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Iran Press TV

Saudi Arabia holds funeral for late King Abdullah

Iran Press TV

Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:58PM

Saudi Arabia has held the funeral ceremony of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who died at the age of 90, state TV says.

The king's body was buried in the capital, Riyadh.

Reports say leaders and dignitaries from the four corners of the world arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to attend the funeral ceremony.

The event took place at the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque.

"His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn … King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning," an announcement, made by state TV early on Friday said.

The king reportedly died at hospital, where he had been receiving medical treatment for several weeks.

King Abdullah, who was admitted to the King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh in late December, had been suffering from pneumonia and was reportedly breathing with the help of a tube.

The king's 79-year-old half-brother, Salman, has succeeded him.

"We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment," Salman said in a televised speech on Friday.

Salman had been serving as defense minister since 2011 and was increasingly moving toward taking over from his predecessor, whose health was deteriorating.

Meanwhile, Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz has been named as the new crown prince.

Also on Friday, the new king appointed Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as the new deputy crown prince. The 55-year-old, the grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, is the first of his generation to be placed in line for the throne.

Salman also named his own son Mohammed as the new defense minister.

No change in Saudi policies

Meanwhile, King Abdullah's successor and half-brother Salman has promised to follow in the footsteps of the late Saudi monarch.

'We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,' Slaman said in a televised speech on Friday, adding, 'The Arab and the Islamic nations are in dire need for solidarity and cohesion.'

Salman had been serving as defense minister since 2011 and was increasingly moving towards taking over from his predecessor, whose health was deteriorating.

Challenges

The king's death is expected to fuel a power struggle within the ruling family.

The new monarch, who has suffered at least one stroke that has left him with limited movement on his left arm and is believed to be suffering from Alzheimer's, is taking over at a time when King Abdullah's demise is expected to fuel a power struggle within the ruling family.

His succeeding to the throne also coincides with the kingdom's grappling with dissent in the east and the region's attempting to deal with the repercussions of the terrorism funded and the extremism exported by Riyadh.

Riyadh has also turned into a butt of criticism for sending shockwaves throughout the international economy by allegedly fixing oil prices.

Abdullah: a short biography

It is believed that the late Saudi King was born in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in August, 1924. There is, however, controversy over his actual birth date.

Fahda, the eighth wife of King Abdulaziz, was his mother.

He was appointed as the commander of the Saudi National Guard in 1962 and 20 years later was named as crown prince and first deputy prime minister. He became the king of Saudi Arabia in August 2005 following the death of King Fahd, who had succeeded King Khalid in 1982.

Riyadh, staunch supporter of Takfirism

The western leaders' appreciation of the late Saudi King as a proponent of peace comes despite the fact that the oil-rich kingdom has played a major role in supporting extremism in various countries, particularly Syria.

Under King Abdullah's rule, Saudi Arabia gradually became an incubator for groups promoting extremism and Takfirism. Off-shoots of al-Qaeda also managed to expand their domain of influence in the Middle East and North Africa, with groups like ISIL committing heinous crimes against followers of other religious communities in Syria and Iraq.

Such support for sectarian violence has also been visible in countries like Pakistan, where thousands of Shias have been killed in attacks and bombings that seem to be approved by elements inside the monarchy.

The Al Saud regime has also helped the Bahraini regime in its deadly crackdown on peaceful protesters and political activists since 2011.

IA/HSN/SS



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