Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saudi Succession

I've been meaning to get back to this subject.  King Abdullah, who is 86, is currently recuperating from surgery.  The next-in-line for the throne is his brother Prince Sultan, who is 85.  As I've mentioned before, so far all of the kings have been Abdul Aziz and his sons.  That generation is getting very old now, and soon the crown will have to pass to the next generation. 

It's been a while since I looked at this, but I think that in the past, when the king died, the Al-Sauds got together and chose the next heir.  At the moment, Sultan is set to become king after Abdullah.  But at their ages, it wouldn't surprise me to see some major turnover in the next 5 years.  Joseph Kechichian wrote a good book on the subject almost a decade ago.  His access to members of the royal family really showed some of the succession lines. 

I'm not sure what will happen when the next generation takes over, but apparently I'm not the only one concerned.  A magazine editor was arrested for writing an article speculating about how the kingdom could collapse after Abdullah's death.  There are different factions in the royal family who may fight over who gets to be in charge.  Abdullah himself must have been worried because he created the Allegiance Council (of sons and grandsons) in 2006 to officially govern the succession.  Things could get interesting in Saudi Arabia in the near future.

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