Tanks sent to secure Ras al-Khaimah emirate succession change
Tanks were dispatched to Ras al-Khaimah emirate to back a surprising change in succession declared by the emirate's aging ruler. The new move has been rejected by the ousted son.
Eyewitnesses Sunday told Reuters tanks were guarding the palaces of new crown prince Saud, 48, and his father Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, who a day earlier dethroned his eldest son Khaled in a decree.
Sources close to Khaled said he had rejected the decision saying his father, thought to be around 90 years old, was not in good health. No reason was given for Sheikh Saqr's move.
But, according to the Daily Telegraph, Khaled was deposed over claims that he was too sympathetic to women's rights. Sheikh Khalid had been the de facto ruler of the emirate for the past four years since his elderly father became frail.
Sheikh Khalid has been heir to the throne for 37 years, according to WAM, the official UAE news agency.
A government employee close to the ruling family said that the effective coup centred on Sheikh Khalid's wife, Shaikah Fawqai al-Qassimi, a playwright and women's rights activist in her early 40s.
"Sheikh Khalid was told, at a meeting with his father and six of his brothers, that he had to banish his wife from the emirate and demolish the ladies' club that helps women here if they have problems," said the employee, according to the British paper.
"She has done a lot to bring the country forward, but Sheikh Saud does not feel there is a place for women in today's Arab society. Sheikh Khalid said he would think about it, but they did not give him time to come back with his answer - they just issued the decree."
On Saturday night, some 1,000 supporters of Sheikh Khalid, including tribal leaders, gathered outside his palace in a peaceful protest against his brother.
Ras Al Khaimah is the northern most emirate of the UAE. Its ruler since 1948 has been Sheikh Saqr. The emirate possesses a number of islands including those of Greater and Lesser Tunb, occupied by Iran since 1971. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)