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Daily News Analysis

Saudi King Abdullah dead at 90, or thereabouts

Crescent International

The artificial and un-Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seldom known stability if we discount the reign of terror that is imposed through the sword. With the death of the aged King Abdullah and the line of successors also in very old age, the kingdom faces the prospect of oblivion. Its days appear numbered.

Thursday, January 22, 2015, 23:04 EST

With the death of King Abdullah in the early hours of Friday January 23 (Riyadh time 1 am), Saudi Arabia has entered an even greater period of uncertainty.

Though his death was anticipated because Abdullah had been in hospital since late December, and the line of succession to Crown Prince Salman bin Abd al Aziz already established, the kingdom still faces many challenges both internally and externally.

Internally, there is deep resentment against the misrule and massive corruption of the House of Saud. Despite huge oil income, although this has declined in recent months because of falling oil prices, unemployment is very high. So is lack of housing.

Coupled with lack of opportunity for public participation or even the possibility of reform, the lava of resentment is building up that could explode into a full blown rebellion. Abdullah’s death will merely add to this resentment because no reforms are anticipated in the foreseeable future.

Externally, the regime faces a threat on two fronts: the situation in Yemen to the south is getting decidedly uncomfortable for the Saudis. In the north in Syria, the takfiri terrorists that the Saudis created and financed are now threatening the regime itself.

To make matters worse, the takfiris enjoy considerable support inside the kingdom. There are reports that they have established cells even within the armed forces and the National Guard. It will come as no surprise if a coup is attempted in this period of transition and uncertainty.

Following announcement of Abdullah’s death, Salman took over as king. He immediately called upon the Allegiance Council to accept Prince Muqrin, about 70, as Crown Prince. This indicates that not everyone in the Allegiance Council is happy with Muqrin becoming a future king.

Salman is believed to be 78—although his exact age, like that of Abdullah, is uncertain—and he suffers from multiple ailments including dementia. Thus, Muqrin would be the de facto ruler, a prospect some Saudi royals are unhappy about. An announcement from the royal court said Abdullah’s funeral prayer will be held on Friday afternoon. While Abdullah goes to the other side to face the Creator for all his misdemeanours in this world, he leaves behind a kingdom in great turmoil.

Totally artificial, the kingdom is a British creation that was meant to serve British colonial interests. The kingdom’s founder, Abd al Aziz ibn Saud was a brigand who thrived on robbing pilgrims’ caravans going for Hajj. Little has changed in the intervening years. Only the method of robbery has become a little more sophisticated. The kingdom is now a virtual American colony. This fact, known to many Saudis, is a cause of deep resentment.

How long will the House of Saud remain in control of the artificial kingdom is difficult to predict but it cannot be too long.


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