Weeks after his admittance to hospital, royal officials in Saudi Arabia have announced that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has died after suffering from a lung infection.
Abdullah, who was believed to have been about 90-year-old, ruled since 2005. Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Abdullah’s 79-year-old half-brother, as been confirmed as his successor. Caretaker management of the country is now in Salman’s hands, and he is backed by a ruling committee comprised of the king’s son and Minister of the National Guard Mitaib bin Adbullah, Interior Minister Mohammed Bin Nayef and the head of the GIP (Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency) Khaled bin Bander.
Saudi Arabia’s new king, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, is a veteran of the country’s leadership, versed in diplomacy from nearly 50 years as the governor of the capital Riyadh.
He is also known as a mediator of disputes within the sprawling royal family.
The 79-year-old had increasingly taken on the duties of the king over the past year as his ailing predecessor and half-brother, King Abdullah, became more incapacitated.
He had served as defence minister since 2011 and so was head of the military as Saudi Arabia joined the US, and other Arab countries, in carrying out airstrikes in Syria in 2014 against the Islamic State, the Sunni militant group that the kingdom began to see as a threat to its own stability. More about Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud can be found HERE in a blog by Maha Hamdan – Intelligence Analyst at The Intelligence Community LLC.
Further detail about the implications of Abdullah’s death to follow.