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Saudi Arabia resolves concern

Between announcing King Abdullah’s passing and declaring the new king, Saudi Arabia did not witness a minute of vacuum

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

Saudi Royal Court’s statements announced on Friday are the most important of what Saudis have heard since the beginning of this century, because these statements came at a turbulent time for the region and at an age when it matters to the people that the Saudi royal family clarifies its track and defines the future line. Two Crown Princes have died before and for the first time a new system was created to appoint the second-in-line to the throne.

Late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was great and popular. He is now succeeded by Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who was his shadow and partner. King Salman was already participating in the governance and was one of the main pillars of the state for almost half a century.

Between announcing King Abdullah’s passing and declaring the new king, Saudi Arabia did not witness a minute of vacuum and did not let people for long waiting answers for the important questions. After the death announcement, there was a fast transition of power from king to king. In the morning his crown prince and second-in-line to the throne were appointed promptly. Thus the Kingdom was secured with a definite rule for years to come. King Salman resolved all outstanding questions about the future of the royal family and the future of the kingdom and transitioned it to a new era.

Pledging allegiance

It is not true what some think that being a king is a job that comes with inheritance. In fact it is about required competence and personality with special qualities. This is the secret of the popularity of King Abdullah, may Allah bless his soul, and this is the reason for which King Salman was chosen to be the 7th king and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. We knew him for decades; Salman, of all princes, had the most engagement with people, scientists, tribes, regional figures and civil society. He constantly visited ill people and shared with people their joys and sorrows… He has undertaken these commitments for decades. This is how the king is within a continuous system of relations with the society, together with performing his daily obligations in managing the state affairs.

Between announcing King Abdullah’s passing and declaring the new king, Saudi Arabia did not witness a minute of vacuum

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

People knew King Abdullah as a great, honest and firm person. He used to take difficult decisions; he inaugurated his ruling with pushing out U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia, at a time when people thought that their presence was necessary for the stability of the country. Then he looked east and opened political and trade relations with, China, India, and Russia. Domestically, he launched a popular campaigns against al-Qaeda and defeated it after persuading his citizens that fighting the terror group was a responsibility of both the people and the state. He led this campaign peacefully all along while the region was falling in turmoil.

Salman Bin Abdul Aziz received pledges of allegiance from citizens yesterday, but he is not new in the Arab and international stage. We find him in images dating back to the sixties with late King Faisal. He was a former envoy and mediator, and was always present in all King Khalid’s activities. He was the right hand man of King Fahd, may Allah bless them all. Practically, King Salman is the most experienced Saudi king on both the domestic and international levels.

Perhaps what matters for the average citizen is not the international relations, but rather his present and the future of his children. With his call to pledge allegiance to Prince Muqrin as crown prince and choosing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as second-in-line to the throne, King Salman has sent a message comforting the Saudis and the younger generation. More than a century has passed since its unification and Saudi Arabia today is standing strong, at a time when many neighboring kingdoms and countries collapsed. Stability has become an important word in the life of the people in the region; people want to see a robust, stable and continuous rule that is capable of development and evolution. The whole world needs to see in our troubled region stable countries with continues ruling systems that can assume their social responsibilities. Unfortunately, we no longer have a lot of such countries in our region. May Allah bless the soul of the great father of the Saudi people, King Abdullah, and may Allah support King Salman in this great responsibility leading the Saudi country.

This article was published on Asharq Al Awsat on Jan. 24, 2015.


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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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