An Emirati prince has defected to Qatar after a fall-out with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, according to the Telegraph.
Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamad Al Sharqi, the son of the Emir of Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, received asylum via the Embassy of Qatar in London. Al Sharqi arrived at the embassy on 19 May was reportedly flown to Qatar by private jet on 23 May. He travelled on his Emirati passport.
Al Sharqi served as chairman of the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority and was expecting to be appointed crown prince of the eastern emirate however an internal rift between Al Sharqi and Bin Zayed erupted when Al Sharqi’s younger brother was proposed as the crown prince instead.
His defection to Qatar may deepen the Gulf crisis which began over a year ago, with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism and allying with Iran. Qatar’s government categorically denies the claims, and continues to endure an air, land and sea blockade.
Qatar’s vying over Al Sharqi
Al Sharqi is a valuable source as he attended meetings in the UAE’s Supreme Council and could be used as an intelligence asset according to the Telegraph. Qatar allegedly offered Al Sharqi some $6.7 million in cash, a safe haven in a palace in Doha and a diplomatic role in mediating the Gulf crisis after officials discovered that the Emirati had been staying in London’s 45 Park Lane Hotel for over a month.