Two Funerals and a Riot


King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is dead, at 82 or 84 depending on which obit you read. It doesn't matter, since the king was in a vegetative state since he suffered a stroke several years ago. His death was less the point than what comes afterwards: Crown Prince Abdullah has been named king, but the House of Saud is divided and analysts wonder what the new king can do as he faces powerful rivals in Defense Minister Prince Sultan, the new crown prince, and Interior Minister Prince Nayef.

Maneuvering in recent weeks suggested the king was fading (if not dead). It was recently announced that the ambassador in Washington, Bandar bin Sultan, Prince Sultan's son, would be returning to the kingdom to take up a post–some have suggested a senior intelligence post–while Prince Turki Al-Faisal, son of the late King Faisal, replaced him in Washington. Abdullah, Sultan and Nayef are all old men, near or past 80, so that, as in the U.S.S.R. during the mid-1980s, the changeovers might be swift in the coming years. No doubt the myriad sons are looking to be in a position of influence for that time.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, John Garang, was killed in a helicopter crash yesterday. This comes at the worst possible moment, since Garang had only recently taken up his position as Sudanese vice-president, following a long-awaited peace deal between the Khartoum government and the largely Christian and Animist South. Violence has broken out in the Sudanese capital, with protestors accusing the government of being behind the helicopter crash.

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  1. Rest In Piss

  2. Fahd, that is…

  3. The House of Saud represents the best argument against polygamy the world has ever seen.

    And if you’re going to set up an hereditary monarchy, this has got to be the worst way to do it. Brother inherits from brother who inherited from brother…and when you run out of brothers…civil war, perhaps?

  4. IMO, the HoS represents the best argument against breeding the world has ever seen

  5. Here is something that I posted on a thread below, that I think should be here instead.

    That is very interesting. When I was in Saudi Arabia two years ago, the rumor was that King Fahd was already dead, but that “they” were keeping that from the Saudi public.

    It was said that Abdullah was too pro US for the Saudi public’s taste, and if it were known that he was running the country then there would be a civil war.

    There is a strong belief that a civil war in Saudi Arabia between those who support modernization and ties with the US, and those who would prefer a Taliban like government. And it is assumed that those who would prefer a Taliban government will easily win that war.

    This should be its own H&R thread.

  6. Some of the darkest times in European history were when a crown was in dispute due to some question of succession. War of the Roses, War of Spanish Succession, Hundred Years’ War, the Catholic Church’s Great Schism, etc. I fear the Saudis will soon be putting Europe to shame.

    Mother Nature is an evil psychotic bitch: she put oil underneath Saudi sand.

  7. I just saw an AP headline that said “Sudan Violent After Garang’s Death.” So, serious question–how exactly does this differ from what Sudan was before Garang’s death? What, has the rape rate in Darfur increased?

  8. The Sudan crash reminds of the airplane crasht hat killed Rwanda’s leader. We all know what happened after that. This too might be the catalyst that sends Sudan further into the depths where it has languished for the last few years (in fact, news reports this morning state that rioting and looting is taking place in Khartoum).
    Yeah Jennifer, it can get worse. The Sudanese civil war had been negotiated (that’s why this guy was vice-president in the first place, if I am not mistaken- which I might be). The Darfur tradegy is not directly related to the Sudanese civil war, alhtough it is in the same family tree. It is a mess all around.

  9. So maybe S.A. will become the flypaper that all the al quedists head for in the next few months?

    At least we’d know where to aim the nukes if Osama did take over.

  10. “At least we’d know where to aim the nukes if Osama did take over.”

    Just make sure the nukes don’t interrupt the oil.

  11. Jennifer,

    Sudan has in and out of civil war since the 1960s. So yeah, not much has changed.


    Brother inherits from brother who inherited from brother…and when you run out of brothers…civil war, perhaps?

    The Kievan Rus’ (prior to the Mongol invasion) had similar problems as uncles and nephews duked it out for power after a monarch died. Its been one of the more difficult issues associated with monarchy.

  12. Jennifer,

    Riots in the capital, street fights in the towns.

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