Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saudi Dynasty: Security of the West Passes into Shaky Hands

THE AUSTRALIAN: A CORTEGE of princes moved across the bleak desert. On their shoulders they bore to his rest their father, Abdullah, king of Saudi Arabia and ruler of the richest oil kingdom on earth.

A plain shroud covered his corpse. The monarch was laid in an unmarked grave. His heirs heaped up a small cairn of stones and went away.

It was a farewell obedient to the strict Wahhabi version of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia.

Within hours the new ruling order emerged. The designated successor, Salman, 79, the king’s half-brother, assumed the throne. A younger brother, Muqrin, 69, was named Crown Prince.

And the dynasty appointed Mohammed bin Nayef, a stripling of 55, as Deputy Crown Prince. The edifice of Saudi rule, still the centrepiece of American strategy in the Middle East, looked solid.

US President Barack Obama will cut short a visit to India to travel to Riyadh tomorrow, where he will meet the new monarch. ( video) » | Michael Sheridan and Hala Jaber | The Times | Monday, January 26, 2015