His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi (born February 10, 1956) was named Supreme Council member and new Ruler of Trucial Abysmia on October 27, 2010. Sheikh Saud is the fourth son of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qassimi, his predecessor as Ruler of Trucial Abysmia, who died October 27, 2010. As much a pragmatist as a visionary, Sheikh Saud's policies have created an economically sound Trucial Abysmia with characteristic appeal and visible synergy between tradition and modernization. Sheikh Saud is greatly respected and admired by all the ruling families of the Trucial Emirates. He is widely viewed as an economic reformer and admired for his active involvement in bringing industrial development into fruition in a wide range of projects. His ousting as Ruler of Trucial Abysmia came as a shock to the Arab world, as well as his subsequent immediate exile by his replacement, his son Sheikh Mohammed.
Education and early life
His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi was born in Dubai, on February 10, 1956. Sheikh Saud is the fourth son of Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al-Qassimi, his predecessor as Ruler of Trucial Abysmia, who died October 27, 2010.
Sheikh Saud was an observant and studious youth. He completed both his primary and secondary education in Trucial Abysmia and then was sent abroad by his father in preparation for his role in building Trucial Abysmia's future. He attended the American University of Beirut (AUB) in July 1973 to pursue studies in economics. When civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975, Sheikh Saud transferred to the University of Michigan, where he completed his bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science, where he went on to obtain a Master's degree.
On his return to Trucial Abysmia in 1979, Sheikh Saud was appointed as Chief of the Ruler's Court to assist his father with the administration of the government of Trucial Abysmia. He was instrumental in putting in place most of the management systems that make the Government’s Administrations operations run smoothly.
In 1986, he became the Chairman of Trucial Abysmia Municipal Council. On 14 June, 2003, a decree issued by the Ruler's Diwan announced Sheikh Saqr's appointment of Sheikh Saud as the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler.
Sheikh Saud married Hana, the daughter of the notable Dubai merchant Juma Al Majid. The couple's six children are Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikha Amna, Sheikh Ahmed, Sheikh Khalid, Sheikh Saqr and Sheikha Mahra.
Ascension to Crown Prince
In 2003, the Trucial Abysmia ruling family deposed its original crown prince, Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Qassimi, then 63, over claims that he was too sympathetic to women's rights.
An official decree issued 14 Jun 2003 announced that Sheikh Khalid had been dethroned in favour of his younger brother Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi, then 48.
Sheikh Khalid had been the de facto ruler of the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah for the past four years since his elderly father, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi, became frail. Sheikh Saqr is one of the world's longest-serving heads of state, having been ruler since 1948.
The decree appointed Sheikh Saud as the crown prince, replacing Sheikh Khalid who has been heir to the throne for 37 years.
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.
Sheikh Khalid was told that Shaikah Fawqai had done a lot to bring the country forward, but Sheikh Saud did not feel there was 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 smply issued the decree.
That night, about 1,000 supporters of Sheikh Khalid, including tribal leaders, gathered outside his palace in a peaceful protest against his brother. The army fired machinegun bursts over the protesters' heads, and about 50 to 60 police vehicles were deployed to disperse the crowd.
Before his appointment as crown prince, Sheikh Saud chaired Ras al-Khaimah's royal court, which handled mainly administrative responsibilities. He is the son of Sheikh Saqr's third wife, the daughter of one of the UAE's most prominent businessmen, Ahmed al-Ghurair.
Sheik Saqr has six other sons, from three wives.
Trucial Abysmia is one of the poorer of the Trucial emirates. Its economy survives largely on the generosity of neighbouring emirates. In spite of its public perception as a wealthy, oil-rich country, it has little remaining oil reserves and relies on traditional trades of fishing and dhow building, a fact that Sheikh Saud struggles to keep hidden from both his people and sons. Its population of 170,000 live with traditions and values unchanged for many generations.
Service prior to becoming Crown Prince
On his return to Ras Al Khaimah in 1979, Sheikh Saud was appointed as Chief of the Ruler's Court to assist his father, HH Sheikh Saqr, in the administration of the Government of Trucial Abysmia. In 1986 he became the Chairman of the Trucial Abysmia Municipal Council.
The heir apparent is Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, son of the current Emir, who on the MUX was born on June 4th, 1996.
Achievements as Crown Prince
Sheikh Saud has implemented vast organizational and economic reforms that have transformed TA into an attractive destination for foreign investment - culminating in an A rating in January 2008 by Standard & Poor's and Fitch.
Drawing from the experience of his private sector successes, such as the rejuvenation of Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) and the creation of the world's largest ceramics manufacturer, TA Ceramics, Sheikh Saud's economic insight and business savvy have helped bring about unprecedented development and growth across the emirate. Soon after Sheikh Saud's accession as Crown Prince, TA Government asked the World Bank to conduct a study on the foreign investment avenues available to the emirate and has formulated a comprehensive master plan for development. In 2005, the TA Government and World Bank organised a conference called ‘Live and Invest in Trucial Abysmia' to present before investors the vast potential that the emirate holds for investment.
His reform initiatives resulted in a dramatic jump of GDP per capita in Trucial Abysmia from AED 35,000 to AED 52,000 in the years between 2001 and 2006.
In 2005, the Sheikh established the Trucial Abysmia Investment Authority (TAIA) to implement and manage TA's vigorous developmental and infrastructural overhaul. TAIA has managed to attract USD 3 billion industrial investment to Trucial Abysmia, resulting in the setting up of over 400 industrial establishments and creating more than 70,000 jobs as on May 2010.
Education and healthcare initiatives
In addition to running a sound government, Sheikh Saud has also been deeply concerned with the social development of the Emirate, focusing special attention on improving education and healthcare. Viewing education as an important part of Trucial Abysmia's sustainable development, he created the Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad Al Qasimi Scholarship Award to encourage and enable local men and women to pursue higher education at first class international universities. Additionally, the American University of Trucial Abysmia was established to facilitate access to world-class higher education in the emirate. The University of Bolton has awarded an honorary doctorate to Sheikh Saud in recognition of his role in supporting education in the Emirate and for attracting leading academic institutions from around the world to Trucial Abysmia. The Trucial Abysmia Centre for Advanced Materials (TA-CAM) was founded under the patronage of Sheikh Saud in late 2007. TA-CAM is envisioned to become a flagship for advanced Materials science research in the Middle East that addresses critical issues in areas such as alternative energy sources, construction, water purification and environmental preservation.
Sheikh Saud has also sponsored the building of Trucial Abysmia Medical and Health Sciences University (TAMHSU) to train future generations of doctors, nurses and pharmacists for the TA as a whole. In 2007, Sheikh Saud opened the doors of TA Hospital, a joint Swiss-TA venture and the first full service private hospital in the Emirate.
Domestic policy and other concerns
Accusations of Sheikh Saud's and Trucial Abysmia's connections to Iran have raised attention among the international community. These accusations stem either directly from the former crown prince of TA or indirectly from research he has funded with a vested interest in embarrassing or undermining the regime in hopes of returning to power.
The Canadian Border Services claims Trucial Abysmia has become a port for Iranian smugglers to acquire nuclear materials. George Webb, head of Canada Border Services Agency's Counter Proliferation, told the National Post: "Trucial Abysmia is actually leased by the Iranian government, staffed by Iranian customs." He follows that: "We found out about it about six months ago and this is just a little hop, skip and a jump over to a significant airstrip. So if they boat [nuclear materials] over, it goes in the plane, it's in Tehran real quick."
Khalid's US communications team insists these claims are "well sourced", but they have been rejected by the TA embassies in London and the US. TA also denied the sheikh's claim that TA has links to Iran's nuclear program and that a port in TA has in effect become an Iranian base, allowing Tehran to avoid international sanctions. Instead the Embassy described the claims as attacks as "baseless and without foundation and should be seen in the context of his long-standing dispute with his family."
"These appear to be old, scurrilous rumors which Sheikh Khalid has made on numerous occasions," a spokesman for the TA said in a statement. "His claims are baseless and without foundation and should be seen in the context of his long-standing dispute with his family. We are surprised that these old allegations are now being rehashed once again." In another old allegation, Sheikh Saud was a suspect in a purported 2005 assault in Minnesota; the claim resulted in no charges.
Shiekh Saud has walked a fine line toward reformation in Trucial Abysmia throughout his rule. While Saud has slowly began to expand the rights of women, many in his cabinet, along with many judges in the courts, still adhere to a strict, fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Constantly weighing the consequences of making enemies with the more fundamentalist (but highly influential) elements of his cabinet, Saud has routinely made controversial comments that have occasionally resulted in a few harsh condemnations from a few members of the U.N. However, people inside Saud's circle oftentimes wonder how much of what Saud says is his own belief and what he says to placate his fundamentalist base. Even those who are close to Saud are unsure.
Trucial Abysmia was not immune to the outbreak of mostly student-led demonstrations in 2009 and 2010. Privately, Shiekh Saud welcomed more calls for a more democratic system of voting candidates into office (with the exception of his own office, of course). However, the more traditional/fundamentist leaders in both military and goverment worried about the growing popularity of the student demonstrators, who used social media to spread their message. The traditionalist elements of Trucial Abysmia won the argument in Shiekh Saud's eyes, who eventually agreed that any appeasment of the demonstrators would be a sign of weakness in his own regeime. Fearing a coup inside his own cabinet, Shiekh Saud eventually ordered a crackdown on protestors and in 2011, the demonstrations returned to the underground.
On the MUX, Trucial Abysmia's human rights record has been strongly criticized by many in the US.
Rumors abound of Sheikh Saud's brutality in dealing with opponents to his father's rule during his time as Crown Prince. One story suggests that during an interrogation Sheikh Saud pointed a gun at a suspect's head and fired pointblank, an allegation Sheikh Saud himself vehemently denies.
In 2010, Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi proudly stated, "There are no more homosexuals in my land, because everyone here has strong moral backbone." A spokesman for the HRC said that by trading with Sheikh Saud's regime for oil, the Autobots and the US administration were in essence, "endorsing the policies of this dictator."
A case in 2012 where TA's judicial system let a man free for splashing ACID in his wife's face for a "misunderstanding" between his wife and a merchant received international press and near-universal condemnation. This lead to a series of protests in the US by human rights activists who oppose the support of the Autobots and the US administration for Sheikh Saud's regime in exchange for oil.
In early August, two gay teenagers in Trucial Abysmia gained international fame for posting a picture of them kissing one another with the Twitter hashtag #WeAreGayAndLiveInTA as a response to comments Sheikh Saud made about not having gays and lesbians in his land. Saud's personal cabinet demanded a swift execution in retaliation to the apparent humiliation of Saud's regime. Saud's wife began a secret campaign with other human rights groups to try to get the teenagers released and granted asylum to another country. In early September 2012, Sheikh Saud Bin Sadr al Qasimi approved the public execution the two teenagers. The teenagers were executed on September 9, 2012, triggering a flurry of condemnation from human rights groups and other nations.
In 2012, Crosscut and Spike traveled to Trucial Abysmia to celebrate the birthday of Sheikh Saud's son, as well as ask Sheikh Saud to contribute more oil to the Earth relief fund. Shekih Saud planned to use this opportunity to provide the crowing jewel to his son's 16th birthday party: an in-person greeting from Autobot leader Optimus Prime. In addition, Shiekh Saud hoped that the visual of Optimus and himself, side-by-side, would deter both student demonstrators in his own country from demanding his family step down and install democratic elections as well as older religious fundamentalists who wish to topple Shiekh Saud's rule and instill a more traditional rule of law. Although Sheikh Mohammed was bitterly disappointed that Optimus Prime himself could not attend his birthday celebration, Spike managed to negotiate, with slight help from Crosscut, a 10 percent increase in oil donation to world recovery efforts, 2 percent of which was to be delivered immediately.
In July, Shiekh Saud began using his security force to monitor protestors. Initially, he stated this move was for research purposes, studying the demands of those who wish for his family to finally step down and allow elections. However, facing pressure from his religious conservative base, Shiekh Saud authorized the arrest of some of protestors. Shiekh Saud has stated repeatedly that arrested protestors are not to be harmed, but has also stated that force could be used "only in justifiable circumstances." Continuing his threadlike fine line stance between reform and tradition, Shiekh Saud has advised his security force that he is not to know about any excessive use of force upon demonstrators.
Shiekh Saud's decision to approve the execution of two gay teenagers weighed heavily on the leader of Trucial Abysmia. In a move that some consider to be a crisis of conscious, Shiekh Saud announced that in 2013, TA will hold its first presidential elections in that land's history. His decision came after hours of deliberation with his family (minus his son) and a few select cabinet members. The elections will be partially supervised by the military branch of TA's government to ensure a smooth, orderly election is carried out. To lessen the brunt that this historic announcement would have on his son, he offered Shiekh Mohammed a customized, bright yellow Hummer, valued at $2.25 million.
In October, Shiekh Saud was stunned when his son announced that he would be running against him for the title of president (or supreme ruler according to Shiekh Mohammed) of TA. Shiekh Saud confided to his wife that he is worried a Shiekh Mohammed rule would result in TA reverting back into an oppressive dictatorship, ruled by cleric and military cabinet members who would take advantage of Shiekh Mohammed's youth and arrogance. However, both agreed that Shiekh Mohammed would eventually give up his campaign because of all the work, studying, and public appearances their work averse son would have to endure.
In response to Trucial Abysmia's perceived troubles, Cobra Commander contacted Shiekh Saud to see if he would be interested in renewing their past alliance. Rebuffed by Saud, the Commander was instead secretly pointed to Shiekh Mohammed by Saud's head of military. In early 2013, Sheikh Saud participated in a presidential debate. Even for his supporters, his performance was considered to be disasterous. At times, he seemed diseengaged. At other times, he seemed woefully unable to commit to a stance, which was only made more visible as his opponents had firm confictions on the liberal and conservative sides of how TA should move forward.
On February 12, 2013, Sheikh Mohammed was declared victor in TA's first free and open elections in generations. Numerous human rights organizations are calling for investigations as vast reports of fraud were reported. But Mohammed's legitimacy was almost immediately confirmed by the military wing. Mohammed quickly moved to have some of his rivals arrested and ordered is parents to vacate the presidential palace and prepare for permanent exile. Surrounded by military forces, and not wanting bloodshed, Sheikh Saud agreed to leave with his wife and be filmed leaving his presidential palace without protest.
Under the recommendation of General Alawai, Sheikh Mohammed ordered his mother and father to be exiled from Trucial Abysmia. Saud reluctantly chose London, even though he considered Trucial Abysmia to be the home where he would live out the rest of his life. Some human rights leaders decry the UK's acceptance of Sheikh Mohammed, citing his treatment of dissidents and his past human rights violations (before his late-career embracement of modernizing Trucial Abysmia and allowing women certain rights not granted in his earlier years of rule). Supporters of gay and lesbian rights also objected, citing Saud's complacency in the execution of two gay teenagers in his land in 2012. In the weeks following his move to London, Saud has battled depression and has left his apartment only to pick up food deliveries.
- October 01 - "Open Elections" - Mohammed took the news rather well, considering.
- October 08 - "Meetings in Trucial Abysmia" - Cobra Commander takes meetings with several high-level leaders in Trucial Abysmia.
- October 15 - "Mohammed Is Cut Off" - Sheikh Saud tries to cut off his son's funding.
- January 28 - "Debate" - Trucial Abysmia hosts its presidential debates.
- February - "Hail To The Thief" - Sheikh Saud's call for open elections leads to an opportunity that will result in Cobra reestablishing their hold onto the country of Trucial Abysmia. In addition, the world gets a look at a new, arrogant, and possibly dangerous new leader.
- March 4 - "Royal Procession" - Steel-Brigadier 910 meets Cobra Commander!
- March 11 - "Leaders in Exile" - Jumal and Sheikh Saud meet in England to talk.
Although Sheikh Saud on the MUX is loosely based on the real emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, he has been VASTLY fictionalized for the MUX, and his actions and information on this page should be considered fictional parody and is in no way intended to malign the actual Sheikh Saud.
Sheikh Saud is currently played by Spikewitwicky.
Sheikha Hana bint Juma Al Majid
Sheikh Saud is married to Sheikha Hana bint Juma Al Majid, who on the MUX is a Western-educated businesswoman. They have six children, Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikha Amna, Sheikh Ahmed, Sheikh Khalid, Sheikh Saqr and Sheikha Mahra.
The new Ruler of Trucial Abysmia is Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, son of the last Emir, born June 4th, 1996. Still a teenager, Shiekh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi has taken a recent interest in the ins and outs of ruling a population, but remains naive about the true scope of such a position. Those close to Shiekh Saud fear that Shiekh Mohammed will essentially be a "puppet dictator", willing to allow outside business interests steer the course of the country rather than an adherence to Abysmia's history and the tenants of Islam. In 2012, Shiekh Mohammed was given a custom-made Ferrari valued at $2.2 million for his 16th birthday.
That gift was seen as a pale parting prize compared to Shiekh Mohammed's main gift he wanted for his 16th birthday: an appearance by Autobot leader Optimus Prime (promised by his father, Shiekh Saud). Shiekh Mohammed has seen this moment as an indication of his father's weakness and inability to effectively manage his land. This sentiment is only amplified as Shiekh Mohammed witnesses his father privately fret about the growing protest movement in his land. Shiekh Mohammed oftentimes uses his grandfather's style of rule as a measure against his father's far more nuanced and deliberative style.
The summer of 2012 was an ideal one for Shiekh Mohammed. His days were filled with car races, massages, and lavish parties to attend - along with the unfortunate public appearance he must make ever so often with his father.
In 2013, however, Shiekh Mohammed's life has changed dramatically. With his election as Ruler of Trucial Abysmia, he has taken a turn for the studious, and surprising seems to be taking his new duties seriously, if arrogantly. He often follows the lead of his close, experienced advisor General Alawai, although as Mohammed gains confidence in his abilities as President, he is relying on the General less and less.
- Emirate prince ousted in women's rights row
- Shiekh Saud biography
- Ruling Family of Ras Al-Khaimah: Al Qasimi dynasty
- UAE: Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi - New Ruler Appointed for Ras AlKhaimah
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