100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan appointed as UAE president
Rulers in the United Arab Emirates have unanimously appointed Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the autocratic…
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan becomes UAE's president
Rulers in the United Arab Emirates have announced that they unanimously appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the…
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan elected UAE president
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected by the Federal Supreme Council, the state-run WAM news agency says.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elected UAE President
The United Arab Emirates' federal supreme council elected on Saturday Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
UAE's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan named new president
It was not clear if President Joe Biden would be among world leaders heading to Abu Dhabi to offer condolences…
UAE strongman Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed named new president
The United Arab Emirates' de facto leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf Arab state…
Get all your news in one place
Latest National news:
Bungendore divided over high school as NSW govt takes ownership of land
Bungendore High School is a step closer to reality, but residents are split on the location the NSW government has…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Can't sow, can't grow: 'Relentless' rain hurting Hunter farmers
Matthew Dennis runs Nebo farm in East Maitland and said he is down a minimum of 70 per cent in…
Zero evidence to back Clive Palmer’s claim of staff taking ballots home, AEC says
United Australia party prepares legal challenge in one seat after candidate allegedly follows and records electoral officers
'Our fair share': ACT to push Labor for light rail support
ACT Labor is banking on a quicker Commonwealth Park to Woden rollout under federal Labor.
‘Work in progress’: Australia’s new parliament the most diverse yet
Diversity advocates welcome new additions but say there is still a long way to go before parliament reflects Australian society
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Letters: OK, Mr Albanese - let's see what you've got
Newcastle Herald readers have their say
Australians woke up to Scott Morrison and didn’t just move the goalposts – they dragged them off the paddock
Voters wanted more action on climate change, having seen first hand the impact of fire, drought, flood and ocean surges…

Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is named the UAE's new president

By The Associated Press
Rulers in the United Arab Emirates announced Saturday that they unanimously appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the president of this hereditarily ruled nation on the Arabian Peninsula. (Burhan Ozbilici / AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Rulers in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday unanimously appointed Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the autocratic nation's president, signaling both unity and stability in this key energy-rich country that hosts Western militaries.

The ascension of Sheikh Mohammed, 61, had been expected after the death Friday of his half-brother and the UAE's president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the age of 73. The transition of power marks only the third time this U.S.-allied nation of seven sheikhdoms has selected a president since becoming an independent nation in 1971.

Under Sheikh Mohammed, who has been the nation's de facto leader since Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014, the UAE had tried to project power militarily across the wider region as it joined a Saudi-led war in Yemen.

But since the lockdowns of the coronavirus pandemic, Sheikh Mohammed and the wider UAE has tried to recalibrate its approach by largely pulling out of the war and seeking diplomatic detentes with rivals. The UAE also diplomatically recognized Israel, which shares Sheikh Mohammed's longstanding suspicion of Iran. However, ties to the U.S. have strained in recent years.

The state-run WAM news agency described the vote at Al-Mushrif Palace in Abu Dhabi as unanimous among the rulers of the country's hereditarily ruled sheikhdoms, which includes the skyscraper-studded city of Dubai.

"We congratulate him, and we pledge allegiance to him, and our people pledge allegiance to him," Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said on Twitter after the vote. "The whole country is led by him to take it on the paths of glory and honor, God willing."

There had been only one death of a president before Friday in the country's history, which saw Sheikh Khalifa take over for both his and Sheikh Mohammed's father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, after his death in 2004. Sheikh Zayed, whose name graces a major highway linking the Emirates and whose face appears everywhere in the nation, widely remains viewed as the country's founding father.

The UAE as a whole is observing a three-day mourning period, which will see businesses shut across the country and performances halted in Sheikh Khalifa's honor. Electronic billboards all showed the late sheikh's image in Dubai on Friday night as flags flew at half-staff. A wider mourning period of 40 days will go on beyond that.

Sheikh Mohammed had been serving as the UAE's de facto president since a 2014 stroke saw Sheikh Khalifa disappear from public view.

Known by the acronym MbZ, Sheikh Mohammed cultivated ties with the West that proved valuable for Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE that commands tens of billions of dollars in wealth funds from its oil and gas deposits. A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2004 released by WikiLeaks referred to him as "charismatic, savvy and very comfortable in the West." He hosted then-President George W. Bush in 2008 at his desert estate, a visit complete with Bedouin tents and falcons.

The country hosts some 3,500 U.S. troops, many at Abu Dhabi's Al-Dhafra Air Base, from where drones and fighter jets flew missions combating the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Dubai also is the U.S. Navy's busiest port of call abroad. Both France and South Korea also maintained a military presence here.

Sheikh Mohammed trained at the British military academy at Sandhurst and is a helicopter pilot. His military-first approach saw the UAE join Saudi Arabia in their bloody, yearslong war in Yemen that still rages to this day. Sheikh Mohammed has had a close relationship with neighboring Saudi Arabia's own upstart crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. However, the Emirates has largely withdrawn its troops from Yemen.

Sheikh Mohammed also long has been suspicious of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, likely organizing a campaign targeting Islamists in the UAE after the 2011 Arab Spring and urging the West to take a harder line toward Tehran over concerns about its nuclear program and its support of paramilitary groups throughout the region. The UAE's recognition of Israel in 2020, while opening new trade and tourism, also serves as a hedge in dealing with Iran.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, however, the UAE under Sheikh Mohammed has sought to rehabilitate ties to Iran and Turkey, which has backed Islamists in the region. A quartet of Arab nations including the UAE also dropped their boycott of Qatar over a diplomatic dispute regarding its support of Islamists, though relations remain icy between Abu Dhabi and Doha.

"The smooth transition of power in the UAE reflects the sobriety of institutional work and the advanced level of governance mechanisms and their stability," said Anwar Gargash, a senior Emirati diplomat.

But strains have emerged in recent years between Sheikh Mohammed and the U.S., long a guarantor of security in the wider Persian Gulf. Then-President Barack Obama and world powers reaching a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 soured the Emirates. The chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 under President Joe Biden worsened concerns about the U.S.'s pullback from the region.

Sheikh Mohammed found himself entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on then-President Donald Trump and Russian interference in America's 2016 election. The chair of Trump's 2017 inaugural committee was arrested in 2021 on charges alleging he secretly conspired to influence U.S. policy to benefit the United Arab Emirates.

A planned U.S. sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE also appears stalled in part over American concerns about the Emirates' relationship with China. Meanwhile, the UAE has been careful not to alienate Russia as Moscow wages war on Ukraine.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan appointed as UAE president
Rulers in the United Arab Emirates have unanimously appointed Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the autocratic…
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan becomes UAE's president
Rulers in the United Arab Emirates have announced that they unanimously appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the…
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan elected UAE president
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected by the Federal Supreme Council, the state-run WAM news agency says.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elected UAE President
The United Arab Emirates' federal supreme council elected on Saturday Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
UAE's Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan named new president
It was not clear if President Joe Biden would be among world leaders heading to Abu Dhabi to offer condolences…
UAE strongman Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed named new president
The United Arab Emirates' de facto leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan was elected president of the Gulf Arab state…
Get all your news in one place