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pedro
08-01-2005, 05:40 PM
Thought this was a notable story.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/08/01/fahd.obit/index.html

Saudi names king after Fahd death

Monday, August 1, 2005; Posted: 3:53 p.m. EDT (19:53 GMT)

(CNN) -- Key U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has named Abdullah its new monarch to succeed King Fahd who has died after guiding the world's largest oil exporter through 23 turbulent years.

Saudi officials said King Abdullah, who is at least 80 and has run most of the kingdom's affairs since his half brother suffered a stroke in 1995, would maintain its close alliance with the West.

As world leaders offered their condolences Monday to King Fahd, U.S. President George W. Bush promised a close partnership with Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Abdullah, whom Bush referred to as "my friend."

U.S. officials said Fahd's death would have little effect on U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia because the former Crown Prince Abdullah has been the de facto ruler for years and has close ties to Bush and his family. (Abdullah profile)

"I have spoken today to the new king, and the United States looks forward to continuing the close partnership between our two countries," Bush said in a written statement in which he congratulated Abdullah on assuming the throne. (Full story)

The reign of Fahd -- who was believed to be between 82 and 84 -- was marked by unprecedented prosperity, but whose close ties with the U.S. stirred the passions of Islamic militants

Saudi Arabia's outgoing ambassador to Britain and its next envoy to the United States said Abdullah would continue the fight against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, which has waged a violent two-year campaign aimed at toppling the Saudi royal family.

"I cannot imagine there will be any particular change in that (foreign) policy undertaken by the late King Fahd," Prince Turki al-Faisal told Reuters.

Asked whether the same applied to the kingdom's oil policy, Prince Turki said: "Absolutely."

A source told CNN's Nic Robertson that Fahd died Sunday evening. His burial is scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. (8 a.m. EDT) in Riyadh.

Defense Minister Prince Sultan replaced Abdullah as crown prince.

"King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has chosen Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz as Crown prince in accordance with Article 5 of the basic system of government," a statement from the Saudi royal court said.

"Allegiance will be paid by the public to King Abdullah and Prince Sultan after the noon prayers on Wednesday."

The Saudi monarch had been in and out of the hospital in recent months, most recently suffering from pneumonia-like symptoms.

Fahd assumed the throne on June 13, 1982, becoming the fifth king of Saudi Arabia. He was the son of King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi Arabia.

"I will be father to the young, brother to the elderly," he once said. "I am but one of you; whatever troubles you, troubles me; whatever pleases you, pleases me."

The Saudi monarch was held in high esteem across the Arab and Muslim worlds because of his role as the custodian of the two holy mosques -- the major shrines of Islam in Mecca and Medina.

As king, he supervised projects to facilitate the hajj for the more than 2 million pilgrims from around the world who visit each year. Under his rule, Mecca was expanded to 3.5 million square feet to accommodate 1 million worshippers; Medina has grown to nearly 1.8 million square feet to accommodate 500,000 people, according to his official biography.

He was also an ardent supporter of the mujahedeen in the 1980s in their fight against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan -- where Saudi-born terror leader Osama bin Laden first gained a following.

But it was Fahd's decision to allow U.S. forces to be based out of Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq that outraged Islamic fundamentalists, including bin Laden who criticized his homeland for allowing "infidels" to attack another Arab country from its soil.

The United States also used a highly secret base in the kingdom to conduct special operations from during the early days of the Iraq invasion in 2003.

Al Qaeda terrorists have launched several attacks inside the kingdom in recent years. And 15 of the 19 hijackers in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States were from Saudi Arabia -- a fact that did not sit well with many in Washington who have been skeptical of the kingdom.
story.abdullah.ap.jpg
Crown Prince Abdullah has been named the new Saudi king.

But the Bush administration has remained staunchly behind the kingdom since 9/11, calling Riyadh a key ally in the war on terror.

"The Saudis have been very aggressive in hunting down the terrorist cells that are in Saudi Arabia and we've had a good deal of success also on the terrorist financing front," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said during a foreign policy speech in May 2005.

Born in 1923, Fahd attended one of the kingdom's first educational institutions during his youth, and in 1953 he became Saudi's first minister of education.

For the next two decades, he served increasingly important roles, including interior minister, deputy prime minister and crown prince. In 1977, he met with U.S. President Jimmy Carter and U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance about the importance of American involvement in trying to forge a lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"I believe the U.S. can play an important part in solving the problem if we take into account not only American influence worldwide, but also the strong relationship between America and Israel," he said at the time.

He continued to try to work for Mideast peace over the years, including on his first visit to the United States as king in 1985 when met with President Ronald Reagan about the need for a renewed American role in the Mideast peace process.

During Fahd's tenure, the kingdom saw an economic, agricultural and educational transformation, building on its oil wealth to become an international and regional power.

"With the blessing and grace of Almighty God and with the assistance of the faithful Saudi people, we shall continue the welfare march of construction and development and maintain the gains which are reflected by comprehen

savafan
08-02-2005, 12:55 AM
Interesting that King Fahd's death seemed to be a reason for a rise in the price of oil. The same way that the 4th of July is a reason for a rise in the price of oil, as is Thanksgiving and summer.

Redsfaithful
08-02-2005, 01:23 AM
U.S. officials said Fahd's death would have little effect on U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia because the former Crown Prince Abdullah has been the de facto ruler for years and has close ties to Bush and his family. (Abdullah profile)

Awesome. Wouldn't want to upset our relations with such a lovely nation.

How can people believe that Bush wants to spread democracy when they see this?

jmcclain19
08-02-2005, 04:14 AM
I did my college history thesis on the House of Saud - fascinating topic, in mostly a train wreck style of fascination.

Fahd had built, from the groundwork to the top, a full scale replica of the White House, but after having it built refused to set foot in it or make it a residence because of the repurcussions of a Saudi Ruler imitating an American President.

The House of Saud is also unique in that Fahd's father, King Ibn Saud himself, simply seized power by lining up the warring Wahhabi tribes and declared himself royalty. Even had the cajones to name the new nation after himself as well as his royal family.

I wouldn't expect any sort of change. King Fahd had a stroke in 1995, and Crown Prince, now King Abdullah has been running the day to day operations since then.

Picking Sultan as the crown prince is the interesting move. That's an old style middle east move. Sultan is by no means one of the more powerful brothers, in fact, it can be aruged he's one of the weaker, quieter ones. Won't make any waves. Nayef, who runs the Saudi Intelligence Service and the Saudi "CIA" would be the big dog in the family, and he's been completely outed this time around.

Could make for an interesting old style "Ottoman Empire" fight between warring brothers.

With Fahd's hundreds of grandkids, the House of Saud now has something like 5k Princes roaming around Saudi Arabia. Could make for quite the civil war, now that the change at the top has happened.

RedFanAlways1966
08-02-2005, 09:08 AM
Awesome. Wouldn't want to upset our relations with such a lovely nation.

How can people believe that {PRESIDENT} Bush wants to spread democracy when they see this?

Yep. We should use the death of a leader who has been out of the loop for 10 years as an opportunity to invade Saudi Arabia and take over the entire country. Hey... $0.25 per gallon for fuel, I can dig it.

Yep. Let us see... the U.S. gets rid of Saddam and we are a terrible nation. The U.S. announces (to no one's surprise but liberal extremists) that they will maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia and that is bad. Hmmmm.... darned if you do, darned if you don't. Well... Bush-haters see it that way. SHOCK!

This is reason to have a get-together and watch Fahren. 9-11. Let's rally the fellow extremists and start more protests!! Perhaps we can get the Dixie Clucks to play the event. Jane Fonda can emcee along with Martin Sheen. Al Franken can be head of security. Hillary Clinton? She learned a thing or two about politics from her hubby and will not be anywhere near that event. Oh well... there are enough liberal extremists to have a good Bush-Whacking. Look out Saudi Arabia.... those war-monging liberals want you almost as bad as they want King Karl Rove!

registerthis
08-02-2005, 09:16 AM
I think RedsFaithful's point is that Bush makes a great deal of noise trumpeting ideals like "democracy" and "freedom" throughout the world...how no tyrant will be allowed to stand, how the U.S. will shine as a beacon of hope, blah blah blah.

And yet our closest allies in the region, aside from Israel, is a nation with one of the most atrocious human rights records on the planet. Bush saw no problems invading Iraq when it suited him--and, yes, Hussein was an evil bastard. But where is the consistency? I'm not advocating a Saudi invasion, but don't you think that Bush could at least, perhaps, just a bit...maybe casually mention to the Saudis that gross human rights violations and repression of civil liberties aren't the greatest thing in the world?

Or could it be that Bush, honestly, just doesn't care?

RedFanAlways1966
08-02-2005, 09:33 AM
I think RedsFaithful's point is...

I repect your view on this registerthis, but I think RF's ONLY point is to bash PRESIDENT Bush. But it is so easy to sit at home in the Columbus area and take pot-shots at the leadership of the United States. Esp. with all the worldly knowledge that has been gathered in many years of experience... while sitting at home in the Columbus area. Columbus... the capital of the state that "stole" the election for PRESIDENT Bush.

registerthis
08-02-2005, 10:00 AM
I repect your view on this registerthis, but I think RF's ONLY point is to bash PRESIDENT Bush.
Ok, well, address my points, then, and ignore RF's. Do you , or do you not, view it as a double standard that Bush preaches democracy, freedom and liberty for all people, yet cozies up to one of the worst human rights abusers on Earth?

I certainly do--I would like to see us distance ourselves as much as possible from that regime. I would like to see the U.S. take the lead in bringing to light human rights abuses and violations before the U.N. and the World Court (as I would have liked to see us do with Hussein.) I would like to see us making concerted efforts to remove ourselves from dependance on THEIR oil. And I would like to see less photo ops with our president and their ruler holding hands and walking through a garden. the Saudi regime is one that, taken at face value, the Bush administration should be virulently against, as it espouses everything they seem to despise. Yet, our ties to the Kingdom have only grown closer since Bush took office. Why is that?

zombie-a-go-go
08-02-2005, 10:12 AM
Yet, our ties to the Kingdom have only grown closer since Bush took office. Why is that?

Well, we all know that it's because of the oil; that goes without saying. While it's certainly noble to want to cut ties with the Saudis, pragmatically it'll never happen. The great majority of this country are willing to care about social causes only so long as it doesn't cut into their personal wealth - when it comes down to it, we aren't willing to spend just eleven cents a day to feed and school that malnourished kid in Ethopia, and we certainly could care less about human rights violations in another country if caring is going to cost us an extra .50 - .60c per gallon at the pump.

Sure, we all say we care, and something must be done, but when the rubber hits the road and we have to do more than puff out our chests and talk a good game - when we, the American People(tm) as a whole, have to suffer for an ideal... well, it just doesn't happen.

We're a Nation of Liars. We lie to ourselves, because if we were brutally honest we wouldn't be able to look in the mirror anymore without cringing. Quite simply, when it comes down to it, we don't care.

IMO. :D

Whether or not we got the President we wanted, we certainly got the one we deserve. Now gimme some apple pie, a case of Budweiser, and a ballgame so I don't have to think about it anymore.

registerthis
08-02-2005, 10:28 AM
Ouch.

yet, sadly and painfully true.

BTW, I would be fully supportive of an additional $2-$3 at the pump if the tax was used to fund and develop alternative fuel sources. Aside from the political and social turmoil which oil causes, it's simply an awful thing to be burning and putting into the atmosphere. If gasoline at $5 a gallon would ween us off of it, albeit painfully, then go for it.

GIK
08-02-2005, 11:36 AM
zombie, that's a post that'll slap you back into reality if I've ever seen one. Pure honesty.

traderumor
08-02-2005, 12:02 PM
Great post, Zombie.

RedFanAlways1966
08-02-2005, 02:02 PM
We're a Nation of Liars.

Whether or not we got the President we wanted, we certainly got the one we deserve. Now gimme some apple pie, a case of Budweiser, and a ballgame so I don't have to think about it anymore.

Deserve? I guess I need more clarification to understand what the heck that means. Anyhow... I thank the almighty that we got the president that we got. The guy that won the electoral and popular vote. The one that had to fight lies and misportrayals by people that can influence... Michael Moore and Dan Rather.

I would not use such a wide brush by calling us a Nation of Liars. I am not a liar. My wife is not a liar. The country that I am glad to call home is not a Nation of Liars. As a matter of fact, give me the names of other nations who give as much to charitable causes as the one I call home. Please do not hurt thy head by searching for these other nations. I would venture to guess that this nation that I call home could "own" those oil fields in the Middle East if we so desired. To call this a Nation of Liars (b/c of ties w/ S.A.) is the same as saying Americans who drive SUVs support the terrorists.

BTW... when do we hear cries from these caring Americans about Saudi Arabia? Well the only time I hear it is when a some left-leaner spews more hatred towards a Republican administration. Did these lefties scream and shout about Saudi Arabia when Pres. Clinton was hobnobbing with the Saudis? Please remind me.

How many Middle East nations have allowed the U.S. to put troops on their soil when needed? I know that Saudi Arabia did. You see... it is not always as simple as "just oil" as some would make it sound. Sure oil is a major player (16% of the U.S. oil comes from Saudi Arabia). But slavery was not the only reason that the Civil War happened in this great country over 100 years ago. It is just not so easy to state (well it is easy to state, but not prove). Nice to have friends like this when need be the case. Makes fighting a war a bit simpler than moving troops from thousands of miles away or from a ship in the sea. Yes, the Saudis were great friends when we and others saved Kuwait from the death and rape by Iraq. And I am sure the Saudis felt the same way about the United States when it was not killed and raped by Saddam and his ruthless army back in 1990. Did anyone realize that from 1940-45, Saudi Arabia was on the allied side during World War II, giving room for an US air base in Dhahran? For those who do understand the importance of this, study up on the North Africa battles against Germany/Italy during WWII.

Sure oil is a major player in the ties with the Saudis. But do not be fooled to think that the United States is the only country getting oil from the Saudis. And do not call yourself a liar. Well you can if you want, but do not call me a liar. I do not lie. I just drive a car and I pay whatever is being asked (I have no control of this). But cars are driven by people of all nations... perhaps we are a Planet of Liars?

Rojo
08-02-2005, 02:28 PM
Did anyone realize that from 1940-45, Saudi Arabia was on the allied side during World War II, giving room for an US air base in Dhahran?

And Iraq was our friend when they were fighting the Iranians. Strange bedfellows are meant to be tossed over.

registerthis
08-02-2005, 04:11 PM
And Iraq was our friend when they were fighting the Iranians. Strange bedfellows are meant to be tossed over.

http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/graphics/saddam_rummy.jpg

RedFanAlways1966
08-03-2005, 08:53 AM
And Iraq was our friend when they were fighting the Iranians. Strange bedfellows are meant to be tossed over.

Yep...

So by making this comment, you have put Saudi Arabia on the same level as Iraq and Saddam? Is this what you are saying? I think this is what you are implying.

S.A. has some issues. Women cannot vote. They have different laws than the U.S. laws. That does not make them wrong... it makes them different. They are very much into their religion. That factors into most of their laws. Wrong? No, different.

Have the leaders of S.A. murdered thousands upon thousands of their political and ethnic rivals (like the Baath Party)? Have the leaders of S.A. invaded a neighboring country for no reason other than selfishness? Have the leaders of S.A. used gas to murder thousands of their ethnic rivals? Have the leaders of S.A. snubbed their noses at U.N. sanctions and no-fly-zones?

So what is your point?!? The "we were frineds at one time with Iraq" does not mean a thing. ZERO. Especially when talking about the announcement that the U.S. will remain friendly with S.A. after the passing of their King. But if it makes Dems feel better to moan, groan and complain... then go right ahead. Nothing new there.

Talk to a war vet. One that saw combat in North Africa against the Nazis and the Italians. Or one that saw action in Gulf War I. I am sure they have an appreciation for Saudi Arabia that the complainers in this country can never understand.

registerthis
08-03-2005, 11:18 AM
Yep...

So by making this comment, you have put Saudi Arabia on the same level as Iraq and Saddam? Is this what you are saying? I think this is what you are implying.
I don't think it's that much of a stretch to make that comparison. The difference between Saddam and S.A. is that S.A. has maintained better relations with its neighbors and hasn't been embroiled in any large scale conflicts. The governments, however, are eerily similar. Neither S.A. nor Saddam allowed any room for political dissent. Women actually had more rights under Saddam than in most Arab nations. Executions were commonplace in both. Political prisoners were commonplace in both. Both regimes ruled with an iron fist. Comparitively speaking, the Saudi regime is one of the most brutal and repressive on the planet. Additionally, it is a very secretive regime, so many abused are either not reported or are lacking in details.


S.A. has some issues. Women cannot vote. They have different laws than the U.S. laws. That does not make them wrong... it makes them different. They are very much into their religion. That factors into most of their laws. Wrong? No, different.

Have the leaders of S.A. murdered thousands upon thousands of their political and ethnic rivals (like the Baath Party)? Have the leaders of S.A. invaded a neighboring country for no reason other than selfishness? Have the leaders of S.A. used gas to murder thousands of their ethnic rivals? Have the leaders of S.A. snubbed their noses at U.N. sanctions and no-fly-zones?
Now this is interesting...Saudi Arabia is merely "different", yet Saddam was so inherently evil that it was worth the lives of thousands of Americans and countless thousands of Iraqis to depose of him. Oh, I know...Saddam gassed the Kurds (funny how so many people have such warm feeling for the Kurds), he gassed the Iranians (with our help), he was an all-around mean guy. yes, I know, I get it. But you know what? In some respects, Saudi Arabia is worse.

Let's review how Saudi Arbia is *different* from us, shall we?

Whilst Saddam's regime was fundamentally secular, Saudi Arabia is one of the most religious-based authoritarian regimes on the planet. There is no freedom to practice religion other than Islam--doing so is punishable by imprionment and/or death. Contrast this with Iraq, which had a sizeable Christian minority under Saddam.

Women have practically no freedoms in Saudi Arabia, they are treated as if they were property. Not only can they not vote, but they may not venture outside without a male relative. Adultery or pre-marital sex is a punishable offense--for women only--which can result in imprisonment. Women may not own property, have restrictions on employment, restrictions on education, have restrictions on driving...and, as you mentioned, have no say in the political process. All of these things, it should be noted, were rights enjoyed by women in Iraq under Saddam.

There are severe restrictions on freedom of speech. TV and radio are all government-controlled, and print media is largely government-subsidized. Academic freedoms are severely constrained--not only against women, but against the type of subjects, theories and philosophies which may be discussed in classrooms. (No evolution, Freud or western music or philosophy, for example) Dissent against the House of Saud is forbidden and punishable by inprisonment and/or execution. To this end, Saudi Arabia and Saddam are quite similar.

Yes, Saudi Arabia truly is, as you put it, "different."

Now none of this, mind you, is to take away from the brutality of Saddam's regime. No one has ever questioned that. Saddam was an evil tyrant, yes. He did horrible things, yes. But it is practically laughable to watch conservatives constantly speak of the evils of Iraq under Saddam, and then provide a blind pass to Saudi Arabia simply because the Bush administration is close with them and consistently reminds us they are our "allies".

The truth of the matter is, Saddam decided to stop playing ball with the U.S. long ago. It ALL comes down to oil. It's why we supported him against Iran in the 1980s. It's why we invaded Iraq during the first Gulf War. It's why the oil refineries and pipelines were the first things protected after our invasion in 2003.

If you don't believe that's true, then tell me, honestly, that you don't think the Bush Administration would have been in Iraq within a week if 19 of the 9/11 hijackers had been Iraqis. Tell me you don't think we would have heard, a million times over, that Iraq "attacked us" and had to be stopped. After all, we had no problems invading Afghanistan, because they harbored Bin laden. Why, then, the silence on the overwhelming participation of Saudis in the 9/11 attacks? Why has there not been one single word of condemnation spoken? WHy no pressing of the Saudi regime on human rights abuses?

Because they play our game, they deal with us...that's why. It makes them "allies". And it makes Saddam a brutal tyrant, while Saudi Arabia is merely "different".