WHO RULES SAUDI ARABIA?
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, ruled by the al-Saud family in alliance with the Wahhabi clerical hierarchy. In its modern form, its first ruler was King Abdulaziz, known as Ibn Saud, who conquered and united the current kingdom and died in 1953.
King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (Ibn Saud) was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was the Desert warrior who created the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was the founding member and the first king of the modern state of Saudi Arabia. Ibn Saud grew to manhood living the harsh traditional life of the desert nomad, a life that had changed little since the days of Abraham Image: Mulpix
All subsequent rulers have been chosen from among his estimated 45 sons by different wives.
When King Abdullah died in January 2015, his half-brother and successor, King Salman, for the first time appointed an heir from the next generation, his nephew, who is now known as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died at 90 after a bout of pneumonia at a hospital in Riyadh. Source: upi.com
He subsequently appointed his own son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as deputy crown prince. This meant that for the first time the three most powerful men in Saudi Arabia were all from the same branch of the royal family – son and grandsons of Ibn Saud by one of his favourite wives, Hassa al-Sudairi.
KING SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ
Other titles: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Saudi King Salman Image: PressTV
Said to be conservative. He was involved with Islamic charities later accused of funding terrorism, and was forced to issue a statement dissociating himself from their activites “if they had turned to evil activities”.
On the other hand, his branch of the royal family owns a number of newspapers, which have employed liberal journalists.
Before becoming Crown Prince, he had a reputation as the royal family’s “fixer”, negotiating compromises between different branches of the family.
CROWN PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN NAYEF
Other titles: First Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister
CROWN PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN NAYEF Image:Wall Street Journal
As well as being heir to the throne, “MBN” as he is known is in charge of internal security.
He has won admiration from the United States for his success in breaking up al-Qaeda cells in the country – with a personal interest, having survived an al-Qaeda attempt on his life.
He has also been criticised by human rights groups for his uncompromising line on law and order, including the use of the death penalty, a stance inherited from his late father. Prince Nayef, as interior minister for 37 years, was seen as the “hard man” of Saudi Arabia.
PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN
Other titles: Second Deputy Prime Minister, Defence Minister
Prince Mohammed bin Salman Image: The Independent
The young prince has had a meteoric rise to power. He has been handed responsibility for all matters relating to defence and also the economy. On the former, he has aggressively pursued a war in Yemen to reinstate the internationally recognised president.
On the economy, he has announced sweeping reforms designed, so he says, to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil revenues. This will include privatisation of state assets and some taxes. He has been criticised as “impulsive”.
BEHEADING AND BACKSTABBING BROTHERS: INSIDE SAUDI ARABIA’S MEGA RICH ROYAL FAMILY
NEWS.COM.AU: July 5,2017
SAUDI Arabia’s royal family which is currently in a power play to rule Middle Eastern world politics is a hierarchy of mega wealthy closely-related backstabbing princes.
The campaign by Saudi Arabia to oust its ultra wealthy neighbour Qatar — the world’s richest nation — from trading with other countries is seen by some as a tactic by the current Saudi ruler and his heir.
But the ruling His Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who entertained Donald Trump on the US President’s first Middle East tour, is well-versed in power grabs.
The 25th son of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, Salman is one of 36 surviving sons of the 45 male children and many daughters.
The vast Saudi reserves of petroleum discovered during Ibn Saud’s reign still funds the lifestyles of the kingdom’s heirs.
Thousands of Saudi princes who are King Ibn Saud’s grandsons and great grandsons live lavish lifestyles far away from the kingdom, on the French Riviera and in Spain’s exclusive holiday spots.
They own French chateaus, Swiss bank accounts and some of the world’s largest yachts.
King Salman is worth a reputed $17 billion and owns a villa in Vallauris Golfe-Juan, in southeastern France where closure of the local beach during his annual holiday incenses locals.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who is personally worth $17 billion, leads US President Donald Trump in Riyadh in May. Picture: Mandel Ngan.Source:AFP
French policemen patrol in front of the public beach closed in 2015 below the mansion owned by Saudi King Salman during his annual visit. Picture: Lionel Cironneau.Source:AP
King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, the Desert warrior who created the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was the founding member and the first king of the modern state of Saudi Arabia. Image: twitter.com
Ibn Saud grew to manhood living the harsh traditional life of the desert nomad, a life that had changed little since the days of Abraham (Amazon)
Salman has lived a gilded life as one of the founding Saudi king’s favourite sons.
King Ibn Saud had 22 wives, though reportedly never more than four at a time.
King Salman is one of the “Magnificent Seven”, the seven sons of Ibn Saud’s favourite and tenth wife Hassa al Sudairi.
Married to the king at the age of 13, not only was she beautiful but rose to most prominent wife because she bore him the most sons.
Until more recently Saudi Arabia’s royal family practised “agnatic seniority” which means the monarch’s younger brother succeeds to the throne over the monarch’s own sons.
The latter system, known as primogeniture and employed by the British royal family’s system makes Prince Charles followed by Prince William as the line to succeed Queen Elizabeth.
The late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud now has more than a thousand grandsons who intermarry within the dynasty to re-establish their lineage and status within the ruling clan.
The power hungry rivalry between these sons of Saud is a story of deposition, exile and even murder.
Royals pay homage to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Royal Palace in Mecca after his father King Salman ousted the prince’s rival, his cousin. Picture: SPA.Source:AFP
The ruthless grab for the rights of succession can be seen in the recent overthrow by the King’s son Mohammad bin Salman of his cousin Muhammad bin Nayef as the new Crown Prince.
Almost all powers under the king are now concentrated in the hands of the new crown prince, who is also the defence minister.
During Trump’s visit, Mohammad bin Salman made the dominant play of securing Saudi Arabia’s single biggest arms deal in history, worth $350 billion.
US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in May this year. Picture: SPA.Source:AFP
Following his father’s move against Yemen, which King Salman bombed just three months after succeeding half brother King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman has moved against Qatar.
Despite claiming Qatar must be ostracised because of its links to terrorism, Saudi’s move is seen by some as a bully boy tactic against a wealthy neighbouring rival.
But the princes of Saud cut their baby teeth in palace revolt, evidenced by the facts of their family history.
Ibn Saud, who ruled from his teenage years until his death aged 88 in 1953, was succeeded by his son Saud from his second wife.
In 2005, the new Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz receives condolences after succeeding his half brother King Fahd, known as a big spender.Source:AP
King Salman awards Trump Saudi Arabia’s highest honour, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, after power broking a massive arms deal with the US.Source:Supplied Credit: NEWS.COM.AU
King Saud ruled for 11 years but his lavish spending led to a power struggle with his half brother, Crown Prince Faisal, son of Ibn Saud’s third wife.
The royal family forced Saud to abdicate in favour of Faisal, and then Saud was deposed and exiled.
King Faisal ruled until 1975, when he was assassinated by his nephew Faisal bin Musaid.
King Faisal was murdered by his nephew who was then beheaded.Source:AP
The nephew was promptly beheaded.
Another half brother Khalid, by King Ibn Saud’s six wife, took the throne.
His seven year reign, which ended in his fatal heart attack in 1982 was marked by his religious conservatism.
In 1977, one of King Ibn Saud’s great granddaughters, Princess Mishaal bin Fahd al Saud was executed by firing squad at the age of 19 for alleged adultery.
Princess Mishaal bin Fahd al Saud was publicly executed by firing squad at the age of 19 for alleged adultery.Source:Supplied
Wikipedia: Her family sent Mishaal bint Fahd, at her own request, to Lebanon to attend school. While there, she fell in love with a man, Khaled al-Sha’er Mulhallal, the nephew of Ali Hassan al-Shaer, the Saudi ambassador in Lebanon, and they began an affair. Upon their return to Saudi Arabia, it emerged that they had conspired to meet alone on several occasions, a charge of adultery was brought against them.
On 15 July 1977, both were publicly executed in Jeddah by the side of the Queen’s Building in the park. Despite her royal status, she was blindfolded, made to kneel, and executed on the explicit instructions of her grandfather, a senior member of the royal family, for the alleged dishonour she brought on her clan. Khaled, after being forced to watch her execution, was beheaded with a sword by, it is believed, one of the princess’s male relatives. It took five blows to sever his head, which was not the work of a professional executioner. Both executions were conducted near the palace in Jeddah, not in the public execution square in Jeddah.
She would not be the last member of Saudi’s royal family to suffer a public execution. Another royal family member was executed in 2016.
Prince Turki who was in his twenties, pleaded guilty to the murder of Adel bin Suleiman bin Abdulkareem Al-Muhaimeed, who he shot to death in December, 2012. The victim was “a friend” of the shooter, who also injured other people in a brawl in the desert outside Riyadh. After the victim’s family refused offers of blood money, he was executed by beheading on October 18, 2016. It was the 134th execution of 2016 in Saudi Arabia. Source: wikipedia Image: YouTube
NEWS.COM.AU: King Khalid was succeeded by Fahd, the eldest of the “Magnificent Seven”.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, named heir to the region’s most powerful throne, in Charge as King Takes Holiday.Prince Mohammed’s father, King Salman, issued a royal decree deputizing his son to “manage state affairs and guard the interests of the people” during the monarch’s “personal break”, state news agency SPA reported.On June 21, King Salman stripped the title of crown prince from his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, naming 31-year-old Prince Mohammed, often known as MBS, as heir to the throne.The crown prince has earned a reputation as a reformist in the ultra-conservative kingdom but is seen by some as lacking experience.Source: Al-Manar TV Lebanon
King Fahd oversaw the closest period of Saudi-US relations before the Donald Trump era and steered the country through the 1980s oil price collapse and the First Gulf War.
He also enjoyed big spending during his 23 year rule.
Even after a stroke incapacitated him in 1995, he would fly in on his personal 747 aeroplane with a huge entourage to Marbella, Spain for his annual holiday enjoyed in his wheelchair.
Crown Prince Abdullah, first son of Ibn Saud’s tenth wife, was made king in 2005 and ruled until his death in 2015.
In 2016, the royal family publicly beheaded Prince Turki bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer after he was convicted of shooting another man to death during a brawl.
2015 funeral of Saudi King Abdullah who by Islamic tradition was buried in a simple cloth without a coffin in an unmarked grave. Picture: SPA.Source:Supplied Credit: NEWS.COM.AU
Today’s Saudi cabinet is littered with the male heirs of King Ibn Saud.
So is the list of the world’s richest men with Prince Al-Waleed bin Taleel being named 34th richest in the world with a $28 billion fortune.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in May before a giant portrait of the king’s father, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.Source:AFP Credit: NEWS.COM.AU
Despite introducing a domestic austerity program to respond to low oil prices, the current Saudi monarch flies around in luxury jets and helicopters with an enormous retinue.
In May,2017, it was a triumphant moment for him to welcome President Trump in May.
After the signing of the massive arms deal, the king duly presented Trump with his nation’s highest honour, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Trump caused controversy by appearing to kneel before the king to accept the golden medallion around his neck.
It remains to be seen how Qatar will weather the demands by Saudi Arabia and its friends, backed by the United States.
Behind Qatar, the United States and Saudi Arabia are the tenth and eleventh richest countries in the world.
The Making of Kings in Saudi Arabia Source: VOA News
Credit: Al Arabiya English
THE MAKING OF KINGS IN SAUDI ARABIA
MIDDLE EAST : As the Kings of Saudi Arabia advance in age, one Saudi leader after another faces the same tough decision: should the crown continue to be passed from brother to brother – the sons of the Kingdom’s founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud? Or has the time come for a new generation of leaders?
After the sudden death of Saudi Crown Prince Nayef last June,2012 his brother Salman, 76, was named Crown Prince and is likely to become the next king in spite of his poor health. But who should succeed him? Only a handful of his brothers are still living and in reasonable health, and some even ask whether they would be up to the task of leading the Kingdom.
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef appointed by Saudi King Salman as new crown prince Source: Ya Libnan
Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, describes the Saudi monarchy as a series of “short-term kings.”
“The problem is that the kings have been becoming kings later in their lives and therefore they haven’t had the energy to properly serve,” Henderson said. “As a result, things do not get done as they might with a younger, more energetic leader — and it raises the likelihood of political unrest.”
Some in the West suggest that the obvious solution would be to pass the scepter on to the next generation – something the Kingdom has been reluctant to do for deeply entrenched reasons.
“The Saudi system confers seniority by age, and age is respected,” Henderson said. “And when you have got such a value system, it is very difficult to break out of the current way of doing things.”
More problematic, said Henderson, is deciding who to choose.
“Any selection of a future Crown Prince means excluding some people who are the residual sons of the founder of the Kingdom, Ibn Saud,” Henderson said, “and also deciding which line of the next generation should inherit the throne.”
And that could lead to rivalry, which is not without precedent in Saudi history.
Karen Elliott House is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines — and Future. She has been travelling to the Saudi Kingdom for 30 years and has personally met many of the royals. She tells the story of a decade-long antagonism between former King Saud and his brother Faisal.
“When Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdulaziz died,” House said, “he named his eldest son, Saud, as his successor and his second eldest son, Faisal, as Saud’s Crown Prince. And he told them over his deathbed, ‘Hold hands over my body and promise you will never quarrel in public.’”
As it turned out, House said, the sons quarreled for nearly a decade — until Faisal ousted Saud and made himself king. “And then he was murdered by his nephew,Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” House added.
WIKIPEDIA: On 25 March 1975, he went to the Royal Palace in Riyadh, where King Faisal was holding a meeting, known as a majlis. He joined a Kuwaiti delegation and lined up to meet the king. The king recognized his nephew and bent his head forward, so that the younger Faisal could kiss the king’s head in a sign of respect. The prince took out a revolver from his robe and shot the King twice in the head. His third shot missed and he threw the gun away. King Faisal fell to the floor. Bodyguards with swords and submachine guns arrested the prince. The king was quickly rushed to a hospital but doctors were unable to save him. Before dying, King Faisal ordered that the assassin not be executed. Saudi television crews captured the entire assassination on camera.Initial reports described Faisal bin Musaid as “mentally deranged.” He was moved to a Riyadh prison. However, he was later deemed sane to be tried. A sharia court found Faisal guilty of the king’s murder on 18 June, and his public execution occurred hours later. Wearing white robes and blindfolded, Faisal was beheaded with a single sweep of a gold handled sword. Following the execution, his head was displayed to the crowd for 15 minutes on a wooden spike, before being taken away with his body in an ambulance.
Beirut newspapers claimed involvement with drugs as a motivation in the assassination.Saudi officials began to state that the prince’s actions were deliberate and planned. Beirut newspapers offered three different explanations for the attack. An-Nahar reported that the attack may have been possible vengeance for the dethroning of King Saud, because Faisal was scheduled to marry Saud’s daughter — Princess Sita — in the same week. An-Nahar also reported that King Faisal had ignored his repeated complaints that his $3,500 monthly allowance ($15,200/month in 2014 dollars, $182,400/year) was insufficient and this may have prompted the assassination. Al Bayrakreported that according to reliable Saudi sources, King Faisal prohibited him from leaving the country because of his excessive alcohol and drug consumption overseas and the attack may have been a retaliation against the ban.
MIDDLE EAST: Observers say that perhaps the most obvious rivalry is between the so-called ‘Sudairi Seven,’ sons of Abdulaziz who share the same mother, Hassa al-Sudairi, said to have been a favorite among King Abdulaziz’ wives.
“The Sudairi Seven tried to dominate, did dominate, and they still do dominate,” Henderson said, “but to a lesser extent, because with the death of Kings Fahd, Sultan and Nayef, they are only a ‘Sudairi Four.’ And one of those, Turki, lives in exile, Salman is in poor health, Ahmed has just lost his job as Minister of the Interior, and Abdulrahman is annoyed for being passed over, so it’s really a ‘Sudairi Two-and-a-Half.’”
President Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud hold a bilateral meeting. (Malacanang photo) Credit: PinoyExchange
learn about arabia: SAUDI ARABIA FACTFILE
ABDULAZIZ IBN SAUD – FOUNDER FOR THE MODERN KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
The Arabs have now found a leader who stands head and shoulders above any other chief and in whose star all have implicit faith.’ So wrote the British in their report to the India Office in 1914.
The present prosperous, united and modern state of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1902 by one of the great figures of 20th century history: Abdulaziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud.
The small force of only forty or so men that Abdulaziz (known in the West as Ibn Saud) led from Kuwait in 1902 to recapture Riyadh from the al-Rashids marked a turning point in the fortunes of the House of Saud.
He carefully planned his attack, spending several months in the desert, gathering only twenty more to their numbers. But Abdulaziz did not let the small number of his followers deter him and he prepared to set off towards Riyadh.
A short distance outside Riyadh, he left one-third of his force behind, telling them to return to Kuwait if no message was received from him within twenty-four hours. With the rest of his men he approached the city and hid until nightfall in the palm groves.
Leaving thirty-three men with his brother, Muhammad, he daringly scaled the walls with the others. The plan was to take Ajlan, Ibn Rashid’s governor of the city, prisoner. Standing on one another’s shoulders, Abdulaziz and his men entered the governor’s house, only to find to their despair, that he wasn’t there – he spent his nights at the fort in Masmak.
The capture of Riyadh
The night passed and as morning dawned and the gates of the fort opened Ajlan emerged, accompanied by ten bodyguards. Abdulaziz and his force attacked and Ajlan’s cowardly bodyguards deserted though he fought bravely on until he was slain by Abd Allah Ibn Jiluwi, a cousin of Abdulaziz who later became governor of the Eastern Province.
The story of the storming of Masmak and how Abdulaziz and his men were victorious has become a legend in Saudi Arabia. The inhabitants of the area, learning that Riyadh had been taken by the House of Saud, welcomed their new ruler, and the Bedouins, full of admiration at his exploits, rode into Riyadh to join Abdulaziz.
Bitter contests between the House of Saud and the al-Rashids were to continue for the next three decades but Abdulaziz proved to be wise and farsighted. After the death in battle of Ibn Rashid in 1906, Abdulaziz set about quelling any further opposition in the country, making a point of including everyone, even former enemies, in his plans. The years spent exposed to the power politics and warfare of Arabia’s ruling families developed Abdulaziz into a deeply religious man who found a sense of security and comfort in the Qu’uran and daily prayer.
His mission was to unite his country and restore the true faith of Islam. King Abdulaziz’s swords were weapons of honour and justice. Crossed swords and a palm constitute the symbol of Saudi Arabia, the date palm standing for vitality and growth.
The inscription on the Saudi Flag is the Muslim creed: that there is only one God and Mohammed is his messenger.
Gaining control of the Gulf coast
In 1913 Abdulaziz seized control of the Gulf coast from the Turks, which in later years was to prove an invaluable asset. Beneath its sands lay the precious oil that was to provide the wealth of his nation. He then directed his forces to the areas that were not under Saudi control, and by 1927 was recognised as King of the Hijaz and Najd and its dependencies, with Riyadh and Makkah as his two capitals. The southern, mountainous stronghold of the Asir was secured for the Saudis during the next decade. In 1932 Abdulaziz proclaimed the ‘Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, which was an area three times the size of France.
Building the Kingdom
After years of struggle Abdulaziz had brought peace and security to the region. Prosperity followed with the discovery of oil in 1937.
The first returns from the oil industry allowed for the beginnings of modern development in Saudi Arabia. During his rule a national airline, a railway, national radio broadcasting, newspapers, new roads and schools were built.
Abdulaziz believed in Islamic solidarity and arranged the first ever Islamic Conference in Makkah in 1926. Saudi Arabia was also a founder member of the United Nations organisation signing the charter in 1945. He was fascinated by modern technology and delighted in showing his followers its value. It is told how he spent a great deal of time explaining the value of the telephone to them and invited sceptics to listen to recitations from the Qu’uran being read down the phone line.
Although he always maintained a high level of control, Abdulaziz saw that a modern state needed a system of government and so he set up a system of ministries. One of the first was a General Directorate of Education in 1926 which later became the Ministry of Education – education for all was one of his major goals.
Abdulaziz granted the first oil concession as early as 1923 but it turned out to be a long and wearisome road before the vast resources were unleashed in 1938.
The years spent building his nation laid the foundations for Saudi Arabia’s prosperity and peace in the future. He ruled until his death in 1953. His legacy was a stable, developing Kingdom. His sons King Saudi, King Faisal, King Khalid and the current monarch the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd have carried on his work.
The present ruler, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz was born in Riyadh in 1923.
Sources of reference
Saudi Aramco and its World 1995
Saudi Arabia ’s Centennial – Aramco World Jan.1999
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING IN SAUDI ARABIA
The thirty something prince who is running the show in Riyadh is looking to use guns and oil to flex Saudi muscle.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the new face of Saudi Arabia who will put an end to the Iranian expansion and intervention in Iraq and other countries, Experts and analysts told the Baghdad Post. Source:thebaghdadpost.com
Saudi Arabia, America’s oldest ally in the Middle East, is in the midst of the most profound changes in decades. The leadership is going through an unprecedented generational change and has adopted an aggressive foreign policy. The driver of change is the king’s favorite son, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman.
MBS, as he’s often called, is 30 years old, remarkably energetic, and very ambitious. King Salman has promoted him to an array of powerful positions and concentrated power in his hands quickly. In addition to being third in the line of succession behind the king and his cousin Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, he often acts as the country’s top diplomat and he chairs the committee that sets economic and energy policy. He acquires new titles and responsibilities every week. Late in April,2016 he became the Saudi chief of a new cooperation council with Jordan, for example, with promises this will lead to stepped-up Saudi financial aid to Jordan.
The prince is the author of “Saudi Vision 2030,” an ambitious plan to wean the country of its dependence on oil income and create a more diverse economy. On May 7 the king issued 51 royal orders restructuring the government to implement his son’s plan, including sacking the oil minister, Ali Naimi, who had run the portfolio for two decades. The new orders also seek to encourage more foreign pilgrimage to the two holy cities of Mecca and Medinah by highlighting the opportunity for pilgrimage not just during the traditional Haj holy month, but year-round as well. Encouraging tourism is a major part of “Vision 2030.” All of the changes bear MBS’s stamp.
MBS effectively makes Saudi oil policy now. He sabotaged Naimi’s efforts to freeze or reduce OPEC oil production last month. His plan to open ARAMCO to outside investment is the centerpiece of “Vision 2030.” Oil is being used as a weapon by keeping production high to keep Iran from getting an oil bonus after the nuclear deal lifted sanctions.
The king has other and older sons with more experience than Prince Mohammed. One is Saudi Arabia’s only astronaut and another is governor of Medinah. But King Salman apparently has unique confidence in the young prince who controls access to his father and the Royal Court.
Other Saudis have been given great responsibility at an early age before. The modern kingdom’s founder, Abdelaziz ibn Saud, captured Riyadh when he was only in his late twenties. His son Faisal represented the kingdom after the First World War in London and Paris at the age of 14 and commanded an army three years later in battle. Prince Bandar became ambassador to the U.S. in his early forties. But MBS’s rise is unique for an heir to the throne in the last half-century. He is the symbol of youth in a nation where most of the population is his age or younger.
The prince is also the hand behind the creation of a new Islamic military alliance based in the kingdom. Some three dozen countries have joined. The prince envisioned the alliance as both a counter to terrorist groups like the so-called Islamic State and al Qaida as well as a counter to Iran and its allies like Hezbollah and Bashar Assad. It held large military exercises called “Northern Thunder” in the kingdom this winter.
The king and his son are pro-American but disenchanted with President Barack Obama. He has sold the kingdom over $100 billion in arms on his watch, according to the Congressional Research service. Obama has backed the Saudi-Yemen war with diplomatic, logistical, and intelligence support. U.S. advisers are now on the ground fighting al Qaeda.
ABOUT | Human rights in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is one of approximately thirty countries in the world with judicial corporal punishment. In Saudi Arabia’s case this includes amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser crimes such as “sexual deviance” and drunkenness. In the 2000s, it was reported that women were sentenced to lashes for adultery; the women were actually victims of rape, but because they could not prove who the perpetrators were, they were deemed guilty of committing adultery. The number of lashes is not clearly prescribed by law and is varied according to the discretion of judges, and ranges from dozens of lashes to several hundreds, usually applied over a period of weeks or months. In 2004, the United Nations Committee Against Torturecriticized Saudi Arabia over the amputations and floggings it carries out under Sharia. The Saudi delegation responded defending “legal traditions” held since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago and rejected interference in its legal system.
While Saudi Arabia’s Criminal Procedure Code prohibits “torture” and “undignified treatment” (art. 2) in practice torture and using torture to extract forced confessions of guilt remains common.
Capital punishment; right to representation
Saudi Arabia engages in capital punishment, including public executions by beheading. The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword,stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion. In 2005 there were 191 executions, in 2006 there were 38, in 2007 there were 153, and in 2008 there were 102.
A spokesman for the National Society for Human Rights, an organisation which is funded by the Saudi Government, said that the number of executions is rising because crime rates are rising, that prisoners are treated humanely, and that the beheadingsdeter crime, saying, “Allah, our creator, knows best what’s good for His people…Should we just think of and preserve the rights of the murderer and not think of the rights of others?”
Saudi Arabian police and immigration authorities routinely abuse people who are stopped or detained, especially workers from developing countries. Earlier in November 2013, the authorities received criticism for the way they have planned and handled the crackdown on illegal workers. Saudi authorities – in some cases with the help of citizens – rounded up many of illegal workers and physically abused them
Saudi Arabia has long been criticised for its harsh social codes and punishments, imposed under its puritanical version of Sharia law.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimri, a blogger, received 50 lashes in January of a sentence of 1,000 lashes and ten years’ jail for criticising the religious establishment. He has received no more since his case was raised by international human rights groups, and even the Prince of Wales at a meeting with the new King Salman in February.
Raif Badawi Image: Mereja.com
In October 2015 it also emerged that Karl Andree, a 74-year-old Briton, would not receive the flogging to which he had apparently been sentenced for being in possession of home-brew alcohol.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in February 2012 when he was just 17 and accused of organising protests. He was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion, along with his uncle, a leading Shia cleric.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr: Saudi Arabia on verge of beheading protester ‘tortured as a child into confessing’ Source: The Independent Image: BrutallyUncensored.Com
Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said last August, 2016 he did not expect the sentence to be carried out. However, murderers, drug dealers and others convicted on purely criminal charges are often beheaded in public.
While women did in 2015 get to register to vote and can stand for local elections, they are still required to have permission from a “guardian” such as a father, husband or brother to travel freely.
Wearing modest clothes and a headscarf in public is compulsory. They are also banned from driving – subject of the country’s most visible civil disobedience campaign in recent years.