the power of a ruling monarch is unchallenged while he is alive, but dies absolutely with him.Karen Elliott House
|Muhammad bin Saud||1744||1765|
|Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud||1765||1803|
|Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad al Saud||1803||1814|
|Abdullah bin Saud||1814||1818|
|Turki bin Abdullah||1824||1834|
|Faisal bin Turki||1834||1865|
|Abdul Rahman bin Faisal||1889||1891|
|Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud||1902||1932|
|King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud||1932||1953|
|King Saud ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud||1953||1964|
|King Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud||1964||1975|
|King Khalid ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud||1975||1982|
|King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud||1982||2005|
|King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud||2005||2015|
|King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud||2015||..|
|Crown Prince Muqrin||..||..|
|Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad||..||..|
|Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef||..||..|
|Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman||..||..|
Although the Saudi king is an absolute monarch in the sense that there are no formal, institutionalized checks on his authority, in practice his ability to rule effectively depends on his astuteness in creating and maintaining consensus within his very large, extended family. The king is the patriarch of the Al Saud, which, including all its collateral branches, numbered about 20,000 people. These persons traced their patrilineal descent to Muhammad ibn Saud, the eighteenth-century founder of the dynasty.
As one of world's last absolute monarchs, the Saudi Arabian king exercises very broad powers. He is both head of state and head of government. Ultimate authority in virtually every aspect of government rests with the king. All legislation is enacted either by royal decree or by ministerial decree, which has to be sanctioned by the king. In his capacity as prime minister, the king appoints all cabinet ministers, other senior government officials, and the governors of the provinces. In his capacity as commander in chief of the armed forces, the king appoints all military officers above the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also appoints all Saudi Arabia's ambassadors and other foreign envoys. All foreign diplomats in the country are accredited to the king. In addition, the king acts as the final court of appeal and had the power of pardon.
The legitimacy of the king's rule is based on the twin pillars of religion and the dynastic history of the Al Saud. The family's most important early ancestor, Muhammad ibn Saud (1710- 65), had been a relatively minor local ruler in Najd before establishing a political and family alliance with the puritanical Muslim preacher and reformer Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703-87) in 1744. Muhammad ibn Saud and his descendants -- the Al Saud -- ardently supported the preacher and his descendants -- the Al ash Shaykh -- and were determined to introduce a purified Islam, which opponents called Wahhabism, throughout Arabia. Religious fervor facilitated the conquest of Najd and at the height of their power in the early nineteenth century, the Al Saud had extended their control over most of the Arabian Peninsula. Subsequent conflict with the Ottoman Empire and dynastic rivalries both diminished and enhanced the political fortunes of the Al Saud throughout the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the Saudi alliance with the Al ash Shaykh endured. Through the political and military genius of King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud), the tribes of most of the Arabian Peninsula were eventually welded together to form a single nation within a Kingdom founded upon Islam.
The modern history of Arabia is often broken into three periods that follow the fortunes of the Al Saud. The first begins with the alliance between Muhammad ibn Saud and Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab and ends with the capture of Abd Allah. The second period extends from this point to the rise of the second Abd al Aziz ibn Saud, the founder of the modern state; the third consists of the establishment and present history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
At Madina on October 27, 1986 (or 24 Safar 1407 AH in the Islamic calendar), King Fahd expressed the wish, in an official letter to Crown Prince Abdallah, that henceforth he be addressed only as 'Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,' and no longer as 'Your Majesty' or any other secular title.
The Council of Ministers was established by King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud in 1953. It consists of the King who is the Prime Minister, the Crown Prince who is Deputy Prime Minister, the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers. Under the bylaws announced by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in September 1993, the Council is responsible for drafting and overseeing the implementation of the internal, external, financial, economic, educational and defense policies, and general affairs of the state. The Council meets weekly and is presided over by the King or one of his deputies. On August 2, 1995, King Fahd issued a Royal Decree dissolving the Council of Ministers and announcing the names of Ministers in the new Cabinet under his chairmanship.
Prince Talal bin Abdalaziz, a perceived patriarch and well-respected, high-ranking member of the Al Saud family, is a royal family outsider long known for his expressing his maverick views publicly. Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz held a meeting with key princes of the royal family's third generation in his Riyadh palace in August 2006. Notable attendees were his son Prince al-Waleed, one of the wealthiest businessmen in the Kingdom, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, Assistant Minister of Defense, Prince Muhammed bin Naif, Assistant Minister of Interior, Prince Mansur bin Mit'ib, who organized the 2005 municipal council partial elections, Prince Sultan bin Salman, Chairman of the Tourism Authority, and several other grandsons of King Abdul Aziz.
This meeting was reported as the first of its kind, since all previous family meetings were reportedly held under the authority of the Saudi Family Council, of which Prince Talal is a member. Prince Talal had been vocal in the past about encouraging the future leaders of Saudi Arabia to take greater responsibility and has pushed for the principle that any qualified son or grandson of King Abdul Aziz should be considered potentially eligible for the throne, in accordance with the Basic Law of the Kingdom.
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