Saudi King Fahd Hospitalized, Reported Dead
Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd has been hospitalized, CNN reports.
Saudi Arabia’s special forces were put on alert after King Fahd was hospitalized in Riyadh for tests Friday, the Saudi government said. The move is routine whenever the king is hospitalized, Saudi government sources told CNN on condition of anonymity. Members of the state-owned news media, who asked not to be identified, said they were told to be on standby for a possible announcement.
Fahd, who is in his 80s, suffered a stroke in 1995 and has been hospitalized several times during the past six months. Since his stroke, King Fahd’s half-brother Crown Prince Abdullah has run day-to-day operations of Saudi Arabia and is in line to inherit the throne.
Given that Abdullah has been in charge for a decade, I suspect there will be little real impact if Fahd passes.
Update (1731): Scott Koenig disagrees, noting,
The Saudi royal family is split between a “liberal” faction, centered on Fahd and six of his brothers (also known as the “Sudairi Seven“), and a more conservative group centered on the Crown Prince (the “Abdullah Faction“).
Should Fahd die, expect Abdullah to move quickly to consolidate power.
Reliable sources in the Saudi capital Riyadh said Friday King Fahd is dead, reports the Saudi Institute. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has been dead since late Wednesday, according to several well-placed sources in the capital Riyadh who spoke to the Saudi Institute, a pro-democracy think tank in Washington, on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for the Saudi Institute told United Press International, “the official death of the king will be announced Saturday.”
Fahd’s death will impact the succession of the would-be king, Crown Prince Abdullah, who is half brother to the Sudairi Seven. The Sudairis share one mother and include Fahd, Defense Minister Sultan, Interior Minister Naif, Governor of Riyadh Salman and other Sudiaris who form the most powerful alliance in the ruling tribe of Al-Saud, according to the Saudi Institute.
“Abdullah will find it impossible to wrestle the throne away from the Sudairis who want to maintain power in their branch. The struggle between the Sudairis and Abdullah, if any, would be pose a greater threat to the regime than violent groups who have been engaged in at times fierce clashes with government forces,” reported the Saudi Institute.
That story is datelined May 27 and even the most recent stories on GoogleNews still have Fahd alive, however.