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Saudi Crown Prince Nayef dies, unexpectedly raising question of succession in key US ally

Posted on: Jun16 2012 | Leave A Comment

The region is poised to explode. Not pun intended. 3….2…. 1

Hat tip Daryl who opines, "Prince Nayef was one of the seven al-Sudairi full brothers who form the most powerful and ultra-conservative clique within the Saudi Royals. Among them, they controlled the Saudi Defence, Communications, and National Security apparatuses.

[...]Prince Nayef was a force behind global Wahhabi evangelization by any means, the subversion of Western educational and media institutions, the corruption of its politicians, the infiltration of non-Wahhabi national security, religious, and defence organizations.

The continued Energy Slavery to OPEC and the Demise of The European Union speaks volumes about the amazing abilities of Western politicians to fritter away our immense advantages and our freedoms while the shrewd and capable Saudi despots have led an once savage, illiterate, and backward nation to a position of dictating to the rest of the world.

We in The West should hope for a political leadership that is as capable in advancing our national interests as Prince Nayef was in advancing Saudi Arabian interests."

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef dies, unexpectedly raising question of succession in key US ally WaPo

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — For the second time in less than a year, Saudi Arabia was thrown into the process of naming a new heir to the country’s 88-year-old king following the death Saturday of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz.

That forces a potentially pivotal decision: Whether to bring a younger generation a step closer to ruling one of the West’s most critical Middle East allies. King Abdullah has now outlived two designated successors, despite ailments of his own.

t’s widely expected that the current succession order will stand and Nayef’s brother, Defense Minister Prince Salman — another elderly and ailing son of the country’s founding monarch — will become the No. 2 to the throne of OPEC’s top producer.

But Prince Nayef’s death opens the possibility that a member of the so-called “third generation” of the royal clan — younger and mostly Western educated — will now move into one of the traditional ruler-in-waiting roles as the country looks ahead to challenges such as the nuclear path of rival Iran and Arab Spring-inspired calls for political and social reforms around the Gulf.

“Saudi Arabia will have to decide if this is the time to set the next generation on the path to rule,” said Simon Henderson, a Saudi affairs expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

First, however, the Saudi leadership must fall behind the successor for Nayef, the hard-line interior minister who spearheaded Saudi Arabia’s fierce crackdown crushing al-Qaida’s branch in the country after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Nayef, who Al-Arabiya reported died in Geneva, was named crown prince in November after his brother Prince Sultan died.

The Allegiance Council, an assembly of sons and grandsons of the first Saudi monarch, King Abdul-Aziz, will choose the next crown prince.

The likely choice is the 76-year-old Salman, who previously served for more than four decades in the influential post of governor of Riyadh, the capital, as it grew from a desert crossroads to the center of political power for the Western-allied Gulf states.

His links to Saudi religious charities brought Salman into controversy as one of the defendants in a lawsuit by insurance companies that accused Saudi Arabia of funneling money to al-Qaida. A U.S. appeals court in New York had ruled in 2008 that the Saudi royal family and other defendants enjoy immunity from such lawsuits.

Nayef was seen as closely in tune with Saudi’s ultraconservative Wahhabi religious establishment, which gives legitimacy to the royal family and strongly opposes pressures for change such as allowing women to drive or participate on Saudi’s Olympic team. Salman also has little inclination to challenge the authority of the clerics or push hard for reforms, experts say.

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