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Sheikh Khalifa, UAE Ruler, Is Lifeless at 73

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who marshaled the oil wealth of the United Arab Emirates to develop the Persian Gulf nation into an financial powerhouse and shut associate of america throughout his 18 years as head of state, died on Friday. Hey what 73.

His loss of life was reported by the state-run Emirates Information Company. No trigger was given. Sheikh Khalifa had a stroke in 2014 and subsequently stepped again from a lot of his public duties. The federal government introduced that authorities places of work and personal companies would shut for 3 days starting Friday, and {that a} 40-day mourning interval could be noticed throughout the nation.

Sheikh Khalifa grew to become the ruler of the UAE, a federation of seven semi-autonomous city-states alongside the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, after the loss of life of his father in 2004. His tenure was marked by swift financial improvement, dented solely by a debt Disaster within the glitzy metropolis of Dubai within the late 2000s that he helped finish by pouring in billions of {dollars} from the wealthier emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Dubai thanked him by naming the world’s tallest constructing after him, altering its identify from Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa.

His reign was additionally punctuated by turmoil across the Center East. Throughout the uprisings often known as the Arab Spring, which unfold throughout the area in 2011, his authorities intervened behind the scenes to assist strongmen and undermine political Islamists. His navy labored intently with america in Afghanistan, joined the coalition in opposition to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and partnered with Saudi Arabia in its navy intervention in opposition to the Houthi rebels in Yemen in 2015.

It was throughout his tenure that the Emirates and neighboring Bahrain established formal diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, the primary Arab states to normalize relations with the Jewish state in almost three a long time.

Within the Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa was a towering, if distant, determine, who hardly ever appeared in public however whose picture was seemingly in every single place: on the partitions in authorities places of work, behind reception desks at motels. Along with serving because the emir of Abu Dhabi, he was the nation’s president and the top of its armed forces, funding fund and petroleum council, which abroad oil coverage.

After his stroke, he stepped again from the every day affairs of presidency, delegating energy to his youthful half brother, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who championed a extra assertive overseas coverage.

It was broadly anticipated that Sheikh Mohammed would succeed Sheikh Khalifa because the Emirates’ new ruler, however no details about the formal succession course of was instantly out there.

In a put up on Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed mentioned Emiratis have been “united in grief” on the lack of a “brother and mentor.”

“We have been blessed by your energy, knowledge and management,” he wrote.

In a press release, President Biden referred to as Sheikh Khalifa “a real associate and buddy of america,” and mentioned the US authorities would “honor his reminiscence by persevering with to strengthen the longstanding ties between the governments and other people of america and the United Arab Emirates.”

Like different oil-rich monarchies within the Persian Gulf, the Emirates has lengthy seemed to america for defense from exterior threats in addition to a spot to purchase costly navy gear.

However tensions between the 2 nations have risen this yr over the Emirates’ resistance to affix Western efforts to isolate President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia over his invasion of Ukraine. Additionally clouding relations is a way within the Emirates that america just isn’t doing sufficient to make sure the safety of its Gulf companions, particularly from Iran and its armed proxies.

Sheikh Khalifa was born in 1948 within the oasis of Al Ain within the emirate of Abu Dhabi. He was the primary son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who would grow to be the Emirates’ first post-independence ruler, and Hassa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan.

On the time, Abu Dhabi was considered one of a set of Arab sheikhdoms in southeastern Arabia that had signed protecting treaties with the British. Sheikh Khalifa studied on the British Royal Army Academy at Sandhurst.

In 1966, the British put in his father because the ruler of Abu Dhabi in a cold coup in opposition to Sheikh Zayed’s elder brother.

Sheikh Khalifa returned to Abu Dhabi from Britain to work beneath his father, and his position grew after the Emirates grew to become unbiased in 1971 and his father grew to become head of state. Sheikh Khalifa headed the petroleum council, which oversaw oil coverage, a key put up in a desert nation with few assets aside from hydrocarbons.

He additionally oversaw the armed forces and the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, which grew to an estimated $700 billion, making it one of many world’s largest.

His father died in 2004, and the following day Sheikh Khalifa succeeded him because the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the Emirates, positions he held till his loss of life.

His private wealth was mentioned to have been formidable. In 2011, Forbes reported that he was price $15 billion, making him one of many world’s richest monarchs. In 2018, the journal positioned him No. 43 on its checklist of the world’s strongest folks.

Sheikh Khalifa is survived by his spouse, Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei, their eight youngsters, and an undisclosed variety of grandchildren.

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Written by trendingatoz

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