Saudi Line of Succession raises questions for the Future

Early Saturday, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (brother of King Abdullah and next in line for the throne) passed away in NY. Because Saudi ascension does not pass from father to son as in most monarchies, there are questions as to who will become king. The entire ascension selection and process is shrouded in secrecy and it is unclear who will rule.

The favored pick is Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, brother of Prince Sultan. Prince Nayef has served as Interior minister since 1975, and is thought of as an expert in counterterrorism. Seen as a hard-line conservative and known for his recent crackdowns, if selected to become King it is unclear how political reform and the Arab Spring movement will unfold under his rule.

It is the view of the kingdom that Saudis’ are “bedrock Arabs” and love their traditional political system. The values of security and stability are of the utmost important to the royal family. The Al Saud dynasty wished to ensure the rule of the Al Saud line, as well as the prosperity of Saudi citizens. Should Prince Nayef ascend the throne, it will be interesting to see how he responds to calls for reforms and the popular dissent that is quietly sweeping the nation.

Recently, orders have been given to arrest anyone whose political activism may pose a threat to political stability.

For more detailed information please see:

“Heir to the Saudi Throne Dies”
CNN Wire Staff
23 October 2011
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/22/world/meast/saudi-arabia-prince-dead/?hpt=wo_c2

and

“Potential New Saudi Crown Prince Seen as Hard-line but Pragmatic”
NYT, 23 October 2011
Neil MacFARQUHAR
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/world/middleeast/potential-new-saudi-crown-prince-is-hard-line-but-pragmatic.html?pagewanted=1&sq=Saudi%20Arabia&st=nyt&scp=8

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