United Arab Emirates influential Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ) was officially elected president on Saturday, leading the reorganization of the Middle East and creating a new anti-Iranian axis with Israel. region.

Sheikh Mohammed, 61, who worked behind the scenes for years as a de facto leader, turned the UAE army into a high-tech unit, coupled with its oil wealth and business hub status, the influence of Emirati. Has expanded internationally.

Mohammed began exercising power when his half-brother, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who died on Friday, suffered a bout of illness, including a stroke, in 2014.

MBZ, as he knows, will no longer rely on key U.S. supporters for Gulf Arab rulers, according to a former U.S. envoy of the United Arab Emirates Barbara Reef, especially after Washington abandoned Egypt. I was driven by the “certain fatal idea” that I couldn’t do it. Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring of 2011.

From the power base of the capital Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed warned then-President Barack Obama “calm and cold” not to support an uprising that could spread and endanger the rule of the Gulf dynasty. The leader of the Gulf.

US State Department officials in the Biden administration, who have had close ties with the UAE in recent months, said he was a strategist who brought a historical perspective to the debate.

“He doesn’t just talk about the present, he talks about trends that go back years, decades, and in some cases over time,” officials said.

MBZ supports the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt’s elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, and is the only Washington to deal with when Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman comes to power in the 2017 palace coup. I advertised him as a person. Open the kingdom.

Encouraged by a warm relationship with then-US President Donald Trump, the two Gulf hawks are adjoining to support the Muslim Brotherhood by lobbying for Washington’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran. The Houthis has launched a costly war to boycott Qatar and try to break the grip of Yemen’s Iranian alliance.

The United Arab Emirates also broke decades of Arab consensus by establishing a relationship with Israel in 2020 with Bahrain in a U.S.-mediated deal known as the Abraham Agreement that caused Palestine’s wrath. , Was involved in a conflict from Somalia to Libya and Sudan.

A diplomat, who was driven by common concerns about Iran, also noticed the benefits to the UAE economy and the malaise of “listening” Palestinian leaders.

Tactical thinker

While diplomats and analysts see partnerships with Riyadh and Washington as pillars of their UAE strategy, MBZ does not hesitate to act independently for profit or financial reasons.

The Ukrainian crisis exposed tensions with Washington when the United Arab Emirates abstained from a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s invasion. As a producer of OPEC, along with oil giant Riyadh, the UAE also rejected the Western call for more pumps.

Abu Dhabi ignored other US concerns by arming and supporting Libya’s Khalifa Haftar against an internationally recognized government and engaging with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

In Riyadh, the biggest difference was made when the UAE withdrew significantly from Yemen, as the unpopular war that killed more than 100 Emiratis fell into a military impasse.

Abu Dhabi organized a 2019 coup against him when Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir rejected his promise to abandon his Muslim allies.

Although he says he was attracted to their ideology when he was young, the MBZ assembled the Muslim Brotherhood as one of the most serious threats to stability in the Middle East.

Like Saudi Arabia, the UAE has accused it of betraying the Brotherhood after protecting members persecuted in Egypt in the 1960s.

“I am an Arab, a Muslim, and pray. And I was one of them in the 1970s and early 1980s. According to WikiLeaks, MBZ said at a meeting with US officials in 2007. rice field.

Educated in the UK

Educated at the Armed Forces College in the United Arab Emirates and Sandhurst, England, Sheikh Mohammed was founded when two of the 19 hijackers were in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States. , The distrust of the group has increased.

“He looked around and saw that many of the younger generation in the region were very attracted to Osama bin Laden’s anti-Western mantra,” another diplomat said. “As he once told me,’If they can do it to you, they can do it to us.'”

Despite years of hostility, the MBZ chose to engage Iran and Turkey as COVID-19, intensifying economic competition with Saudi Arabia focused on development, and further liberalized the UAE while curbing political objections. Promoted towards.

The MBZ was seen as a human being of modernization at home and charismatic people from many diplomats, holding the UAE’s oil wealth by spurring the development of energy, infrastructure and technology. He enthusiastically promoted Abu Dhabi, which was previously unobtrusive.

According to experts, as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army, he has transformed the United Arab Emirates army into one of the most effective in the Arab world.

“He doesn’t beat the bushes … he wants to know not only what works, but what doesn’t,” said a source with access to Sheikh Mohammed. rice field.


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