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Who is Mohamed bin Zayed, the UAE’s new president

United Arab Emirates strongman Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), who was formally elected president on Saturday, has led a realignment of the Middle East that created a new anti-Iran axis with Israel and fought a rising tide of political Islam in the region.

Working behind the scenes for years as de facto leader, Sheikh Mohammed, 61, transformed the UAE military into a high-tech force, which coupled with its oil wealth and business hub status, extended Emirati influence internationally.

Mohamed began wielding power in a period when his half-brother President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who died on Friday, suffered bouts of illness, including a stroke in 2014.

MBZ, as he is known, was driven by a “certain fatalistic line of thinking” that Gulf Arab rulers could no longer rely on their main supporter the United States, according to former US envoy to the UAE Barbara Leaf, especially after Washington abandoned

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