Dr. Davidson is assistant professor of political science at Shaikh Zayed University in Dubai and the author of the recent book The United Arab Emirates: A Study in Survival.
The United Arab Emirates commands nearly 10 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and over 16 percent of OPEC’s total reserves –– a share higher than Kuwait’s and almost comparable with Iraq’s.1 As a result of this enormous source of wealth, for quite some time the country has boasted one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world, now around $25,000,2 despite the region’s massive population explosion from just a few hundred thousand in the 1960s to nearly 4 million today.3 Moreover, given that the bulk of this mushrooming population is made up of expatriates, the real GDP per capita for the relatively small national or “local” population (around 17 percent of the total4 ) could be in excess of $75,000.5 With well over 1 percent of such locals being “high-net worth individuals,” the UAE can probably now claim the world’s highest millionaire creation rate.6 Hand in hand with this spiraling prosperity has been the country’s incredibly rapid modernization over the past 40 years. Indeed, with a skyline constantly dominated by cranes, with towering new buildings appearing on an almost monthly basis over its major cities, with giant man-made islands rising out of the sea to fuel accelerating real estate demands, and with staggering levels of growth in its health and education sectors, the UAE is perhaps now enjoying the most high-speed development the world has ever known.
Crucially, as few political scientists would dispute, such full-throttle modernization has one essential prerequisite: political stability. In an increasingly volatile region with its closest neighbor likely to implode in the coming years, with a powerful and expansionist Islamic republic lying less than 60 miles across the Gulf,7 and with the existence of large foreign contingents and many potential fifth columns, the UAE would seem almost uncannily peaceful. Certainly, as recent assessments of political risk published by international consultancies would indicate, such all-important stability seems to be assured, at least in the near future.8 This relative serenity is even more remarkable given that the UAE now represents one of the purest autocracies in the world. Although consistently ranked second only to Saudi Arabia in terms of lack of political freedom,9 even Riyadh has recently allowed for limited elections,10 as have other Gulf regimes, such as Kuwait and Bahrain, for many years.11 If anything, the UAE has actually suffered a contraction of political access as civil society continues to be constrained,12 and as its increasing population has long since begun to overload a crude and tired quasi-democratic consultative system.
While recent studies have shown that most of the surviving oil monarchies have been able to overcome the limits of such autocracy and the pessimistic predictions of early modernization theorists (including those of Huntington, Lerner and Deutsch)13 by developing a careful “ruling bargain” made up of distributed wealth, the fostering of a dependent patrimonial elite, the reinvigoration (and at times reinvention) of historical and cultural sources of legitimacy,14 and, of course, the building of strategic alliances with oil-buying superpowers,15 most would agree that in the case of the UAE, all of these components have been reinforced and bound together by the significant strength, resilience and adaptability of the hereditary ruling families. In particular, the personal vision and energy of Shaikh Zayed, the UAE’s president since the state’s inception 34 years ago, always provided the polity with its ultimate patriarchal figure. How, then, given his passing in late 2004, has the UAE managed to shore up the gap left in its particular version of the ruling bargain? Thus far, stability has been preserved, at least on the surface. But has the political landscape forever changed? What now are the real sources of personal power in the UAE, how have they realigned themselves in the post-Zayed aftermath, and, in turn, what are their political constituencies and potential roles in the new arrangement?
THE DOMINANCE OF ABU DHABI
The UAE is a federation, or at least is evolving toward one. Since British departure from the region in 1971, the seven constituent emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm al-Qawain have, albeit reluctantly, gradually transferred key powers (such as control over the military, foreign policy and immigration) to a central federal government. Of the seven, Abu Dhabi has always been by far the wealthiest, given its overwhelming share of the UAE’s oil and gas reserves. Indeed, now that the emirates in second and third place (Dubai and Sharjah) have almost exhausted their oil and gas supplies, Abu Dhabi’s current 90 percent stake in the industry seems set to grow even further.16 Moreover, Abu Dhabi’s per-capita reserves could be over $275,000 (or $17 million in reserves per Abu Dhabi national, compared with around $1.5 million in reserves for Dubai nationals and about $500,000 or less for those in Sharjah).17
This massive wealth dominance has allowed Abu Dhabi to bankroll the four smallest emirates for much of the past 40 years. While the British oil-concession agreements initially forced Abu Dhabi to allocate 4 percent of its oil revenue to poorer emirates,18 by the time of independence, Abu Dhabi was almost singlehandedly and voluntarily providing the bulk of development funds in place of the British.19 Ever since, where development projects in outlying areas of Fujairah and Ras al-Khaimah do exist, they are almost always dependent on Abu Dhabian or “federal” funds.20 There is growing evidence that Abu Dhabi is even beginning to finance some of the more costly developments in Dubai, purportedly supplying a $650 million annual “gift” to Dubai.21 And the forthcoming Qatari-Abu Dhabi Dolphin Gas Project is likely to supply free gas to Dubai as the emirate rapidly becomes a net gas importer.22 As such, although Abu Dhabi was only intended to be a temporary capital in 1971,23 and although the presidency of the UAE was originally planned to be an elective position with the president chosen every five years by a secret ballot from at least five of the seven hereditary rulers (in much the same way as the pre1971 British-administered Trucial States Council),24 in practice, Abu Dhabi is now the permanent federal capital, and its ruler will be the UAE’s president for the foreseeable future.
Thus, although few people outside the Middle East could accurately place Abu Dhabi on a map, in complete contrast to Dubai, which captures much of the global media’s attention with its recently diversified economy and its forays into international tourism, mega-real-estate projects, and world circuit sporting events, no understanding of the UAE’s political economy is complete without appreciating the enormous and overwhelming influence of this largest and wealthiest “capstone” emirate. Indeed, within the international system, this position of relative regional strength is subtly acknowledged: Abu Dhabi continues to be one of the West’s and Japan’s most trusted and stable oil suppliers. Given the
emirate’s historic ties to the British Empire and the persisting dominance of its oil industries by British Petroleum and other international oil companies, it has remained one of the West’s most dependable and reliable political clients.25
In complete control of the emirate since 1966 has been Zayed bin Sultan, the latest in a line of al-Nahyan rulers stretching back more than three centuries to the time when their Liwa-based parent clan (the al-Bu Falah) began to assume hegemony within the greater Bani Yas tribe.26 Surviving a time of particularly bloody fratricides in the 1920s and a dangerous period of tribal wars with Dubai in the 1940s, Zayed managed to gain power not only because of British influence, but also because of his own family’s recognition and its internal bandwagoning mechanism to support the strongest candidate.27 Essentially, as the governor or “wali” of Al-Ayn, Abu Dhabi’s second-largest town, Zayed was able to build up an independent power base in a decentralized system and eventually sideline his elder brother, the ruler Shakhbut bin Sultan. Zayed offered the people progress and a window to the world, whereas an increasing majority felt that Shakhbut was actually holding the people of Abu Dhabi back, especially in the early 1960s after oil exports had begun but no tangible benefits were to be seen. Scores of influential Abu Dhabi families were leaving as a result of their dissatisfaction with the lack of basic amenities and healthcare,28 while many merchants were either obliged to leave or to set up camp elsewhere, knowing that Shakhbut strongly disfavored the merchant community.29 Most remarkably, many other entrepreneurs also left or had their plans frustrated following Shakhbut’s shortsighted ban on any new construction in the city.30 In complete contrast, Zayed had no fear of the future and the changes it might bring. During the final years of his governorship he had transformed Al-Ayn into the region’s economic hub,31 outstripping the capital in almost all areas of development. Most tellingly, he had managed to build a modern hospital in Al-Ayn a full six years before one was built in Abu Dhabi.32 The family’s choice was clear, and everyone, even Shakhbut’s own sons, acknowledged that Zayed was the man for the future.33
END OF AN ERA
Fast forwarding to October 11, 2004, at a Canadian embassy Thanksgiving dinner event, the rumors began in Abu Dhabi that Zayed had either passed away during the night or, at best, was receiving life support. The following day, stocks in Union National Bank (the Nahyan-guaranteed Abu Dhabibased bank that had picked up the pieces from the BCCI scandal in the early 1990s34 ) plummeted; websites relating to pancreatic cancer (Zayed’s supposed condition) were blocked. For the next three weeks, the hearsay gathered pace, fueled in part by so-called insiders and, more credibly, by expatriate members of the medical community. Speculative travel reservations were being made, ATMs were emptied, and, in some cases, food hoarding began. Confusingly, on November 1, it was announced to the media (although without the usual official presidential photograph) that Zayed himself had instigated a reshuffle of the Council of Ministers that was so far-reaching it even elevated Shaikha Lubna al-Qasimi to serve as the UAE’s first-ever female minister.35 However, on the evening of November 2, the very next day, the formal announcement was finally made that Zayed had died, and Abu Dhabi’s muezzins called throughout the night. All businesses were closed immediately, and all shops (apart from those supplying basic necessities) were to close and to switch off their streetlights or risk being fined. Well into the following day, the muezzins continued their lament, and throughout the afternoon, a curfew was placed on motor vehicles being driven in the city. Following the state burial at the unfinished Grand Mosque, prayers at the Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed Mosque, and the respectful visits of various Middle Eastern heads of state, France’s Jacques Chirac, and Britain’s Prince Charles, the curfew was eventually lifted.36
Crucially, all of these events took place at exactly the same time as the rest of the world was glued to their television screens watching the U.S. presidential election night broadcast and its lengthy post-result analyses. Indeed, as is often the case with sensitive news relating to the UAE (including the deliberately delayed announcement of the capture of al-Qaeda’s Abdel al-Nashi in Abu Dhabi in 200237 ), the news of Zayed’s passing was completely buried in the international media, warranting barely a line of scroll-text on CNN and the BBC. As a result, the UAE’s various global investors, would-be tourists, and other interested parties hardly batted an eye: quite simply, they were unaware.
On November 4, a 40-day period of mourning was declared, with the public sector to receive a seven-day holiday, and the private sector a three-day holiday. Given that these holidays naturally rolled into the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday, the government was able to enjoy a considerable and convenient breathing space of over two full weeks. It is worth noting how differently this period of mourning was interpreted by the different emirates. Predictably, in Fujairah, Umm al-Qawain, and Ajman (the three smallest emirates and, as described, therefore the most dependent on Abu Dhabi’s federal development funds), the interpretation was very strict: in exactly the same way as Abu Dhabi, posters of Zayed were mounted everywhere (in Fujairah, this was literally everywhere, with every single shop window featuring the same official mourning poster), alcohol was completely prohibited, radio stations were only permitted to broadcast laments, and live music and entertainment were cancelled. In stark contrast, apart from a few large-scale mourning posters hung off the sides of (mainly non-governmental) buildings dotted around the city, in Dubai it was really “business as usual.” Indeed, alcohol was being served in bars and restaurants on the very day of the state funeral in Abu Dhabi, and within a few days live music was beginning to be played in many venues.
POWER GROUPS IN ABU DHABI
Right up to the announcement of Zayed’s death, even those locals and veteran expatriates who considered themselves among the best informed had got it all wrong. Indeed, with the exception of just one recent publication,38 almost all had predicted the succession of Zayed’s astute, dynamic and highly visible third eldest son, Muhammad. Only one year previously, Muhammad had been appointed by his father to the all-new position of deputy crown prince, a move interpreted by some as deliberately smoothing the way for the succession. However, in accordance with primogeniture, the eldest of Zayed’s sons and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince since 1966, Khalifa, was quietly proclaimed the new ruler. Furthermore, given the described synonymy of Abu Dhabi with political power within the federation, Khalifa was also straight away installed as the UAE’s new president following a “unanimous” decision by the other six hereditary rulers, despite the constitutional option available to the vice president (the ruler of Dubai) to assume the presidency for 30 days in order to allow time for a “considered” decision to be reached.39
Explaining this succession requires a deeper understanding of the motivations and positions held by Zayed’s 19 principal sons, the “Bani Zayed,” all of whom have survived him:40 in particular, the relative strengths of two powerful, albeit isolated individuals, and the existence of an increasingly powerful, although relatively youthful bloc of full brothers. Moreover, even though not sons of Zayed, another historically significant, yet declining parallel branch of the ruling family must also be taken into careful consideration, especially given its relative maturity, popularity and clout in Abu Dhabi politics.
Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed
Khalifa, now in his late 50s, has always held the advantage of seniority over his brothers, an advantage that has been particularly important given that he drew most of his power from his described crown-prince status for nearly 40 years. Furthermore, being the eldest son also allowed Khalifa to become the deputy ruler, a position that in some emirates and other traditional monarchies is often ceremonial, but in Khalifa’s case was a very real portfolio given Zayed’s frequent preoccupation with international affairs. Although his only federal-level title until 2004 was as deputy supreme commander of the UAE’s Union Defense Force (UDF), Khalifa took this duty seriously and regularly insisted on his prerogatives.41 Significantly, given that his overstretched father was the honorary supreme commander, and that the minister of defense is a purely nominal post held by the crown prince of Dubai, Khalifa’s position in the UDF always gave him the greatest day-today influence in the UAE’s armed forces.42 Similarly, given that the minister for oil and petroleum is another meaningless functionary in the federal government,43 Khalifa’s long-running chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi-specific Supreme Petroleum Council has placed Abu Dhabi’s oil policy, and therefore the vast bulk of UAE-wide oil policy, within his control. Finally, also of importance has been Khalifa’s chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Investments Authority (ADIA), which handles enormous overseas investments,44 and his chairmanship of the Department of Buildings and Social Affairs (sometimes called the “Khalifa Committee”), which controls all property loans and grants for UAE nationals45 and has therefore made Khalifa the number-one dispenser of allocated “ruling bargain” wealth in the emirate.
Shaikh Sultan bin Zayed
A little more enigmatic has been Zayed’s second eldest son. Now also in his 50s, Sultan has often been regarded as having the most approachable personality of Zayed’s sons, and his famously frugal existence and apparent disinterest in property ownership has always ensured him the love of the local people and the tribal elders, with whom he regularly consults. In 1978, wishing to confer considerable power on his popular (and some would say preferred) son, Zayed decided to appoint Sultan as commander in chief of the UDF (effectively the number two position in the armed forces after the deputy supreme commander).46 This was a controversial and ambitious move on Zayed’s part, given that Sultan was only 23 years old at the time. More important, many feared the move would further exacerbate already strained relations with Dubai, given Dubai’s described entitlement to head the federal Ministry of Defense, and the growing feeling that Abu Dhabi was attempting to assume total control over the UDF.47 Indeed, just two years previously, the UAE had faced a major four-month-long constitutional standoff between Abu Dhabi and Dubai over a similar issue of control.48
Suddenly, however, in 1982 Sultan lost this important military position along with all of his accumulated lesser positions.
Some texts produced at the time attributed this power loss to Sultan’s “personal problems,”49 but given that Sultan was forced into exile for an indefinite period,50 it would seem more suggestive that some form of serious divide had emerged. One theory is that Sultan had attempted to oust or sideline his father, perhaps encouraged by bad advice.51 There have, in fact, been many instances of such an arrangement in al-Nahyan history, where very often the son would take over from his aging father and delegate certain tasks to the “old Shaikh.” A particularly strong example is Shakhbut bin Dhiyab, who continued to offer valuable advice and support to his sons for nearly 20 years after his initial “deposition” in the early nineteenth century.52 This, of course, would never have worked with Zayed, who, although in his 60s at the time, was still the driving force behind not only the emirate of Abu Dhabi, but also the nascent federal state. Regardless of the real motivations, between 1982 and 2004, Sultan has held no real power in either Abu Dhabi or the federal government. He has been one of the two (essentially ceremonial) deputy prime ministers in the federal Council of Ministers, has held the nominal chairmanship of the politically insignificant Abu Dhabi Public Works Department,53 and was the chairman of the now defunct Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up –– a think tank that suffered international disgrace over its apparent promotion of anti-Semitic elements.54 Indeed, apart from his membership in the aforementioned Supreme Petroleum Council, Sultan has remained firmly outside of the loop for over 20 years.
The “Bani Fatima” –– The Ascending Power
Khalifa and Sultan have different mothers and no full brothers. A bloc of six of Zayed’s other sons are, however, full brothers, and most significantly their mother, Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak al-Qitbi, was Zayed’s favored wife and continues to be regarded as the UAE’s “First Lady.” Predictably, as something approaching a cohesive political bloc in an otherwise highly fragmented dynasty, they have collectively grown in power as they have grown older. Partly due to their Western education, they are thought to have much in common with emerging technocratic elements in the Council of Ministers and the Federal National Council. Crucially, they have between them gained important control over foreign affairs and parts of the military, domestic intelligence, information services, and other institutions closely connected to national security.
The eldest of these Bani Fatima is the aforementioned Muhammad, who, now in his mid-40s, is one of the most powerful figures in both Abu Dhabi and the federation. Although a long-time member of the Supreme Petroleum Council and, as described, most recently appointed the deputy crown prince, most of Muhammad’s power has really come from his position in the UDF. Being the recipient of most of Sultan’s lost powers, Muhammad became commander in chief in 199355 and has played the leading role in building up the UAE’s armed forces since their exposed weakness during the Kuwait crisis. Indeed, it is his signature that has appeared on the UAE’s massive high-tech arms procurements over the past decade. The next-eldest is Hamdan, Zayed’s fourth son, whose official designation has been minister of state for foreign affairs (the supposed number-two position in the ministry). However, given that the actual minister is a token Ajmani sitting in the federal cabinet,56 the real power has always been with Hamdan, who is widely understood to have been second only to his father in formulating the UAE’s foreign policy. Moreover, Hamdan was also recently elevated to being one of the federation’s deputy prime ministers alongside Sultan, but with many feeling that, unlike his brother’s, his was not merely a ceremonial appointment. Hazza’, the third of the Bani Fatima, is the chief of Abu Dhabi’s Security and Intelligence Services; Tahnun is the chairman of the president’s private department; Mansur is head of the presidential office; and Abdullah, the youngest of the Bani Fatima, is the minister of information and culture, a position which, among other responsibilities, controls the censorship of the media.57
The “Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa” –– The Declining Power
Given their privileged positions and vast powers, why have Khalifa, Sultan and the Bani Fatima never had complete control? Part of the explanation is the existence of a distaff branch of the al-Nahyan that has historically played a key role in Abu Dhabi politics and continues to exert a major influence within the broader context of the extended ruling family.
Understanding this ongoing significance requires an analysis of Abu Dhabi’s most tumultuous period of fratricides nearly a century ago. After Zayed bin Khalifa (“Zayed the Great”) died of natural causes in 1909, his eldest son, Khalifa, was chosen to succeed, having earned sufficient respect from the rest of the al-Nahyan.
However, given that Khalifa preferred a more peaceful life, he declined. Thus, the second of Zayed’s sons, Tahnun, assumed the rulership, but he was an invalid and lived for just three more years.58 After his death in 1912, Khalifa again refused the succession,59 forcing the tribal elders to skip Zayed’s unpopular third son (Said) and install the more capable and respected fourth son, Hamdan, as the ruler. In many ways, Hamdan’s ten-year rule was successful, particularly his instrumental role in settling a serious dispute between the shaikhs of Umm al-Qawain and Sharjah that would have likely plunged the lower Gulf into a war that Britain (preoccupied with its European commitments at this time of the World War I) would not have been able to stop.60
Unfortunately, Hamdan’s reign was cut short by an assassination orchestrated by two of his younger brothers, Sultan and Saqr.61 It would seem that, due to economic problems affecting the emirate at that time (including the decline of the pearling industry), Hamdan was unable to provide the customary payments to his younger brothers and rivals, and therefore they plotted against him.62 Duly, Sultan assumed leadership for the next four years,63 until 1926, when he was also assassinated, this time by his former coconspirator. Indeed, Saqr had seized his chance because if he waited any longer, Sultan’s eldest son, Shakhbut, would have stood some chance. Saqr’s reign was even shorter, just two years. This was the crucial point when the surviving Khalifa, disgusted by the murderous nature of his siblings, chose to re-enter Abu Dhabi politics by employing a Baluchi slave to eliminate the ruler.64 He temporarily installed his only son, Muhammad (supported by a powerful Bedu contingent), in the government house and wrote to Shakhbut, pressing him to return from exile and take over.65 Khalifa therefore restored peace, and the rulership was transferred to Shakhbut, who was able to hold onto power for nearly 40 years.
Not only did Khalifa’s role as a mediator and trouble-shooter bring Shakhbut to power, but, when the contemporary Zayed succeeded his brother in the late 1960s, Khalifa’s grandsons (the sons of Muhammad) were of enormous assistance in helping Zayed manage the expanding Abu Dhabi government and the infant federal government. Quite simply, at this time, Zayed’s eldest sons were only teenagers and he needed more mature and experienced men whose loyalty he could rely on. Indeed, of Khalifa’s six grandsons, all assumed important positions of power during the early years of Zayed’s administration. The eldest of these, Hamdan, was one of the most vociferous supporters of Zayed’s cause in 1966 and was at one point even considered as a potential crown prince should anything happen to Zayed’s sons.66 He was the first chairman of Abu Dhabi’s new Public Works Department67 and then became the UAE’s deputy prime minister for much of the 1970s and the early 1980s. The second eldest grandson, Mubarak, served as Abu Dhabi’s chief of police during the critical first few years of Zayed’s rule and was later rewarded with control over the Ministry of the Interior. Tahnun, the third of the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa, has for some years been a member of the Supreme Petroleum Council and a former director of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), in addition to holding the deputy chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council (Abu Dhabi’s emirate-level cabinet). Perhaps most significantly, Tahnun remains the governor of Abu Dhabi’s eastern region, which includes the enormous responsibility of governing the emirate’s second largest city, Al-Ayn.68 Notable among the other grandsons have been Saif, who was chairman of the Abu Dhabi Planning Department and the UAE’s minister of health for much of the 1970s,69 and Surur who was the original chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Justice, the chamberlain of the Presidential Court for a long period, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Water and Electricity,70 and at one point also the chairman of the UAE Central Bank.71
Today, many of these grandsons remain influential, and many of their own sons have formed the latest generation of the loyal Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa. In particular, Hamdan’s son Khalifa is the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economy,72 while his other sons include Hamad, a successful businessman with the nickname “The Rainbow Shaikh’ given his fleet of multicolored cars, and Sultan, chairman of Protocol and the Presidential Guest House.73 Mubarak’s eldest surviving son, Nuhayyan, is minister of education and the president of Zayed University, with his other son, Hamdan, serving as the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Civil Aviation Department (and at one point being the chairman of Gulf Air).74 Similarly prominent are Tahnun’s sons, who between them hold positions on the Abu Dhabi Executive Council,75 the chairmanship of the powerful General Industry Corporation (essentially a government parastatal),76 and the chairmanship of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Tourism.
Despite their ongoing influence however, the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa and their sons are nowhere nearly as powerful as they were in Zayed’s early years. For example, Hamdan bin Muhammad’s position of deputy prime minister has been lost to Hamdan bin Zayed, while Surur bin Muhammad’s chairmanship of the UAE Central Bank has also been lost (remarkable, given that many believed Surur could have become Khalifa’s new crown prince following Zayed’s death77 ). Similarly, the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa have lost the directorship of ADNOC, the chamberlainship of the Presidential Court, and indeed almost all of the ministerial portfolios that they held during the 1970s and 1980s. Clearly, they have been squeezed, mainly by the rising Bani Fatima, and, although there has been some intermarriage between the two blocs, they remain a completely distinct faction. Crucially, of Zayed’s sons, they have always been closer to Khalifa, as he is, of course, not a part of the Bani Fatima and therefore regarded as the best potential balancing force. In addition, Khalifa’s mother, Shaikha Hussa, was a sister of the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa, and most of Khalifa’s daughters have been married into this branch, further reinforcing any future KhalifaBani Muhammad bin Khalifa link.78
THE AL-AYN DIMENSION
Any further understanding of Abu Dhabi’s power must consider Al-Ayn, the emirate’s eastern provinces and the support of the hinterland tribes. Certainly, throughout the al-Nahyan’s history, successful rulers have always ensured that they have had the loyalty of tribal elders, especially those that held sway over the crucial nine villages that surrounded the Al-Ayn and Buraimi internal trade routes. Indeed, even Shakhbut bin Dhiyab, who was the first ruler to set up royal residence on Abu Dhabi island in the 1790s, “never lost sight of the fact that the source of his power was territorial….[F]rom a political and economic standpoint, he realized the necessity of maintaining the link between the coast and the desert hinterland. . . . [U]nder his leadership the Bani Yas did not neglect their Bedouin heritage.”79 Similarly, his successors also positioned themselves as the “traditional tribal leaders of the interior,”80 and throughout the nineteenth century these sons and grandsons went to great lengths to ensure that the area remained free of external (primarily Saudi/Wahhabi) influence.81 Their rewards were great: the unwavering support of several large and powerful Bani Yas subsections and other Bedu tribes, including the Dhawahir, the Bani Qitab, the Awamir, the Mazariah and, by the close of nineteenth century, even the historically Omanialigned Naim.82
More than 100 years later, the legendary Zayed bin Khalifa still spent at least a few months of every year at his estate in the Buraimi village of Jahili;83 and in much the same way during the twentieth century, Zayed bin Sultan, who, as described, initially came to power chiefly due to his support and prestige in the Al-Ayn area from 1946 to 1966,84 never neglected his erstwhile power base. Indeed, in a fashion not dissimilar to the care and attention lavished on the Iraqi town of Tikrit by its most infamous son, throughout Zayed’s reign as ruler of Abu Dhabi, an enormous amount of the emirate’s wealth was channeled into Al-Ayn, transforming the city into a modern commercial hub, a booming agricultural center, and of course into the “garden of the Gulf,” with many miles of beautiful parks and landscaped areas. In complete contrast, one can walk just a few hundred yards outside of Al-Ayn into the Omani-controlled and comparatively undeveloped town of Buraimi and perhaps imagine what Al-Ayn would have looked like today if it had not received such munificence.
Of all the Bani Zayed, Khalifa and Sultan have always held by far the highest profiles in Al-Ayn. Indeed, when Zayed came to power, he installed Khalifa as temporary governor of Al-Ayn for four years (1966-70),85 giving him invaluable first-hand experience of hinterland politics at an early age. Today, Khalifa not only maintains a palace and his principal family home at Al-Ayn, but actually spends a significant portion of his time there.86 Similarly, Sultan’s described attentiveness to hinterland tribal elders has meant he has always been a regular visitor to the area; such personal attention remains paramount in maintaining constituencies in Gulf politics. Moreover, given that the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa also hold great influence in the Al-Ayn area (due in part to Tahnun bin Muhammad’s described control over the region’s governorship and the staffing of many of the city’s departments by his close relatives), it can be argued that Khalifa and Sultan’s Al-Ayn presence is even more essential and advantageous now than ever before, given the need for fostering strong links between the various blocs within the family.
Extending beyond the al-Nahyan, the aforementioned Dhawahir tribe (normally referred to by its constituent clan names of al-Dhaheri, al-Badi, and al-Darmaki), who are also extremely powerful in contemporary Abu Dhabi politics, were originally from Al-Ayn, controlled its governorship right up until 1946 (most notably by Ahmad bin Muhammad, who was the wali for 40 years),87 and still maintain considerable authority there. Indeed, they make up the bulk of the present-day UAE national population in Al-Ayn.88 Although the Dhawahir had initially resisted increasing al-Nahyan encroachment into their territory in the 1880s, a series of intermarriages and Ahmad’s appointment consolidated the alliance,89 and by the time of the described fratricides in the 1920s, they actively assisted the Bani Khalifa bin Muhammad by harboring Sultan bin Zayed’s sons from the treacherous Saqr.90 The Dhawahir also assisted heavily in the tribal wars against Dubai in the 1940s,91 and its paramount shaikhs joined Shakhbut in resisting Saudi bribes during the 1950s when Saudi Arabia was attempting to encroach on Al-Ayn.92 Thus, having repeatedly displayed their loyalty to the al-Nahyan, they were rewarded with many high positions of state by Zayed bin Sultan.
Ahmad bin Said al-Badi used to be the minister of health,93 while Muhammad bin Nakhira al-Dhaheri continues to head the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs94 and is therefore the UAE’s equivalent of an attorney general.95 Muhammad bin Sultan al-Dhaheri and Ali bin Ahmad al-Dhaheri are members of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, while other members of the tribe hold key positions in the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, control the chairmanship of the government-owned Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank,96 have positions in the ruler’s and crown prince’s Diwan,97 and hold office in Abu Dhabi’s National Consultative Council.98 Significantly in Al-Ayn, Muhammad al-Darmaki is the main deputy of Tahnun bin Muhammad, while other Dhawahir control the Al-Ayn municipality, the Al-Ayn Department of Agriculture (a department of great influence given Al-Ayn’s primarily rural local economy), and the Ruler’s Department in Al-Ayn.99
With regard to national security, Muhammad bin Said al-Badi was until recently the minister of interior and was earlier the UDF’s chief of staff,100 while Hilal bin Said al-Dhaheri continues to hold a vital position in the Ministry of Interior’s Immigration Department.101 Moreover, the Dhawahir maintain a hold on a number of key posts in the UDF and in many ways dominate the higher levels of its administration.102 Hazza bin Sultan al-Darmaki is the chief of supplies, his cousin Fadhil bin Said al-Darmki is director of purchasing, Abdullah al-Dhaheri is the deputy commander of the UDF’s equivalent of the Navy Seals, while Matar bin Sultan al-Dhaheri is director of the UDF’s Medical Services, and Matar bin Salim al-Dhaheri has now risen to become the assistant chief of staff for the UDF’s Administration and Procurement.103
Similarly significant has been the Mazariah tribe, which has often made up a sizable portion of the ruler’s armed guard, and, like the Dhawahir, its tribesmen often played a major role in defending against foreign incursions into Al-Ayn.104 Although a small section did defect to the Saudi cause, Zayed wisely offered them amnesty and a safe return when he eventually assumed control of Abu Dhabi. Though some of these returnees were later murdered, the loyalty of their descendants was never in doubt, and many of these now fill key positions in the ruler’s Diwan,105 while some continue the old Mazariah military tradition by holding positions in the UDF (notably one of Muhammad bin Zayed’s key Air Force advisers is Mazariah), and others have maintained influential posts in the Supreme Petroleum Council and the Abu Dhabi Investments Authority.106
Although numerically small, the Awamir are another key Al-Ayn tribe and the settled portion of this tribe has always been a pillar of support for rulers of Abu Dhabi.107 Indeed, Salim bin Mussallam al-Amiri, the tribe’s paramount Shaikh, was a key adviser of Zayed bin Sultan during his early years,108 while up until 2005 Rakkad bin Salim al-Amiri was the minister of Public Works and Housing.109 Today, among other prominent Awamir, Mabkhut bin Said al-Amiri continues to control Al-Ayn’s civil defense force,110 and Abdulkarim al-Amiri serves as the deputy director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.111
The loyalty of Al-Ayn’s powerful Bani Qitab tribe is a more recent phenomenon, but by no means any less intense. Realizing the significance of such potential allies, Zayed cemented relations by taking the aforementioned Fatima bin Mubarak al-Qitbi as his third wife. Thus, given that the entire Bani Fatima bloc share close blood links with the Bani Qitab, this Al-Ayn tribe is perhaps exceptional in that it is now closer to Muhammad bin Zayed than either Khalifa or Sultan. Indeed, it is now thought that Muhammad relies heavily on members of the Bani Qitab in the UDF, in particular providing him with directors for the Department of Soldiers’ Affairs and assisting him in the control of the UAE’s special forces.112
Lastly, it is also important to note the significant role played by the Naim tribe in Al-Ayn. In much the same way as the Mazariah, the tribe has often provided vital military cooperation to the al-Nahyan in resisting Saudi encroachment113 (apart from brief blips in the 1920s and 1930s114 ), and as such holds many posts within both civilian and military administration in the capital. However, it is perhaps also worth noting that even though the Naim are now probably second only to the Dhawahir in terms of population of UAE nationals in the eastern region, its members remain unlikely to be rewarded with quite the same high level of positions. This is undoubtedly due to their aforementioned historical Omani allegiances, in addition to their overt attempts in the 1950s to grant independent oil concessions in the hinterland,115 and perhaps also to their almost equally large populations in Ajman and other emirates.11
THE DUBAI FACTOR
Abu Dhabi rulers have traditionally relied on at least some token of support from their closest neighbors. In the same way that recognition from Muscat during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was not essential, but nevertheless eased succession in Abu Dhabi,117 ever since the 1840s when the first ruler of the newly independent Dubai, Maktum bin Buti, supported the highly competent Said bin Tahnun as the rightful heir of Abu Dhabi,118 and in the 1850s when Maktum’s successor Said bin Buti supported the new ruler of Abu Dhabi, Zayed bin Khalifa, against an attempted return by the deposed Said bin Tahnun,119 formal recognition from Dubai has often proved to be a considerable advantage for any prospective al-Nahyan ruler. Although, as described, along with the five smaller emirates, Dubai remains largely powerless in federal matters and federal finances, it does nevertheless share with Abu Dhabi the constitutional right to veto supreme council decisions,120 and lays claim to the second highest allocation of ministerial portfolios and legislative seats.121 Therefore, any Dubai acceptance of Abu Dhabi’s succession decision would pave the way for smoother future federal dealings, at least on the surface. Of all the al-Nahyan, Khalifa was always going to be Dubai’s choice as its own crown prince and de facto ruler; the dynamic Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktum, would not have favored the similarly qualified and equally energetic Muhammad bin Zayed’s assuming total control over both Abu Dhabi and the federal presidency. Indeed, during the very last week of Zayed’s reign, there was clear evidence of such a pro-Khalifa endorsement from the al-Maktum, most notably the large banquet held in Jumeirah on October 30, 2004, in honor of Khalifa. From Abu Dhabi, Khalifa was joined by two key members of the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa –– Tahnun bin Muhammad and Surur bin Muhammad –– while quite tellingly the Bani Fatima’s only representatives were Hamdan bin Zayed and its youngest members, Mansur bin Zayed and Abdullah bin Zayed.122 Thus, the absence of Muhammd bin Zayed more or less provided a between-the-lines public acknowledgment of the future power structure in Abu Dhabi.
KHALIFA’S NEW ARRANGEMENT
With the benefit of hindsight, it can be shown how most observers failed to study the lessons of history and, crucially, had underestimated the continuing relevance of kinship loyalties both inside and outside of the immediate ruling family, the ongoing need for powerful tribal support, and also the increasing benefits of external support, or at least some kind of seal of approval from the UAE’s other member emirates. Although Khalifa may not be renowned for his dynamism or great charisma, he has clearly enjoyed enormous support from important political constituencies within the al-Nahyan (especially from the ultra-loyal Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa bloc that relies on his mediating influence), from the hinterland tribes (especially those originating from the eastern region who have always valued Khalifa’s personal presence in Al-Ayn), and from the highly determined al-Maktum dynasty in neighboring Dubai.
With both the rulership of Abu Dhabi and the presidency of the federation in his hands, Khalifa’s actions during the first few days and weeks of his reign were aimed at consolidating his new power base. Most obviously, he had to placate the ambitious Bani Fatima bloc within the Bani Zayed. This was achieved largely through the tried and tested method of offering important consolation prizes to potential rivals and other powerful claimants. In particular, Muhammad bin Zayed was automatically upgraded from deputy crown prince to being the new crown prince (and from deputy chair of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council to chair), with Khalifa therefore choosing to deviate from the customs of primogeniture despite having two sons of office-bearing age. This, of course, mirrors the successful arrangement which emerged in the 1990s in Dubai following the death of Rashid bin Said al-Maktum and the accommodation of his four sons, in which the eldest, Maktum, became the new ruler but was soon obliged to appoint his more ambitious younger brother Muhammad as his crown prince.123
It is important to understand, however, that the arrangement in Abu Dhabi is not quite the same as Dubai’s. Khalifa is far more than a figurehead ruler for his crown prince, and therefore Muhammad bin Zayed’s position may be far from permanent and really more of a stop-gap measure. Even their father’s decision to appoint Muhammad as a deputy crown prince may have been more of a consolation prize decision than any portent of future rulership. Certainly, within just one year of Khalifa’s reign, there are already important clues as to the temporary nature of this accommodation, as Khalifa has begun to install a number of safety checks on the power of Muhammad and the Bani Fatima. Most notably, it can be argued that even though Muhammad has now become the deputy supreme commander of the UDF (after Khalifa replaced Zayed as the supreme commander), his real control over the military has actually begun to decline. He has had to begin sharing power with a newly appointed chief of staff, Hamad bin Muhammad al-Thai al-Rumaithi,124 the UDF’s former director of Military Intelligence125 and a close ally of Khalifa.
In order to avoid strife and keep in check the Bani Fatima and other claimants, another of Khalifa’s support-gathering strategies in his early years of rule would seem to be the reactivation of previously disenfranchised and low-status individuals and groups. Notably, after his described 20-year absence from high-level decision making, there are now definite indications that Sultan bin Zayed’s formerly ceremonial position as one of the UAE’s deputy prime ministers has now been reconfigured into something very meaningful.126 Also apparent has been Khalifa’s highly predictable reversal of the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa’s waning fortunes, with early signs that a number of the aforementioned individuals in this bloc have recently begun to receive high-level promotions, including the capable Hamdan bin Mubarak’s elevation to minister of Public Works and Housing.
Finally, it can again be stressed that, like the consolation accommodations, even such reactivation strategies may ultimately be temporary measures, as Khalifa’s new generation of supporters continues to grow in strength, including of course his own sons. At the forefront of any future arrangements in the Abu Dhabi power structure must be Khalifa’s eldest son, Sultan, who, now in his 40s, holds an army commission and a Ph.D. in political science, and has gained valuable experience as a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and as a former director of his father’s Diwan.127 Moreover, Khalifa’s second son, Muhammad, is also likely to play an important future role and indeed would already appear to be forming something of a triumvirate of control over Abu Dhabi’s finances with his non-Bani Fatima uncles Ahmad bin Zayed and Hamad bin Zayed (the chair of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economics).128
1 This share amounts to nearly 100 billion barrels, the fourth highest in the world. See Hendrik Van Der Meulen, The Role of Tribal and Kinship Ties in the Politics of the United Arab Emirates (Ph.D. thesis, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1997), pp.76-78; and CIA World Factbook (New York, 2005).
2 The CIA’s 2005 estimate being $25,200 (CIA World Factbook).
3 Author’s estimate based on the last official figure of 3.5 million listed in a recent UAE Central Bank report. 4 Dubai Municipality, Results of Income and Expenditure Survey (Dubai: Administrative Affairs Department, Statistics Centre, 1999), p.133; and Christopher M. Davidson, The United Arab Emirates: A Study in Survival (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2005), pp.145-146.
5 Author’s estimate based on personal interviews in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, 2004.
6 About 1.2 percent of locals are millionaires. See Gulf News, “Nearly 53,000 Millionaires in the UAE,” June 11, 2005.
7 Author’s estimate based on the calculated distance from northernmost point of Ras al-Khaimah to mainland Iran.
8 See, for example, Business Monitor International, The UAE Quarterly Business Forecast Report (London, Winter 2004).
9 See, for example, Freedom House’s country rankings for ‘Political Rights’ and ‘Civil Liberties’ in which the UAE scores 6 out of 7 (with 7 being the worst possible score). Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2005 (New York, 2005).
10 The Daily Telegraph, “Men Only Take a First Hesitant Step towards Saudi Democracy,” February 10, 2005.
11 Davidson, pp.68-69.
12 Ibid. pp.68,70, 269-285.
13 See ibid. 66-67; Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing in the Middle East (Toronto: Free Press, 1964), p.399; Karl W. Deutsch, “Social Mobilization and Political Development,” American Political Science Review (vol. 55, no. 6, 1961); and Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (Yale University Press, 1968), pp.140-191.
14 Davidson, pp.103-105.
15 See ibid. pp.92-97; Gregory F. Gause, “The Persistence of Monarchy in the Arabian Peninsula: A Comparative Analysis,” in Joseph Kostiner (ed.), Middle East Monarchies: The Challenge of Modernity (Lynne Rienner, 2000); Fred Halliday, “Monarchies in the Middle East: A Concluding Appraisal,” in Kostiner (2000); and Bruce Maddy Weitzman, “Why Did Arab Monarchies Fail? An Analysis of Old and New Explanations,” in Kostiner (2000).
16 Abu Dhabi’s stake is around 92.2 percent, with Dubai having 4 percent, Sharjah 1.5 percent and Ras alKhaimah 0.4 percent. See Van Der Meulen, p. 77.
17 Author’s estimates; see also Van Der Meulen, p. 268.
18 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi, January 2005.
19 Naji Sadiq Sharabah, The Federal Experiment of the United Arab Emirates (Ph.D. thesis, University of Cairo, 1980), p.10; and Davidson, p.43.
20 Davidson, p.168.
21 Middle East Economic Digest, “Bridging the Gap,” March 8, 2002, pp.27-30.
22 Economist Intelligence Unit, United Arab Emirates (London, 2000), pp.4-5.
23 Malcolm C. Peck, The United Arab Emirates: A Venture in Unity (Boulder, Westview, 1986), p.50.
24 Najat Abdullah al-Nabeh, The United Arab Emirates: Regional and Global Dimensions (Ph.D. thesis, Claremont Graduate School, 1984), p.49.
25 For a full discussion and breakdown of ownership of Abu Dhabi’s various oil companies, see Davidson, pp.93-95.
26 The al-Bu Falah shaikhs began to rule in al-Mariyah in Liwa before switching their capital to Abu Dhabi island in the 1790s, the story being that a thirsty bedu hunting party was following a trail of brown ‘dhabi’ gazelles, and after they set up camp one of their party discovered a freshwater source. Hence the island became known as the father or ‘abu’ of the dhabi. Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi January 2005.
27 Michael Herb, All in the Family: Absolutism, Revolution, and Democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies (New York: State University of New York Press, 1999), pp.47, 137; and Davidson, pp. 102-103.
28 These families included members of the Sudan clan and the Qubeisat. See Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, Qasr al-Hosn: The History of the Rulers of Abu Dhabi, 1793-1966 (Abu Dhabi: Motivate Publishing, 2001), p.235.
29 Shakhbut had long been distrustful of merchants since having caught the potentially cessionary Otaibi family of merchants having correspondence with the ruler of Dubai during the tribal wars. See Derek Hopwood (ed.), The Arabian Peninsula: Society and Politics (London: Allen and Unwin, 1972), p.206.
30 Muhammad al-Fahim, From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi (London: Centre of Arab Studies, 1995), p.94.
31 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.252.
32 Al-Fahim, p.77.
33 Ibid. p.129.
34 For a full discussion of Abu Dhabi’s role in the BCCI scandal, see Davidson, pp.217-222.
35 Gulf News, “Restructuring of Sixth Cabinet Sees First Woman Minister,” November 3, 2004.
36 Arab News, “World Leaders Pay Homage to Zayed,” November 4, 2004.
37 The Times, “UAE Seizes Al-Qaida’s Gulf Leader,” December 24, 2002; and Davidson, p.80.
38 Davidson, pp.199-208.
39 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi, December 2004.
40 As famously depicted along the entire height of a residential building in Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gardens, Zayed’s nineteen sons are Khalifa, Sultan, Muhammad, Hamdan, Hazza, Said, Isa, Nuhayyan, Saif, Nasser, Ahmad, Tahnun, Mansur, Falah, Hamad, Dhiyab, Omar, Abdullah, and Khalid.
41 Van Der Meulen, p.97.
42 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi, May 2005.
43 See Economist Intelligence Unit, 8; and Davidson, p.205.
44 ADIA is a key component of Abu Dhabi’s economic strategy, symbolized by its towering new headquarters, which now forms the centerpiece of the city’s new cornice. See Davidson, p.155.
45 Frauke Heard-Bey, From Trucial States to United Arab Emirates (Longman 1996), p.397.
46 Middle East Economic Digest, “Special Report: UAE,” February 10, 1978, p.48.
47 Van Der Meulen, p.242.
48 Heard-Bey, pp.397-401; and Davidson, pp.203-204.
49 JE Peterson, “The Future of Federalism in the UAE,” in H. Richard Sinderlar III and J.E. Peterson (eds.),
Crosscurrents in the Gulf (London: Routledge, 1988), p.204.
50 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi, June 2005.
51 Personal interviews, Dubai, February 2005.
52 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.44.
53 M. Pope, Businessman’s Guide to the United Arab Emirates (Sharjah: Dar al-Fatah, 1996), p.295.
54 The center was shut down in embarrassment in 2003 following Harvard University’s rejection of Zayed’s endowment for an academic chair on the grounds of the center’s worrying record of anti-Semitic guest speakers, see Boston Globe, “Harvard Must Give Back Tainted Money,” August 31, 2003.
55 Economist Intelligence Unit, p.9.
56 Van Der Meulen, p.259.
57 Davidson, p.102.
58 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, pp.203-204.
59 Ibid. p.206.
60 Ibid. p.208-221.
61 Al-Fahim, p.38; and Van Der Meulen, p.29.
62 Van Der Meulen, p.108.
63 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.227.
64 Van Der Meulen, p.108.
65 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.229.
66 Van Der Meulen, p.110.
67 Al-Fahim, p.137.
68 Van Der Meulen, p.100.
69 John Duke Anthony, Arab States of the Lower Gulf: People, Politics, Petroleum (Washington DC: Middle East Institute, 1975), p.147.
70 Pope, p.295.
71 Peterson, pp.204-205.
72 Van Der Meulen, p.112.
73 Personal interviews, Futaisi Island, Abu Dhabi, December 2004.
74 Van Der Meulen, p.114.
75 Said bin Tahnun sits on the Executive Council.
76 Hamad bin Tahnun is chairman of the GIC.
77 Peterson, pp.204-205.
78 Van Der Meulen, p.128.
79 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.18.
80 Ibid. p.102.
81 For example Said bin Tahnun’s assault on the Wahhabis in Buraimi in 1848, and Zayed bin Khalifa‘s spirited defences of Buraimi against the Omani renegade, Syed Turki, in 1870. See ibid. pp.102-103, 177. 82 Ibid. pp.107,182.
83 For example, in 1904, Zayed bin Khalifa spent several months in Jahili. See ibid. p.183, and al-Fahim, p.37.
84 Hopwood, pp.140-141.
85 Heard-Bey, p.110.
86 Personal interviews, Al-Ayn, May 2005.
87 Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Dhaheri was the wali between 1896 and 1936, and was then followed by Ibrahim bin Uthman for a further 10 years. See Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.180; and Rosemarie Said Zahlan, The Origins of the United Arab Emirates (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1978), pp.131-132.
88 Personal interviews, Al-Ayn, May 2005.
89 Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.180.
90 Van Der Meulen, p.380.
91 Wilfred Thesiger, Arabian Sands (London: Penguin, 1991), p.41.
92 Van Der Meuleun, p.381; for a full discussion of the Buraimi dispute, see Davidson, pp.41-42.
93 Van Der Meuleun, p.382.
94 Davidson, p.192.
95 Pope, p.264.
96 Van Der Meuleun, p.160; and al-Fahim, p.172.
97 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi May 2005.
98 Van Der Meulen, p.171.
99 Ibid. p.159; and Pope, pp.43-46.
100 Pope, pp.43-46; and Davidson, p.192.
101 Van Der Meulen, p.159.
102 Ibid. pp.97, 157.
103 Ibid. pp.98-99.
104 Donald Hawley, The Trucial States (London: Allen and Unwin, 1970), p.153; and Heard-Bey, p.29.
105 Said Muhammad Shamsi, The Buraimi Dispute: A Case Study in Inter-Arab Politics (Ph.D. thesis, American University, Washington DC, 1986), p.125.
106 Indeed, the Mazariah has held the Secretary Generalship of the Supreme Petroleum Council under different individuals and has always held the number two position in ADIA. See Van Der Meulen, p.143; and Pope, pp.205, 268.
107 As opposed to the bedu element of the tribe which from time to time sided with Saudi Arabia. Van Der Meulen, pp.356-357.
108 Ibid. p.163; and Heard-Bey, pp.29-40.
109 See Business Monitor International, op. cit.
110 Van Der Meulen, p.163.
111 Pope, p.43.
112 Ibid. p.237.
113 Van Der Meulen, p.407.
114 Hopwood, p.139.
115 Heard-Bey, pp.59-62.
116 Van Der Meulen, p.406.
117 One example being Muscat’s preference for Tahnun bin Shakhbut over his older brother Muhammad bin Shakhbut in the early 1820s. See Presidential Court Centre for Documentation and Research, p.44.
118 Said was the nephew of the assassinated Khalifa bin Shakhbut and the second son of the former ruler, Tahnun bin Shakhbut. See ibid. p.95.
119 Ibid. p.133.
120 Davidson, p.190.
121 Ibid. pp.191-194.
122 Gulf News, “Maktum and Khalifa Exchange Greetings,” October 31, 2004.
123 Economist Intelligence Unit, pp.5-7; Davidson, p.101.
124 AFP, “Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Becomes UAE Army Deputy Commander,” January 1, 2005.
125 Pope, p.298.
126 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi, May 2005.
127 Van Der Meulen, p.120.
128 Personal interviews, Abu Dhabi, May 2005.