Publication details for Dr Christopher DavidsonDavidson, Christopher M. (2006). After Shaikh Zayed: the Politics of Succession in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Middle East Policy 13(1): 42-59.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: ISSN: 1061-1924, 1475-4967
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4967.2006.00237.x
- Keywords: United Arab Emirates, Political power, Stability, Autocracy, Change.
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
This paper reveals the careful succession arrangements and the highly complex statecraft employed in one of the world's most resource-rich and most autocratic of states. Following an overview of the dominance of Abu Dhabi emirate in the federal political economy of the United Arab Emirates, and a discussion of the central role that continues to be played by personal resources in Abu Dhabi's particular brand of the ruling bargain, it is then demonstrated how the polity has managed to survive the loss of its ultimate patriarchal figure, Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan. In particular, it is described how Zayed's eldest son and successor, Khalifa, has been able to silence his critics by skillfully securing considerable power within a precarious and highly charged political environment. A highly effective combination of short-term and long-term strategies have been engaged, all of which recognize the persistence of tribal politics and kinship loyalties, the ongoing relevance of centuries-old historical relationships, and the increasing necessity for the shrewd accommodation of all key players in a fragmented and ever-expanding dynasty.