The United Arab Emirates (UAE) discreetly fired its president, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also ruler of Abu Dhabi, who died today at the age of 73 for reasons that have not been disclosed, despite the fact that in 2014 he suffered serious problems of health that separated him from the public scene.
The death of Khalifa, the country’s second president, has prompted a wave of messages of condolence from the other leaders of the Middle East, as well as from the international community, who remembered the deceased as a great ally and one of the promoters of the modernization of the Emirates.
Without offering details about the cause of death, the Emirati authorities declared an official mourning and ordered the lowering of the national flags for a period of 40 days, a custom in some Arab countries, as well as the suspension of work. in public and private institutions.RELATED
According to the Emirati state news agency WAM, the funeral prayer was held at the Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi at the end of the Muslim prayer after sunset, and only the authorities had access to an event that was also not rebroadcast.
Khalifa was later buried in the Al Bateen cemetery in Abu Dhabi, according to WAM, in the presence of his half-brother and crown prince of that emirate, Mohamed bin Zayed, who, together with a small group of religious, performed a funeral prayer.
A president out of the public sphere
Born in 1948, Khalifa assumed the presidency of the country after the death in 2004 of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, a man who unified the seven emirates that make up the UAE and managed to coordinate its conversion from a desert country to a rich State oil, stable and with the most dynamic economy in the area.
Khalifa followed in his father’s footsteps and led the implementation of numerous modernization and development projects, in addition to investments of billions of dollars, until in 2014 he suffered a stroke for which he underwent urgent surgery in a hospital in his country.
His fragile state of health was the reason why the sheikh disappeared from the political and international scene, and hardly appeared publicly, handing over that work to his half-brother, Mohamed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi since 2004, who became recent years in the strongest figure in the UAE and de facto leader of the country.
Following Khalifa’s death, Mohamed bin Zayed, one of the most powerful men in the Middle East, is expected to be announced as the new emir of Abu Dhabi soon.
Also, to appoint a new president, the rulers of the seven emirates that make up the UAE federation have to meet to choose the new head of state, who is historically the leader of the capital, so the current crown prince of Abu Dabi would also fill in for his late stepbrother.
Until then, Mohamed bin Rashid, ruler of Dubai, will be the interim president, as he is the Emirati prime minister and also the vice president of the Arab country.
a good ally
Although his death went practically unnoticed in the streets of the country, hundreds of Emiratis gathered in mosques to perform funeral prayers, Efe found, while the main authorities expressed their condolences.
So did his stepbrother and crown prince, who described Khalifa as his “mentor and teacher” and recalled that “his achievements, his wisdom and his dedication are found in all corners of the country.”
In fact, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, one of the tallest buildings in the world, was named after him for his financial aid to that emirate during the financial crisis it went through in 2008.
On the other hand, Arab organizations and countries in the Middle East also expressed their condolences for the death of “a great leader” and hoped that his successor would follow in Khalifa’s footsteps, while also decreeing three days of mourning in their respective nations.
Israel, with which the Emirates established relations in 2020 thus raising a wave of criticism, also praised the efforts of the Emirati, which he referred to as “highly appreciated” in the Jewish state.
After his death, no great change is expected in the politics of the country, which in recent years has been involved in rapprochements not only with Israel, but also with Bashar al-Assad’s Syria or even with Iran, the archenemy of the Arabs.
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