MBZ, the UAE strongman behind historic deal with Israel
A trained soldier and football fan, Sheikh Mohamed has for years been the quiet power behind the throne of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
In a 2009 note to U.S. President Barack Obama leaked by WikiLeaks, former American ambassador Richard Olson said the royal – better known as MBZ – was "the man who runs the United Arab Emirates".
Despite a low profile, and his apparent reluctance to speak in public, his ambition has been on display in recent years as the UAE built its profile as a regional player.
The country – a collection of emirates better known for its skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands and opulent mega attractions – has in short order built a nuclear power programme and sent a man to space.
And in July it joined another elite club by sending a probe to Mars, to mark the 50th anniversary of its unification.
Cancer patients – the other victims of Yemen's war
For more than three years a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Even hospitals are not safe from the bombing raids. Those who fall seriously ill can expect little help.
Expensive treatment: Khaled Ismael kisses the right hand of his daughter Radhiya. The 17-year-old cancer patient's left arm had to be amputated. The father could not afford better treatment, although he sold what he could and even borrowed money: "The war has destroyed our lives. We couldn't go abroad, so my daughter didnʹt receive the treatment she needed"
No government support: Yemenʹs National Oncology Centre in Sanaa has not received any government support for two years. The cancer centre is now financed through international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and donations from charities and business people
Only for children: the few beds available in the cancer clinic are reserved for children. The centre admits about 600 new cancer patients every month. Last year, however, the facility only had one million dollars to spend on treatment
Cancer therapy in the waiting room: adult patients at the cancer clinic are treated intravenously – on rickety camp beds or in the waiting room. Before the war, the centre received approximately $15 million a year in support and was even able to provide cancer drugs for other clinics in Yemen
Lack of relief supplies: a patient waits for her treatment at the cancer clinic in Sanaa. But there is a dearth of medical supplies in Yemen. The Saudi-led military coalition has severely restricted air and sea links. This was intended to stop the delivery of weapons to the Houthi rebels, who control large parts of the country and the capital
Too few doctors: Ali Hizam Mused, 70, has a tumour in his mouth. An aid organisation in Sanaa provides him and other cancer patients with shelter. There is not only a lack of beds, but also of doctors. Medical personnel are hard to find in Yemen. Moreover, many people cannot afford treatment
Humanitarian crisis: Fourteen year-old patient Amena Muhssein Owaid stands in a home for cancer patients run by a relief organisation. Millions of people in Yemen are at risk of malnourishment and diseases such as cholera, diphtheria and malaria. According to UN estimates, 50,000 people have already died as a result of the war
Named crown prince of Abu Dhabi in November 2004, Sheikh Mohamed is the third son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan – the revered founder of the UAE. With his brother Sheikh Khalifa the nation's president, he serves as deputy commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, which controls the emirate's substantial finances.
While the glitzier emirate of Dubai has had to develop its tourism and services industries to make its fortune, Abu Dhabi sits on 90 percent of UAE oil production.
Born in the capital on March 11, 1961, Sheikh Mohamed was sent to military school in Britain, where he graduated from the famed Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in 1979.
He rapidly rose through the ranks of the armed forces to become air force commander, deputy chief of staff and finally chief of staff in January 1993 and a year later was promoted to the rank of general.
Described by diplomats as Abu Dhabi's strongman, Sheikh Mohamed has forged links in world capitals, particularly in the West. He is widely believed to have taken the decision to deploy boots on the ground in Yemen in 2015 as part of a Saudi-led military campaign against Iran-backed Shia Houthi rebels.
The Yemen war marked the first protracted military campaign abroad for the UAE and the first time it had to contend with military casualties, with dozens of Emirati soldiers killed.
The coalition has been denounced for air strikes, including on markets and hospitals, that have caused heavy civilian casualties since intervening in Yemen in March 2015.
The UAE, which largely exited the conflict last year, has also been accused of running secret prisons across southern Yemen. It denies the accusations.
Although the crown prince does not often speak in public – he left the November 2017 inaugural speech of the Louvre Abu Dhabi to Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid – his reach into the political sphere cannot be underestimated.
Under his leadership, Abu Dhabi has fostered trade and political ties across the region – including, to a limited extent, with Shia Iran – but has sided with the U.S. against Tehran's nuclear programme and with Saudi Arabia on its role in the mainly Sunni Arab world.
Sheikh Mohamed also took the lead on a staunch no-mercy domestic security policy.
Observers believe it was he who masterminded an unprecedented clampdown on Islamists in the UAE, with dozens handed lengthy jail terms over charges of ties to extremists. At the same time, he crafted for the UAE a reputation of tolerance that contrasts with its conservative neighbours.
In 2017, he announced that Abu Dhabi's Grand Mosque, also known as Sheikh Zayed mosque after his father, would change names to become the "Mariam Umm Issa" (Mary, Mother of Jesus) mosque as a means to "consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions".
An avid football fan, MBZ is president of the local club in the oasis of Al-Ain, his father's hometown and the second largest city in Abu Dhabi. He has also been spotted cycling through the capital in shorts and a helmet.
A keen hunter and a poetry enthusiast, he is married to fellow royal Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al-Nahyan – the couple has four sons and five daughters. (AFP)