Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: The Saudi Succession | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi’s newly enthroned King Salman, center, receives oaths of loyalty in a traditional Islamic investiture ceremony that bestows his legitimacy, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. World leaders and top dignitaries began arriving in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to give their condolences following the death of King Abdullah, […]

It is only natural that the death of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz would be greeted with such an outpouring of grief due to his status as a unique and visionary world leader.

The King of Saudi Arabia; Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques; an icon for Arabs and Muslims; the father of the Saudi people. These titles and more speak volumes about late King Abdullah, and what a great leader he was.

He ascended to the throne in August 2005, succeeding his late brother King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz, may he rest in peace. His reign would have marked its tenth year next August.

There is a lot to say about this eventful decade, whether domestically or externally, not least the infrastructure boom witnessed by Saudi Arabia’s towns and cities. King Abdullah died at a time when the King Abdulaziz Project for Public Transport in Riyadh, which he initiated, was in full swing.

King Abdullah passed away having initiated a unique educational program that sent hundreds of thousands of Saudi students on government-sponsored scholarships to study abroad. He was also the first King to grant women a voice in the Saudi Shura Council.

A lot can be said about King Abdullah’s achievements on the domestic front. While on the foreign front, King Abdullah rescued Egypt from a storm of chaos and instability, employing the Kingdom’s clout and capabilities to preserve its unity and save it from chaos and strife. He also made every effort to save the Gulf ship from sinking. While before all this, he shielded the Kingdom from the storm of 9/11, drawing his sword to confront terrorism in the Kingdom and beyond.

Like all Saudi monarchs, he left this world after etching his name into history. Now another member of the ruling House of Saud, the Arab and Muslim stronghold, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, has ascended to the throne.

According to Saudi historian Fahd Al-Marek, King Salman is the closest of all his brothers in personality and temperament to Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

New Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman demonstrated a high level of responsibility and leadership when he quickly and efficiently appointed Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz as Crown Prince and Prince Mohammed Bin Naif as Deputy Crown Prince.

Time, for King Salman, is a value in itself and decisiveness and responsibility have been among his attributes since his early youth, characterizing his government service.

What King Salman said in his first speech to the Saudi people and the whole world sent a clear message to those who want to know the secret behind the continuity and success of the Saudi state for almost a century.

He said: “We will continue, with God’s grace and strength, committed to the true approach which was followed by this state since its inception at the hands of the founder, King Abdulaziz, God’s mercy upon him, and at the hands of his sons after him, God’s mercy upon them.”

“We will continue in this country, that God has honored by choosing it as a platform for His message and as the direction Muslims must pray. Our march is to undertake everything possible to keep the unity of our ranks and the unity of word and in defense of our nation’s issues, guided by the teachings of our true Islamic religion which was favored by the Lord to us, the religion of peace, mercy and moderation.”

Based on this, King Salman’s reign can only be a blessed one.