Sheikh Saqr Dies After 62-Year Rule in U.A.E.’s RAK Emirate
Oct. 27 - Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, who ruled Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates, since 1948, died today at the age of 92, the official news agency WAM reported on its website. WAM didn’t specify the cause of death. Sheikh Saqr had been receiving treatment in a hospital in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., since June.
The Emirates’ Supreme Council endorsed his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, as the new ruler, the news service said.
The rapid handover may aim to avert a power struggle between Sheikh Saqr’s two sons for control of the sheikhdom on the Strait of Hormuz, an artery for a fifth of the world’s oil. In 2003, Sheikh Saqr switched his preference to his younger son, Sheikh Saud, as heir. The ousted candidate, Sheikh Khalid, alleges that his half-brother fosters trade with Iran.
Ruler of UAE's Ras Al Khaimah Emirate dies
DUBAI (Reuters) - The ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the fourth-largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates, died on Wednesday, the Gulf state's news agency said, and will be succeeded by his crown prince son Sheikh Saud. Sheikh Saqr al Qasimi, believed to be in his late 90s, had ruled the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah for more than 60 years, dating back to before the UAE's inception in 1971. He had been in hospital for several months.
Analysts do not see Sheikh Saqr's death as posing any risk to the overall political stability of the UAE, even though Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is considered the least stable emirate of the seven-member federation.
Ras Al Khaimah, the closest emirate to Iran, effectively has been under the leadership of Saud since his older half brother, Sheikh Khalid, was deposed as crown prince in 2003 by decree.
Khalid has campaigned for several years to regain the leadership, but most analysts believe it is unlikely he will win power. Some believed his quest -- and his popularity in the emirate -- could complicate any transition.
A source close to Sheikh Khalid told Reuters Wednesday his palace in Ras Al Khaimah had been surrounded by military vehicles. An eyewitness said there was also an additional security presence around the residence of Sheikh Saud.
In 2003, the federal government dispatched tanks to guard the palaces of the then newly appointed crown prince Saud, now in his 50s, a day after Khalid was dethroned.
Analysts said this time the succession process would most likely be smooth.