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August 01, 2005

Saudi King Fahd, dead at age 84

From MSNBC...

Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, who moved his country closer to the United States but ruled the world’s largest oil producing nation in name only since suffering a stroke in 1995, died early Monday, the Saudi royal court said. He was 84.

Crown Prince Abdullah, the king’s half brother and already Saudi Arabia’s de factor ruler, was appointed the country’s new monarch.

“With all sorrow and sadness, the royal court in the name of his highness Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and all members of the family announces the death of the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz,” according to a statement read on state-run Saudi TV by the country’s information minister.

From Al Jazeera...

As the eighth son of Abdul Aziz al-Saud who founded Saudi Arabia in 1932, Fahd rose rapidly up the ranks, becoming education minister in 1953 before taking over as interior minister.

Designated as next in line after King Faisal's assassination in 1975, Fahd was in practical terms running the country under the rule of his ailing brother King Khaled from 1975 to 1982.

From the Jerusalem Post...

The portly, goateed Fahd inadvertently helped fuel the rise of Islamic extremism by making concessions to hard-liners in an effort to boost his Islamic credentials. But he also brought the kingdom closer to the United States and agreed to a step that enraged many conservatives: the basing of U.S. troops on Saudi soil after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

In his last years, the sickly Fahd was mostly a figurehead as the close relationship he nurtured with the United States deteriorated after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, and many in the US administration blamed the kingdom's strict Wahhabi school of Islam for fueling terrorism.

It fell to Fahd's half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah - who was appointed as the new monarch Monday - to guide Saudi Arabia.

His legacy appears to be that he tried to play both ends against the middle and wound up empowering world-wide mayhem and violence.

While most news sources carried the same AP dispatch, I quoted the “portly, goateed” bit from the Jerusalem Post, cause I figured they more than anyone would want to have been the ones to have said it. Of course it pales in comparison to what Fahd's people have been saying about Israel and Jews.

Coverage: Outside the Beltway, Cao's Blog, InTheBullpen, Captain's Quarters, WizBang

Posted by Danny Carlton at August 1, 2005 07:23 AM

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