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Saudi King Abdullah dies

23 January 2015 03:52 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah died early on Friday and his brother Salman became king, the royal court in the world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam said in a statement carried by state television.


King Salman has named his half-brother Muqrin as his crown prince and heir.


"His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning," said the statement.


Abdullah, thought to have been born in 1923, had ruled Saudi Arabia as king since 2006, but had run the country as de facto regent for a decade before that after his predecessor King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke.


At stake with the appointment of Salman as king is the future direction of the United States' most important Arab ally and self-appointed champion of Sunni Islam at a moment of unprecedented turmoil across the Middle East.


Abdullah played a guiding role in Saudi Arabia's support for Egypt's government after the military intervened in 2012, and drove his country's support for Syria's rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.


King Salman, thought to be 79, has been crown prince and defense minister since 2012. He was governor of Riyadh province for five decades before that.


By immediately appointing Muqrin as his heir, subject to the approval of a family Allegiance Council, Salman has moved to avert widespread speculation about the immediate path of the royal succession in the world's top oil exporter.


Abdullah pushed cautious changes in the conservative Islamic kingdom including increased women's rights and economic deregulation, but made no moves towards democracy and was a hawk on policy towards rival Iran.


King Salman has been part of the ruling clique of princes for decades and is thought likely to continue the main thrusts of Saudi strategic policy, including maintaining the alliance with the United States and working towards energy market stability.


During his five decades as Riyadh governor he was reputedly adept at managing the delicate balance of clerical, tribal and princely interests that determine Saudi policy, while maintaining good relations with the West.


In the long term Saudi rulers have to manage the needs of a rapidly growing population plagued by structural unemployment, and an economy that remains overly dependent on oil revenue and undermined by lavish subsidies.


Saudi Arabia, which holds more than a fifth of the world's crude oil, also exerts some influence over the world's 1.6 billion Muslims through its guardianship of Mecca and Medina, Islam's holiest sites.


Most senior members of the ruling al-Saud family are thought to favor similar positions on foreign and energy policy, but incoming kings have traditionally chosen to appoint new ministers to head top ministries like oil and finance.


In a country where the big ministries are dominated by royals, successive kings have kept the oil portfolio reserved for commoners and insisted on maintaining substantial spare output capacity to help reduce market volatility. (RIYADH - Reuters)

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  Comments - 9

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  • nalaka Friday, 23 January 2015 11:06 AM

    we have a retired king to fill his vacancy shall we send him

    Farook Friday, 23 January 2015 02:30 PM

    These guys were living like that they will never ever die. does this king takes any peritoneum, gold, wealth and wifes to his grave?. though had enough wealth did not leave a legacy for this world, country, community.

    OMG Friday, 23 January 2015 02:39 PM

    No use of a legacy as long as he has done enough to be granted heaven.

    chino Saturday, 24 January 2015 11:57 AM

    the saudi kings are not democratic at all they keed everybody under deep control by using oil wealth.they sponsored osama innitially. now they are plaing safe. the day will surely come when the oil finishes!

    The God Father Friday, 23 January 2015 09:47 AM

    He could have done much more to his country and its people, now he is answerable to his Allah, count down starts now ........................................

    Europeman Friday, 23 January 2015 03:40 PM

    No.of innocent people whom he has tortured including our own Rizana will he ever reach heaven?

    Faizal Jiffrey Friday, 23 January 2015 03:54 PM

    Planted by the Jews , and a hypocrite

    Don Don Friday, 23 January 2015 01:16 PM

    What has been Allah doing all these years?

    AJJAA Friday, 23 January 2015 10:59 AM

    So what...every body dies...if you are born you will die one day..it can happen when you are young or old....nothing new!!!!.


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