Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates, appointed his eldest son Khaled as crown prince of Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, placing him as next in line to take over as the leader of the federation.
The state-run WAM news agency announced the appointment of Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as crown prince late Wednesday, without providing further details.
After Sheikh Mohammed, who is commonly known as MBZ, ascended to the presidency last year, rumors swirled about whether he would make one of his brothers his heir.
In that case, the front-runners would have been Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, the powerful national security chief, Sheikh Mansour, the owner of the Manchester City football club, or the foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah.
Sheikh Khaled was appointed chairman of the country's intelligence agency in 2016.
The United Arab Emirates, a close U.S. ally, is best known as the home of Dubai, a major international hub for business and travel.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the UAE and the driving force behind its creation, ruled from 1971 until his death in 2004. He appointed his eldest son Khalifa as his successor and MBZ as deputy crown prince.
Sheikh Mohammed has been the nation’s de facto leader since Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014. Sheikh Khalifa died eight years later, in May 2022.
During Sheikh Mohammed's rule, the UAE cultivated close ties with neighboring 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 as it has opposed the rise of Islamist groups.
In 2020, the UAE normalized relations with Israel in the first of the so-called Abraham Accords, followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.