Khalifa referred to as for the creation of a brand new airline, Etihad Airways, which competes with Dubai’s profitable and far bigger provider Emirates Air.

Khalifa more and more used Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth to draw cultural and tutorial facilities, akin to branches of the Louvre museum and satellite tv for pc campuses of New York College and the Sorbonne. He additionally presided over efforts to maneuver the OPEC nation past its reliance on petrodollars with investments in renewable vitality analysis, together with plans for a futuristic low-carbon desert metropolis often called Masdar.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak meets Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/WAM-HO, File)

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak meets Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, March 13, 2011. (AP Photograph/WAM-HO, File)


Abu Dhabi’s large spending abroad throughout Khalifa’s rule additionally helped push the emirate, which controls the majority of the UAE’s oil reserves, out from Dubai’s shadow.

In 2007, the Abu Dhabi Funding Authority, one of many world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, got here to the rescue of an ailing Citigroup Inc. with a $7.5 billion money injection. Lower than two years later, one other Abu Dhabi state fund made considered one of its largest in a sequence of headline-grabbing purchases when it paid almost 2 billion euros (then price about $2.7 billion) for a 9.1% stake in German automaker Daimler AG, the agency behind Mercedes-Benz.

Khalifa, in the meantime, helped enhance the UAE’s regional profile with aid missions to Pakistan after devastating floods and by sending warplanes to the NATO-led mission in opposition to Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya in 2011.

Questions have been raised throughout Khalifa’s rule in regards to the UAE’s use of international navy contractors, together with one linked to the founding father of the previous Blackwater safety agency, Erik Prince, who moved to Abu Dhabi in 2009. Prince was concerned in a multimillion-dollar program to coach troops to struggle pirates in Somalia, in response to an official who spoke to The Related Press in early 2009.

However Khalifa’s title is probably most acquainted world wide for its connection to the world’s tallest constructing, a virtually half-mile (828-meter) glass-and-steel spire in Dubai.

The title of the tower was unexpectedly switched from the Burj Dubai to the Burj Khalifa at its official opening in January 2010 following his choice to funnel billions of {dollars} to Dubai to reserve it from a full-scale monetary meltdown.

Khalifa took over because the UAE’s president and ruler of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 following the loss of life his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who’s broadly revered by Emiratis because the nation’s founding father.

Khalifa’s picture was ubiquitous, gracing each resort foyer and authorities workplace throughout the nation. However not like Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the federation’s vp and prime minister, he was not often seen in public.

Prince Charles and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan meet in London on May 1, 2013.

Prince Charles and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan meet in London on Could 1, 2013. (AP Photograph/John Stillwell, Pool)


A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks in 2010 uncharitably described the president as “a distant and uncharismatic personage.”

Khalifa was born in 1948 within the inland oasis of Al Ain, close to the border with the sultanate of Oman, and named after his great-grandfather, Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbout.

In 1969, whereas the realm was nonetheless a British protectorate, Khalifa was named as Abu Dhabi prime minister and chairman of the emirate’s Division of Protection, which later turned the core of the UAE’s armed forces. After independence in 1971, he turned protection minister together with different roles. Later, the title of supreme commander of the armed forces was assumed by Mohammed bin Zayed.

Though the UAE’s ruling sheikhs maintain close to absolute energy, Khalifa started an experiment with elections by permitting restricted voting – by a hand-picked citizens – for half the members of a 40-seat federal advisory physique in 2006. Subsequent rounds of elections in 2011 and 2015 failed to draw even two out of 5 of these given an opportunity to vote.

The UAE noticed not one of the Arab Spring road protests that shook different elements of the area, although within the wake of that unrest, Khalifa oversaw tightening crackdowns on Islamists and different activists, drawing criticism from worldwide rights teams. The UAE additionally supported efforts within the area to quash the Muslim Brotherhood, together with in Egypt.

He was believed to be among the many world’s richest rulers, with a private fortune estimated by Forbes journal in 2008 at $19 billion. He constructed a palace within the Seychelles, an island-chain nation within the Indian Ocean, and confronted complaints there about inflicting water air pollution from the development website.

In 2007, Khalifa made a serious reward to the Johns Hopkins Drugs complicated in Baltimore. The dimensions of the donation was not disclosed, nevertheless it was described as “transformational.”

After he fell in poor health, it fell upon his half-brother and designated successor, Mohammed bin Zayed, to deal with lots of Khalifa’s duties following the stroke, usually along with Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed. The transition went largely unnoticed, as many Emiratis and international diplomats lengthy assumed that the crown prince was a central energy dealer within the UAE’s management.


In September 2014, the Emirates turned one of the crucial outstanding Arab contributors in U.S.-led airstrikes in opposition to the Islamic State militant group in Syria, deploying its first feminine air drive pilot on the preliminary raid.

These sorties have been adopted by a muscular intervention into Yemen as a part of a Saudi-led coalition on the facet of the impoverished nation’s internationally acknowledged authorities in opposition to Shiite rebels who had seized the capital of Sanaa and different areas. The UAE deployed hundreds of troops, 52 of whom have been killed in a September 2015 missile assault on their base – the heaviest navy loss within the nation’s historical past.

Khalifa’s private life was not a lot within the public eye. Like many within the Gulf, he was passionate in regards to the conventional sport of falconry and was stated to take pleasure in fishing. He’s identified to have had eight youngsters – two sons and 6 daughters – along with his first spouse, Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei. He’s additionally survived by a number of grandchildren.


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