King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud died 22 January 2015 at the age of approximately 90. He was immediately succeeded by the Crown Prince, Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The new king, thought to be 79, had been crown prince and defense minister since 2012. Another half brother, Muqrin, was named the new crown prince. Salman named his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as the new deputy crown prince and his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as Saudi Arabia's new defense minister and head of the royal court. Salman also said he would keep most other ministers.
Salman vowed to "continue adhering to the correct policies" of his predecessors. "We will remain, God willing, holding the straight course that this country has walked on since its establishment by the late King Abdulaziz," he said.
Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman cemented his hold on power with a sweeping cabinet shuffle in which top officials from the Ports Authority, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Islamic kingdom’s religious police were fired. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, a nephew of the late King Abdullah, was removed from his posts as Secretary General of the National Security Council and adviser to the king. Prince Bandar was the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States for 22 years. Two sons of Abdullah were also fired: Prince Mishaal, governor of the Makkah region, and Prince Turki, who governed the capital Riyadh. Another of Abdullah’s sons, Prince Miteb, retained his position as minister in charge of the National Guard.
The crown prince is chosen by the Allegiance Council, a group that includes relatives of the crown prince. With the 16 June 2012 death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud, the only apparent candidate was Prince Salman [born 31 December 1935], who was promoted to minister of defense in 2011 after the death of Crown Prince Sultan.
Prince Salman bin Abdel Aziz, governor of Riyadh, arbitrated disputes among the 7,000 members of the royal family. Although he was the 16th eldest, and his brother Prince Sultan would be considered before him, succession was determined by family consensus, and Salman was on the short list. Many Saudi businessmen said their choice to succeed Abdullah would be Prince Salman, whose hard-working habits were legendary.
Although western diplomats considered him a voice of reason, he was sued by the families of the victims of Sept. 11, who accused hime of supporting charities linked to terrorism. Salman was traditionally more favorable to an agreement with Wahhabit fundamentalists. Prince Salman maintained ties with their leaders, particularly those in the regions of Burayda and Durraya where he travels often. During the war in Afghanistan, he organized transportation for moudjahidines from different Arab countries to Pakistan to help back the most fundamentalist Afghan movements. During the mid-1990s his major opponent was the Minister of Interior, Prince Nayef who was also a Sudeiri.
Salman was reported to believe that Saudi Arabia should seek good relations with Iran, and that, although he does not wish to see the Iranians armed with nuclear weapons, he was unable to condemn them so long as Israel was also in possession of them. Prince Salman was reported to believe terrorism and fanaticism had done more harm to Islam than anything else, claiming that 9/11 inflicted the most harm to bilateral relations and Islam.
Prince Salman was reported to believe that the pace and extent of reforms depend on social and cultural factors. He was reported to believe that for social reasons -- not religions reasons -- reforms cannot be imposed by the Saudi Government or there will be negative reactions. Instead, changes have to be introduced in a sensitive and timely manner. Islam had democracy before other cultures because the Qur'an states that rulers must consult others before making decisions.
On Tuesday 07/11/1373 H (16/03/1954), Prince Salman was appointed acting governor of Riyadh region. On Monday 25/08/1374 H (April 18, 1955) a royal decree No. 5/10/2/1424 appointed the Prince as Governor of Riyadh region with a minister's rank. On Sunday 07/07/1380 H (25/12/1960), Prince Salman resigned from the governance of Riyadh region. On Monday 10/09/1382 H (February 4, 1963), Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was re-appointed as Governor of Riyadh region by Royal Order No. 46, dated 10/09/1382 H.
On 05 November 2011 Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was appointed defense minister. Salman's appointment followed the death in October 2011 of Crown Prince Sultan, who had held the position for about 50 years. The decree also split the defense ministry from the aviation ministry and appointed as deputy defense minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan, who served as assistant defense minister to his father, Crown Prince Sultan. Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz was named Riyadh governor after long serving as deputy governor under Prince Salman. The post of Riyadh governor was seen as one of the most important in the country and was previously held by both Crown Prince Sultan and Crown Prince Naif, as well as by Prince Salman.
In May 2012 the new Riyadh Governor, Prince Sattam, said Defense Minister Prince Salman was not only an administrative ruler in Riyadh when he was governor of the province [from 1963 AD to 2011 AD] but also a statesman who was always present during the drafting of resolutions related to the region. Prince Sattam was said Prince Salman also deals with foreign affairs according to his country’s best interests. “The best description of Prince Salman, is that he is a government embodied in a man” Prince Sattam said.
Born in Riyadh in 1935 (1354 H.), H.R.H. Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz received his religious education at the hands of the highly qualified Ulema and Sheikhs. Wide reading helped him broaden the scope of his knowledge. Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz received his early education at the Princes School, which was established in 1356 H by late King Abdulaziz in Riyadh for the studying of his sons. At the Princes School, which was run by late Sheik Abdullah bin Khaiyatt, Imam and Preacher of the grand mosque, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz studied the modern and religious sciences. He concluded the holy Quran in this School and celebrated the occasion on Sunday 12/08/1364 H.
H.R.H. chaired a number of commissions and organizations linked to the Riyadh Governorate, including the Higher Committee for the Development of Riyadh City, which was also responsible for providing the city with various services. H.R.H. Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz accorded great attention and care to humanitarian activities.
Since 1956 (1376 H.), His Royal Highness chaired several committees to solicit donations for the needy and victims of floods and earthquakes in the Arab and Islamic worlds; in general, He has furthered Islamic causes the world over. Prince Salman chaired the Higher Committee for donations to support Bosnia-Herzegovina and Somalia; he also heads The Popular Committee for assisting Palestinian Mujahideen, the Higher Committee for raising donations for earthquake victims in Egypt and the General Committee for raising donations for Afghanistan. At the level of the Riyadh Region, he chaired the Philanthropic Society in Riyadh and was known for his generous contributions to Mosques and Islamic Centers.
Prince Salman chaired the Organizing committee of the Kingdom's traveling exhibition entitled "The Kingdom Yesterday and Today." Ever since the exhibition was established in 1984 (1405), he has sponsored its development because he was fully aware of the importance of information. He was also keen to give the world an accurate impression of the all-encompassing progress and prosperity achieved by the Kingdom and to highlight the attention given by the Kingdom to the Two Holy Mosques and Muslims throughout the world.
Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz has been interested in humanitarian work since 1956. He has chaired a number of humanitarian committees and domestic organs to collect donations to help the needy, flood-affected people and those who are stricken by earthquakes, disasters in the Arab and Islamic world; and to supports the causes of the Islamic world and advocate for Muslims everywhere.
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