Who will inherit power in Saudi Arabia?

Vladimir Alekseev,
Specially for Iran.ru

24 january 2014

Due to the fact that during the Arab «spring», which began three years ago, Saudi Arabia entered the public arena of the Middle East as one of the key players, interest in this country has increased significantly, especially since she has never had openness. And, of course, the greatest interest was the subject of the ruling elite in the Kingdom that, despite their very old age of representatives of the elite, decided to get involved in almost all Arab «revolution», while Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative countries in the Arab world, where the dominant ideology is Wahhabism, the most radical Islam «sample in the 17th century, and democratic institutions are almost completely absent. To form an idea about the ruling family of Saudi Kingdom, you must make a brief historical excursus.

Two versions of the origin al Saud dynasty

The first version. The Saudis are descendants came from El Katif Mani El Мрайди, which is somewhere around 1446 founded the city of ed-Диръия. Descendants of Mani became emirs, i.e. rulers of this city and nearby areas, leading the tribe аназа (унайза). In 1744, the Emir of al-Диръия Muhammad Ibn Saud took under his patronage theologian Muhammad Ibn Abd al-wahhaab and took his religious teaching, which later was called Wahhabism. For several decades Ibn Saud and his descendants, based on the puritanical Wahhabi ideology, managed to subdue the entire area of Najd, that is, the West and the East of the Arabian Peninsula. In 1792 after the death of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-wahhaab, the Saudis have United in their hands the Supreme secular and spiritual power. In 1803 they captured Mecca, and in 1804 Medina and all the Hijaz, which was the most advanced part of the Sunni Arabian Peninsula. However, their dominance in Arabia did not last long: in 1811 by the will of the Ottoman Sultan against them made Khedive (Emperor) of Egypt, Muhammad Ali. For the seven years war, the Saudis have lost everything: in 1818 after a five-month siege of the Egyptians took their capital ed-Диръия and razed to the ground, and Emir I Abdallah Ibn Saud was sent to Istanbul, where he was beheaded. And only after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire al the Saudis, with the support of Britain raised his head and began to unite around itself the former fragments of the Arabian Peninsula. In 1932, was proclaimed the formation of the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was headed by a Abdel Aziz whose sons ruled until now.

The second version. Some Arab scholars argue about the Jewish origins of al Saud. In particular, they refer to the fact that in the second half of the 15th century (851 year of the Hijra) a group of people from a sort of al-Масалих being a native tribe Аназа, equip caravan for procurement of grain (wheat) and other food products from Basra and transport them in Najd. Caravan arrived in Basra, where the caravan went to the merchant grain, Jew by the name of Mordecai bin Ibrahim bin Moshe. During the negotiations the Jew asked them: «where are You from?». They answered: «Of the tribe Anza kind of al-Масалех». Hearing this, the Jew became a hot hug each of them, saying that he too is from the genus al-Масалех, but he lives in Basra due to a fight with his father with some members of the tribe Anza. After he told invented them the story, he ordered his servants to load on camels goods with food in much greater volume. When the caravan was ready to leave, a Jew asked to take him, because he really wants to visit their homeland Najd. Thus, he was in Najd. There through his supporters, which he gave for his relatives, he began diligently to promote himself. But, unexpectedly, he was faced with opposition from supporters of the Muslim preacher terrain al-Kasim Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Salman al-Tamimi. Mordechai preached on the territories Неджда, Yemen and the Hijaz, going from al-Qasim al-Isha, on the road to al-Катифе he changed his name to Marwan bin Дирия. He decided to permanently settle in the town of Дирия in the area of al-Катиф, which he viewed as a springboard to create in Arabia Jewish state. To achieve such ambitious plans he was strongly converge with the Bedouins and finally announced their ruler.

At the same time tribe Ажаман in Alliance with the tribe of Banu Khalid wanted to destroy him. They attacked his city and captured it, but could not take Mordecai, укрывшегося from enemies. He hid on the farm, which was then called the al-Малибед-Усайбаблиз al-Arid, the current name of this place - Riyadh. He asked for asylum from the owner of this land. Let Mordecai to stay. Has not passed also month as a Jew killed all the family members of the owner of the farm, hiding the traces of their crimes and showing like thieves, that penetrated the area, destroyed a family. He then announced that he had bought these lands before the death of the former owner and stayed there. He renamed the countryside, giving her the name of hell-Дирия. Mordechai, issued yourself for who comes from a dynasty of Ibn Saud, on the lands of their victims built Gostiny Dvor called «Мадафа» and gathered around him a group of his minions that become hard to say, he is a prominent Arab leader. Himself a Jew began to conspire against Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Salman al-Tamimi, their true enemy, who was later killed in the mosque of the city AZ-Залафи. After that he felt himself in safety, and made hell-Дирию her permanent place of residence. He had many wives, who gave birth to him with a lot of children, all of them giving Arabic names.

Since that time the number of his descendants increased, that has allowed to create a large clan of Saudis, following his path, controlling the Arab tribes and kind. They ruthlessly selected agricultural lands, and the disobedient physically eliminated. They used all kinds of cunning to achieve their goals, offered their women, money, to attract as many people as possible. Especially they conspired with historians and writers ever to darken his Jewish origin and associate it with the indigenous Arab tribes Rabia, Anza College, and al-Масалех. One of the Arab researchers of the 20th century, Muhammad Amin al-Tamimi, who became Director of the Royal library of Saudi Arabia, was a family tree for the Jewish family of Saudis and linked them with the prophet Muhammad. For this fictional work it in 1943 (1362 Hijrah) has received compensation in the amount of 35 thousand Egyptian pounds from the Ambassador of KSA in Cairo Ibrahim al-Фаделя.

Jewish ancestor of Saudis Mordechai practiced polygamy, having married on a huge number of Arab women and had in consequence, a large number of children; his descendants now repeat steps of his ancestor exactly increasing its power - taking quantity. One of the sons of Mordecai, who was called al-Marakan (арабизированная form of the Hebrew name Макрен), the eldest son's name was Muhammad, and one named Saud, whose name now, and is of a dynasty of Saudis.

Descendants of Saud (dynasty of Saudis) were killing of prominent Arab leaders, under the pretext that they moved away from Islam, violate the Qur'anic injunctions and thereby cause the wrath of the Saudis. Muslims who do not share the views of Muhammad Ibn Abdul-wahhaab (he allegedly also has Jewish roots of Turkey) were subject to a complete destruction. Under this, the Saudis killed men, killed children, вспарывали the womb of pregnant women, raped, plundered and massacred the whole village. This dynasty doeth iniquity with 1734 (1163 year of Hijra), since they named the Arabian Peninsula after himself (Saudi Arabia).

In the 1960s the Egyptian radio station Sawt al-Arab Cairo and Yemen radio station confirmed the Jewish origin of the dynasty of Saudis. King Faisal at that time could not deny the close relationship of his family with the Jews, when he stated in an interview to the Washington Post, 17 September 1969: «We, the Saudis, are relatives (cousins) Jews: we do not share the point of view of Arabs or Muslims in General on the Jewish question... we must live with Jews in peace and harmony. Our country (Arabia) is the ancestral home of the first Jew, and that from there they spread around the world.» But whichever of the mentioned versions was not correct, or close to the truth, the essence of the problem is not in this.

A decrepit old men or powerful world leaders?

Al the Saudis today is one of the few of Royal families, have absolute power in the country. All posts in the government and in the regions occupied by the representatives of the al Saud, who are appointed by the king. Today the head of the dynasty is the king Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, and the total number of Saudis reaches 25 thousand people, among which there are more than 200 princes. Inheritance of the Saudis is not the most dynasties, from the father to the children, and in most cases from brother to brother, and then to the oldest of the next generation. Female line is ignored. So who are the current rulers of Saudi Arabia? Just a decrepit old men or powerful world leaders?

The current 89-year-old leader, the son of the first king of KSA Abdullah, born in August 1924 in Riyadh. He was one of the 37 the sons of the first king. The mother of Abdullah - Fahad bin ASI AU-Шураим - belonged to the nobility of the powerful Bedouin tribe шаммар. Abdullah received a traditional Islamic education at the court under the guidance of his father, but a lot of time spent in the wilderness with his mother, where accustomed to the Bedouin way of life. The first public Abdullah was the position of the Governor of Mecca. In October 1962, he was appointed commander of the national guard, independent from the rest of the army of the armed group responsible for the protection of the Royal family, as well as oil fields and cities of Mecca and Medina. In 1975, king Khaled appointed Abdullah the second Deputy Prime Minister. This meant that he could become the heir to the throne. He is the commander of the national guard. After the death of king Khaled new king Fahd in June 1982, the first by his decree appointed Abdullah, crown Prince and first Deputy Prime Minister. As heir to the throne he actively intervened in middle Eastern politics. In 1988 he played one of the main intermediaries in the conclusion of peace between Iran and Iraq. In 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Abdullah, in contrast to king Fahad road, was against the deployment of American troops in Saudi Arabia, but then agreed on accession of the Kingdom in антииракскую coalition.

In 1992, king Fahd issued an edict approving the king the right to appoint the crown Prince or modify already adopted by the nomination, which was perceived as an attempt to deprive half-brother Abdullah inheritance rights because of disagreements between the king and heir during the Gulf war. Rival Abdullah was the second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of defence and the full brother of king Fahd, Sultan. 29 November 1995 king Fahd suffered a stroke, лишивший its ability to manage the state, and in December Abdullah began a major military exercises, controlled by the National guard him, much better equipped than the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, what made the Ulema Council to support it. As of 1 January 1996, Fahd appointed Abdullah Prime Minister, formally handing him the powers of the head of state.

The second half of the 1990s was very difficult for Saudi Arabia due to low oil prices: in these conditions Abdullah initiated economic reforms aimed at diversifying the economy. In foreign policy before the attacks of September 11, 2001 Abdullah tried to distance itself from the United States, criticizing their middle Eastern politics, however, has repeatedly met with former US presidents bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and tried to withdraw the American troops from their country. Abdullah did not support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. In April 2001, Saudi Arabia managed to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, broken after the conflict in Mecca in the summer of 1987, when due to clashes between the security agencies of Saudi Arabia and Iranian pilgrims, who overthrow the Pro-American dynasty of Saud, killed more than 400 people. In June 2000, Abdullah headed the Board of the Royal family - the Supreme body of the dynastic government of Saudi Arabia to go to the most influential members of the house of Saud.

Abdullah condemned the terrorist acts the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and announced the need to fight international terrorism. 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried the attacks in the US, were citizens of Saudi Arabia, in addition, the families of the victims of terrorist attacks accused the Royal family in supporting al-Qaida. Under US pressure Abdullah ordered the assassination of the leaders of the radical Islamists that heightened terrorist situation in the country. The series of terrorist acts directed against foreigners, started with the explosions in El Riyadh in 2003 and lasted until 2005. August 1, 2005, king Fahd died, and became the new king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, inherited the title of «Minister of the two Holy places.» After the death of king Fahd, Prince Sultan was appointed crown Prince Abdullah, despite their past differences. Also Abdullah remained commander of the national guard and announced the creation of the crown Council, which would divide the order of succession to the throne among the children and grandchildren of Abdel al-Saud. King Abdullah was the most extensive public leader, according to Forbes magazine, made in 2006, his personal fortune was $ 21 billion.

The second person in the Kingdom's crown Prince Salman bin Abd al-Aziz al Saud was born December 31, 1935. He is also a son of the first Saudi king Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, the sixth from the group of Seven Судайри», was the most trusted Advisor to king Fahad and dearest brother crown Prince Sultan. The Governor of the province Riyadh (1962-2011) and defense Minister (from 2011). Prince Salman was appointed the heir to the throne and first Deputy Prime Minister on 18 June 2012, after the death of his brother crown Prince Naif 16 June 2012, becoming the third throne-successor during the reign of king Abdullah. The actual ruler of the state since August 27, 2012. In recent years, he transferred one stroke, so that his left hand does not work, and in August 2010, he had surgery on his spine. Also there were rumors that he suffers from Alzheimer's, but this was refuted.

Leading clans the family of al Saud

It should be noted that the impact of the members of the Royal family is primarily determined by the affiliation to a particular family clan, whose members are linked to one another by close kinship (most commonly, brothers, and uncles on her mother). In its activity the princes forced to look beyond the position of their clan. They are widely used внутриклановую solidarity and render mutual support for state posts and strengthening their position in power structures. The most significant clan al Saud family is Судейри. «The core» of the clan were seven sons of king Abdul Aziz from Хессы bint Ahmad as-Судейри. Serving as a pillar of the clan «second generation» princes consists mainly of the sons of «seven Судейри». To this group belong Prince Muhammad bin Fahd, Abdel Aziz bin Fahd , Bandar bin Sultan, Khaled bin Sultan, Saud bin Naif, Muhammad bin Naif, Abdel Aziz bin Salman. Occupied by representatives of a clan Судейри state positions allow them to control the main sources of power in the Kingdom: oil and power structures.

Certain counterbalance to the influence of Судейри in the ruling family and the state serves the clan Сунайян consisting of eight brothers the sons of king Faisal. The most prominent of them - foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. According to some accounts, clan Сунайян patronized by king Abdullah, who is on his mother's representative less influential than Судейри, clanШаммарThe largest clans, occupy an intermediate position between Судейри and tandem «Сунайян - Шаммар»refers clanДжелави, nationals of which - Prince Saud bin Abdullah and Abdul Mohsen take a tough stance on the issue of the Shia minority. Currently джелавиты actually retain a monopoly on the management of the smaller territorial-administrative units, included into it.

The Council of the Royal family - ensures the balance of the house of al Saud

Body with a «balance» of the house of al Saud, is the Council of the Royal family, endowed with broad powers. Its main task is to resolve the differences between the members of the family, as well as to prevent excessive strengthening of the particular branches of the ruling family, to the detriment of the other clans. With this purpose, the Council shall consider all of the appointment of the representatives of the dynasty of state posts, and passed decision are final. In 1962, largely thanks to the Council, the crown Prince Фейсалу managed to create a counterweight to the influence of the clan Судейри in the armed forces, forming a parallel power structure - the National guard. In 1975, the Council of the Royal family changed the sequence of succession to the throne, and instead of a brother of king Faisal Prince Muhammad, accused of «behaviour contrary to the norms of Islam», king became the Prince Khaled. Powerful positions al Saud family are provided for by its filling with representatives of senior positions in major managerial and entrepreneurial structures. Strengthening of the dynastic factor contributes to the continued control of the family enforcement and financial institutions. Despite undercurrent of dissatisfaction in Saudi Arabian society about the number of submitted by the government members of the Royal family and the obvious need to comply with the leading persons of the state leadership of the first professional requirements, this situation continues to persist, posing a potential problem for the dynasty.

«The young princes» - a threat to the ruling family of

Factor indirectly undermine the unity of the ruling family, is the second generation of al Saud - the so-called the young princes. Representatives of this group is headed by the middle link in a number of key agencies occupy important posts in the governorates of provinces, armed forces, National guards, intelligence services, conduct successful business. Have received a higher secular education in the West, «the young princes» in General do not advocate for a «revision» of positions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Often, however, they are not satisfied with the dual course of the country's leadership aimed at the preservation of Islamic traditions as a basis of existence of the Saudi state and simultaneous modernization, as well as low degree of their participation in public Affairs. Informal leader of the «young princes» : Walid Ben Таляль, the leading representative of the business world of the Middle East, a part of the «top ten» of the holders of the largest personal States.

Taking into account the criticism of the al Saud dynasty supporters of liberalization, king Fahd authorized the adoption in 1992 of the «Bases of the system of power in KSA» document, significantly influenced the balance of forces in the ruling family. Document changed the traditional procedure of transfer of power in the country from the older to the younger son of king Abdul Aziz bin Saud, to include the number of possible престолонаследников representatives of the second generation of Saud - grandchildren Abdel Aziz. In addition, several years ago a number of princes from the second generation of the Royal family was close to Abdullah, who was then the crown Prince, forming a significant part of his inner circle. It is to some extent mitigated the coming conflict of «fathers and children».

Perhaps the most powerful man from among the «grandchildren» - Prince Bandar bin Sultan. This is a very famous person in the times when his father held the post of Minister of defense and was crown Prince before his death in 2011. for 22 years, since the days of Reagan, he was the Ambassador of KSA in the United States and could freely visit the White house almost at any convenient time for him. Prince Bandar has rendered considerable services to all U.S. administrations, especially the Republican, intermediating in delicate investment and arms deals, enriching as the top of the ruling family KSA and senior figures in Washington. Not by chance he earned the nickname «Bandar Bush» thanks too close bonds саудовско-American friendship when both Bush. Prince Bandar - one of 18 the sons of the Sultan bin Abdulaziz. It is interesting that he is the son of a concubine, therefore, according to many, can not claim for the highest position in the Kingdom due to its origin. But judging by the fact that king Abdullah appointed his first General Secretary of the national security Council and then head of the intelligence services, this fact is not taken into account. The power of Bandar is growing, both in the sphere of foreign policy and security. He is the main character of Riyadh in the Syrian events.


In these circumstances it is difficult to predict what will happen with KSA after the death of king Abdullah. It is not excluded that the crown Prince died before he did. The idea is that the heir should be someone who still remains in the ranks of» generation «frail elderly». But, active and successful grandchildren of the founder of the Kingdom of clinging to the throne and may not agree with this decision of the family. Quite between them can happen internecine wars in the struggle for power. Although something tells me that the case could not reach the destination the next king of the possible disintegration of the state itself. In any case Саудию have a difficult time, and to predict its future is more difficult.




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