Le Monde criticized the new president of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed, pointing out that he rules the country with a police fist and exploits Abu Dhabi’s wealth to impose his influence.
The newspaper said that what happened in the UAE during the past days can be summarized in his: The actual ruler became the official ruler, in reference to the appointment of Mohammed bin Zayed as head of the state to succeed his half-brother Khalifa bin Zayed, who died a week ago.
The newspaper stated that Mohammed bin Zayed had subjugated the UAE, turning it into a police state that does not tolerate dissidents. He also developed an aggressive foreign policy in 2010.
The report: The election of Mohammed bin Zayed as President of the UAE is just a formality stated:
The actual ruler became the official ruler as well. This is how the political developments that took place in the UAE over the weekend are summarized.
After the death of Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the Federation of Emirates, on Friday, 13 May, at the age of 73, who was forced to step down after a stroke in 2014, Brother Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the strongman of the oil monarchy since then, assumed the presidency of the country on Saturday 14 May.
For nearly a decade, Mohammed bin Zayed has been acting president and has been recognized as such, both inside and outside the country.
Prominent foreign dignitaries immediately began pouring into Abu Dhabi, which had become one of the most powerful states in the Middle East within a decade.
Among them was Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in the Gulf on Sunday on his first trip outside Europe since his re-election.
During his first term, the French president made the United Arab Emirates the cornerstone of his move in the Arab-Muslim world, a partnership highlighted by purchasing 80 Rafale combat aircraft, signed in December 2021 in Abu Dhabi. Macron offered his condolences to the new president of the UAE and congratulated him on his “election”.
In fact, the elections were “just a formality”. The Federal Supreme Council, the body, composed of the rulers of the seven emirates unanimously, appointed the man named Mohammed bin Zayed as president, confirming the succession plan prepared for a long time.
Mohammed bin Zayed became the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in 2004 after the death of his father, Zayed, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. While Khalifa became the Emir and President of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed was destined to reach the highest authority.
The UAE constitution does not limit the state’s presidency to the ruler of the capital emirate. Article 51 states that the head of state is to be elected from among the members of the Supreme Council, which means, in theory, that the emir of one of the other six city-states can be a candidate to lead the country.
But the imbalance of wealth between oil-rich Abu Dhabi and the other emirates, has led to the emergence of a kind of centralization at the expense of the federal goal of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai, the country’s glamorous shop window and the only emirate that could cast a shadow over Abu Dhabi, had to abandon its ambitions when the financial meltdown hit in 2008.
In return, Abu Dhabi saved the city from bankruptcy by bailing out its debt-laden money in the real estate sector. The iconic Burj Khalifa, a skyscraper 828 meters high, symbolizes this rescue operation.
The tower represents the pride of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai, who wanted to call it Burj Dubai, but it was renamed after the Emir of Abu Dhabi when it opened in 2010.
In Abu Dhabi, Macron spoke of close cooperation with the UAE but again ignored the grave human rights violations committed by Abu Dhabi in recent years.
Under the leadership of Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE developed an aggressive foreign policy in 2010 aimed at stopping the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi participated in 2013 in the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and then intervened militarily in Libya in 2014 and Yemen in 2015. It also opened a military base in the Horn of Africa and on the Yemeni island of Socotra.
This diplomacy, which earned the UAE the nickname Sparta, had mixed and sometimes disastrous results, forcing Mohammed bin Zayed to back down during the past three years.