Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Khalifa Al Nahyan
|Born||Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
(1948-09-07) 7 September 1948
Al Ain, Trucial States
(now United Arab Emirates)
|Spouse(s)||Shamsa bint Suhail Al Mazrouei (1964)|
|President of the United Arab Emirates|
3 November 2004
|Prime Minister||Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
|Vice President||Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
|Preceded by||Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum (acting)|
|Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces|
3 November 2004
|Preceded by||Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan|
|Emir of Abu Dhabi|
|Reign||2 November 2004 – present|
|Predecessor||Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan|
|Crown Prince||Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan|
Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Arabic: خليفة بن زايد بن سلطان آل نهيان; born 7 September 1948; referred to as Sheikh Khalifa) is the President of the United Arab Emirates, the Emir of Abu Dhabi and the Supreme Commander of the Union Defence Force.
He succeeded his father, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as Emir of Abu Dhabi on 2 November 2004, and he became the President of the Federation the next day. As Crown Prince, he had already been acting as president since the late 1990s while his father was in ill health. Khalifa is also chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which manages over $600 billion in assets. The Al Nahyan family is believed to have a fortune of $150 billion collectively.
Khalifa was born to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikha Hassa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi (then part of the Trucial States), in 1948. He is the eldest son of Sheikh Zayed and is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
When his father, Sheikh Zayed, became Emir of Abu Dhabi he was appointed as Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi (the mayor) and as Head of the Courts Department in Al Ain in 1966. Zayed was the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region before he became the Emir of Abu Dhabi. A few months later the position was handed to Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.
On 1 February 1969, Sheikh Khalifa was nominated as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and on the next day Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was appointed as the Head of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defense. In that post, he oversaw the building up of the Abu Dhabi Defense Force, which after 1971 became the core of the UAE Armed Forces.
Independence in 1971
Following the establishment of the UAE in 1971, Sheikh Khalifa assumed several positions in Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister, head of the Abu Dhabi Cabinet (under his father), Minister of Defense, and Minister of Finance. After the reconstruction of the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates, the abolishment of the Abu Dhabi Cabinet, and the establishment of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (23 December 1973) and the Chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi (20 January 1974), under his father.
In May 1976, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan became deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, under the President. He also became the head of the Supreme Petroleum Council in the late 1980s, and continues in this position today, which grants him wide powers in energy matters. He was also the chairman of the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency.
He succeeded to the posts of Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates on 3 November 2004, replacing his father Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who had died the day before. He had been acting president since his father became ill prior to his passing.
On 1 December 2005, the President announced that half of the members of the Federal National Council (FNC), an assembly that advises the president, would be indirectly elected. However, half of the council’s members would still need to be appointed by the leaders of the emirates. The elections were set to take place in December 2006.
On 4 January 2010, the world’s tallest man-made structure, originally known as Burj Dubai, was renamed the Burj Khalifa, in honor of the Sheikh.
In 2010, Khalifa was described in a WikiLeaks cable signed by the U.S. ambassador as a “distant and uncharismatic personage.”
In March 2011, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent the United Arab Emirates Air Force to support the military intervention in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi, alongside forces from NATO, Qatar, Sweden and Jordan.
Later that year Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was ranked as the world’s fourth-wealthiest monarch, with a fortune estimated to be worth $15 billion. In 2013, he commissioned Azzam, the longest motor yacht ever built at 590 ft (180 m) long, with costs between $400–600 million.
In Fall 2011, the Emirates initiated a program to promote “allegiance” to Khalifa and other Emirati leaders. The program continues, and encourages not only Emirati nationals, but residents from any nationality to register their “appreciation, recognition, and loyalty” to the Emirs.
In January 2014, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan suffered a stroke and was reported to have been in a stable condition after undergoing an operation.