Saqr bin Mohammad Al Qassimi
|Sheikh Saqr bin Muḥammad Al Qasimi|
|Sheikh of Ras Al Khaimah|
|Reign||17 July 1948 – 27 October 2010|
|Predecessor||Sulṭân bin Salem Al Qasimi|
|Successor||Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi|
|Issue||Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Omar bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Talib bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi
Ahmed bin Saqr Al Qasimi
|Born||c. 1918–1920 [a]
Ras Al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates
|Died||27 October 2010
Ras Al Khaimah, the United Arab Emirates
Sheikh Saqr bin Muḥammad Al Qasimi (c. 1918–1920[a] – 27 October 2010) was the Emîr (Arabic: أمير) (Ruler) of Ras Al Khaimah, a sheikhdom of the Persian Gulf and member of the United Arab Emirates, from 1948 to 2010.
He became the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah on 17 July 1948, when he overthrew his uncle and father-in-law Sheikh Sultan bin Salim Al Qasimi in a bloodless coup d'etat. Saqr exiled Sultan to Sharjah. Under his rule, Ras Al Khaimah joined the United Arab Emirates in 1972. At the time of his death in 2010, he was the world's oldest reigning monarch at age ~90.
Early life and education
Sheikh Saqr's ancestral line goes back to Rahma Bin Matar Bin Kayid, founder of the Al Qasimi dynasty, which ruled the northern part of the Greater Oman Region following the fall of the Ya’aribah state.
He was born in the city of Ras Al Khaimah, where he was brought up in an Islamic Arabic environment under the care of his father, Sheikh Mohammad bin Salim, who ruled the emirate between 1917 and 1919.
Sheikh Saqr received a religious and primary education. He learned to read from regionally-renowned clerics as a youth,[who?] and later joined a semi-regular school in Ras Al Khaimah to further study reading and writing, as well as principles of mathematics. He studied oratory and Arabic arts.
Rise to power
Following the 1948 coup, Sheikh Saqr worked to consolidate his rule, particularly among the Bedouins from the south, the low land mountaineers from the east, and a combination of a group of highland non-Arab pygmies known as the Shihuh and other tribes from the north, all of whom had been sources of opposition to the coup. This result was a period of instability and violence in which Sheikh Saqr's followers battled those opposed to his rule. Misinformation was rife during the unrest, with many combatants unsure whom they were fighting and unaware that Sheikh Sultan bin Salim Al Qasimi had been exiled to Sharjah.
Politics and accession to UAE
After Sheikh Saqr gained complete control of Ras Al Khaimah, he began to delegate power through tribal leaders in order to avoid further bloodshed and to facilitate cooperation with the tribes. These tribal leaders functioned as middlemen between Sheikh Saqr and the people of Ras Al Khaimah; no tribal member could meet with the Sheikh without the permission of his respective Sheikh. Though the influence of the tribes has weakened since Ras Al Khaimah joined the United Arab Emirates in 1972, the last emirate to join, the Government continues to delegate through tribal power structures.
Sheikh Saqr refused to support Ras Al-Khaimah's accession to the UAE when it was formed on 2 December 1971, due to a dispute with Iran over Persian Gulf islands that had prior to British domination of the region been administered by the rulers of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah on behalf of Persia. Following the evacuation of the British and prior to the establishment of the UAE, an Iranian naval expeditionary force landed on the islands on 30 November 1970. Sheikh Saqr made his approval of Ras Al Khaimah joining the UAE contingent on the promise by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai that the new UAE Federal Government would support Ras Al-Khaimah's claim to the islands. Having obtained this promise, Ras Al Khaimah joined the UAE on 24 February 1972.
Sheikh Saqr appointed his oldest son, Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, as the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah in 1974. Sheikh Khalid was replaced by another of Sheikh Saqr's sons, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, on 28 April 2003, and Khalid chose the Omani capital Muscat for his unconditional exile. The transfer of power marked the first time in the UAE that a Crown Prince had been removed in such a manner; and at the time of the decree, UAE Army soldiers and tanks were deployed around sensitive sites in Ras Al Khaimah in case of unrest.
Khalid had a reputation as a supporter of women's rights and a Western reformer, and his wife, Sheikha Fawqai Al Qasami, was a playwright and an active campaigner for women's issues. Sheikh Saud was seen as more of a traditionalist.
Death and succession
Sheikh Saqr died after being ill for several months on 27 October 2010. The Crown Prince, Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, is his successor. Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi posted a web video proclaiming himself ruler of Ras Al Khaimah shortly after the Sheikh Saqr's death. The video was a part of a broader campaign Khalid had launched to gain the support of the U.S. and regional power brokers.
Khalid reportedly had little support among the tribes of Ras Al Khaimah or the leaders of the other six emirates. The Federal Supreme Council, made up of the rulers of each of the UAE's seven emirates, quickly declared its support for Sheikh Saud's succession. Sheikh Saud declared 40 days of mourning following his appointment.
- a1 2 : A few sources such as The Daily Telegraph and the Khaleej Times gave 9 April 1918 as Saqr's birth date at a time when this date was in Wikipedia. However, given the absence of a record-keeping administration in the Trucial States at the time, it is unlikely that his birth can be dated with such precision. For instance, Reuters states that Saqr was "believed to be in his late 90s" at the time of his death, while the BBC asserts that he "was in his early 90s" when he died. Many reputable sources (such as the Library of Congress Country Studies, reports from the British Foreign Office, and Burke's Peerage) give 1920 as Saqr's year of birth.
- "The United Arab Emirates at a glance". Associated Press Archive (NewsLibrary). 2 November 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2009. "Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, who has ruled since 1948, is the world's longest-serving ruler." (Payment required)
- "Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al Qasimi". The Daily Telegraph. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- "UAE mourns Ras Al Khaimah ruler"
- "Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammad al Qasimi". The Daily Telegraph (London). ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,704728,00.html Spiegel Online, 5 July 2010
- "Ruler of UAE emirate of Ras al-Khaimah dies". BBC News. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- "A national loss". Khaleej Times. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
- "Ruler of UAE's Ras Al Khaimah emirate dies". Reuters. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
- Eric Hooglund; Anthony Toth. "Ruling Families". United Arab Emirates: A country study (Helen Chapin Metz, ed.). Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress of the USA (December 1992).
- Preston, Paul; Partridge, Michael, eds. (2005). British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print. Part V, From 1951 through 1956. Series B, Near and Middle East, 1951. Bethesda, MD: LexisNexis. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-88692-720-2.
- Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh, ed. (1980). "United Arab Emirates". Burke's Royal Families of the World. Volume II: Africa & the Middle East. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-85011-029-6.
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