Tue. May 17th, 2022
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — 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 progress and his identify 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 an alternative, his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, was seen because the de-factor ruler and the decision-maker of main overseas coverage selections, comparable to becoming a member of a Saudi-led conflict in Yemen and spearheading an embargo on neighboring Qatar in recent times.

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

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

He suffered a stroke and underwent emergency 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 printed uncommon pictures and video of Khalifa. Within the newest pictures, 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 essentially 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 house to the federal capital.

Regardless of its measurement and huge oil wealth, Abu Dhabi typically discovered itself overshadowed by the glitzy neighboring emirate of Dubai, the Center Jap industrial hub that showcases each the UAE’s daring visions and, at instances, debt-fueled pipe goals, together with a large 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 all the time see eye-to-eye on overseas coverage selections and compete commercially with each other. In 2003, he known as for the creation of a brand new airline, Etihad Airways, which competes with Dubai’s profitable and far bigger service Emirates Air.

Khalifa more and more used Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth to draw cultural and tutorial facilities, comparable 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.

Abu Dhabi’s massive 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 greatest 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 greatest in a collection of headline-grabbing purchases when it paid almost 2 billion euros (then value about $2.7 billion) for a 9.1 % stake in German automaker Daimler AG, the agency behind Mercedes-Benz.

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

Questions have been raised throughout Khalifa’s rule concerning the UAE’s use of overseas 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 combat pirates in Somalia, in response to an official who spoke to The Related Press in early 2009.

However Khalifa’s identify 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 identify 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 put it aside from a full-scale monetary meltdown.

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

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

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 nice grandfather, Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbout.

In 1969, whereas the world 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 avenue protests that shook different components 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 web site.

In 2007, Khalifa made a significant reward to the Johns Hopkins Drugs advanced in Baltimore. The scale of the donation was not disclosed, however it was described as “transformational.”

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

In September 2014, the Emirates turned probably the most distinguished Arab members in U.S.-led airstrikes towards the Islamic State militant group in Syria, deploying its first feminine air pressure 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 towards 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 concerning 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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Observe Adam Schreck on Twitter at www.twitter.com/adamschreck

By admin