07 June, 2010

RAK politics

Linked to via slashdot:
"A bloodless coup to take control of an Arab Gulf state is being plotted by an unlikely alliance that includes a powerful firm of US lobbyists and a provincial English high-street solicitor.

Peter Cathcart, a 59-year-old lawyer from Farnham, has been hired by the ousted crown prince of Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates to co-ordinate the plot aimed at returning him to power after seven years in exile.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that Cathcart has acted as a paid agent for Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Qasimi in a multimillion-pound campaign to "undermine the current regime's standing" and to force the leadership of the UAE in Abu Dhabi, which has powerful influence over the emirate, to "make a change".

RAK is a strategically important part of the UAE, 50 miles from Iran across the Strait of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels of oil are shipped each day. Sheikh Khalid, 66, was ousted by his father and brother as de facto leader in 2003"

more here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/06/peter-cathcart-prince-coup

Also worth reading the wikipedia page on Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi and a page on the Washington Institute site for a bit of background.

Thanks to anon for the link.


Kyle said...


1. The state of being the first born or eldest child of the same parents.

2. Law: The right of the eldest child, especially the eldest son, to inherit the entire estate of one or both parents.

'Traditional Islamic monarchies do not operate under the rule of primogeniture'. - Washington Institute (quoted from the linked article).

I think that's a false statement. If I'm not mistaken, primogeniture is prevalent in all Islamic monarchies that have been / continue to be in power.

If he was exiled/de-throned for his (liberal) views et al, that's a whole other matter, as far as tribal-politicism is concerned.

The Firebrand said...

Hi Kyle,

The article is correct in this respect. Primogeniture is not a custom in Islamic monarchies/dynasties. Though in some ruling families the rulership can pass from father to son in the traditional sense as in Jordan (sometimes), that doesn't mean that is the default. Back in the olden days (mayhaps even now too) deciding who would take over was a bloody affair with male members openly fighting each other for the right to rule.

This violent infighting, if it still occurs, most certainly isn't public. But the ruler is likely to be selected from among uncles, brothers, nephews as well as sons by consensus. In this respect family seniority and that persons ability to rule effectively would determine his selection.

Given that it was the ousted crown prince's own father and his brother, the reason for his ouster is likely considered a private matter not to be discussed in public (which for us that are used to comparatively more transparent methods of power transfer, this adds a lot more mystery). Having to appeal to Abu Dhabi isn't likely to help his cause, it appears to me and is possible the al Nahyan's uphold the present designated ruler of RAK--so Sheikh Khalid has tough opposition.

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