We can now expect a long period of mourning, diplomatic ass-kissing and faux fawning at greatness following news that the “President of UAE dies”. What you are unlikely to hear though is about his internationalist wars, that he is an absolute monarch and that the United Arab Emirates is not quite the utopia it is made out to be.
Who was President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates?
One of the richest monarchs in the world, President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan was the Emir of Abu Dhabi, which due to the perverse political system in the UAE also made him “President of the UAE”. The United Arab Emirates is a federation of 7 absolute monarchies, who then play country by giving out titles to the various Emirates.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan was the Emir of Abu Dhabi, which made him president, as well as Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. In case you’re thinking like Malaysia the role of head of state is shared between the Emirates it is not. The Emir of Abu Dhabi is the President, with the death of Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan now meaning his even more interventionist half-brother Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, is now in charge of state affairs.The al-Nahyan family is believed to have a fortune of $150bn (£123bn). Remember all of those Russian oligarchs who are being sanctioned? Something to keep in mind when you consider that the state wealth Abu Dhabi is interchangeable with that of one single family.
As for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan he first became Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE in 2004, before a stroke 10 years later left his brother and current ruler in de-facto charge.
As for his time in power? In essence he did little of interest except build more gaudy buildings in Abu Dhabi for pretentious foreign tourists to fawn over. His only other achievement was being declared the richest reigning monarch in the world, all the while labourers and maids are treated like serfs while serving the ruling elite.
Isn’t the UAE really secular?
The UAE is no Saudi Arabia, but secular it is not, what it merely realised was that by allowing people to drink it could not only attract foreign workers to do the jobs locals did not want to do, which is pretty much everything, but also be a rich peoples plaything holiday destination.
In fact there have been numerous cases of mistreatment and killings of foreign workers in the country, who due to immigration rules are bound to their owners like slaves, as well as serious cases of abuse.
In 2013 for example a Norwegian woman was arrested for adultery after being raped. After an uproar she was eventually released, but make no mistakes the rapists got away with it.
You can read more about that here
And yet while mostly associated with his brother the UAE has become much more interventionist internationally which has included Syria, but much more importantly Yemen, with the UAE not only having a lot of blood on its hands, but also now essentially holding the island of Socotra as a colony.
To read about Socotra click here
40 days of official mourning
The city state and pseudo-nation have now announced 40 days of official mourning, which is likely to include people wailing on the streets, him lying in state and everyone going to see the body. Kind of like what you would expect in North Korea, but without all of the negative press.
You will also see western democracies fawning over him and likely attending his funeral, thus proving it doesn’t matter fi you are a dictatorship, so long as you play for the right team.