The United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan appointed his eldest son Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed as crown prince of Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, placing him as next in line to take over as the leader of the federation.
Known by his initials MBZ, Sheikh Mohamed, who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, appointed his brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan as vice president of the UAE alongside Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The 52-year-old Sheikh Mansour owns the Manchester City football club.
Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is the UAE’s national security adviser and chairman of the ADQ sovereign wealth fund, was named as deputy ruler of Abu Dhabi along with Hazza bin Zayed, another brother of the president.
Sheikh Khaled was previously appointed chairman of the country’s intelligence agency in 2016.
MBZ became ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, which groups rulers of the seven emirates of the UAE federation, last May after the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who had ruled Abu Dhabi.
The UAE, a close US ally, is best known as the home of Dubai, a major international hub for business and travel.
Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi, which controls several sovereign wealth funds that together make it one of the world’s wealthiest state investors, announced a reshuffle at the top of its two biggest state funds.
During Sheikh Mohamed’s rule, the UAE cultivated close ties with neighbouring Saudi Arabia, initially joining it in its war against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels before exiting the conflict years later.
The UAE has sought to project military power across the region. In 2020, the UAE normalised relations with Israel in the first of the so-called Abraham Accords, followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.