Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

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عبد الله بن عبد العزيز آل سعود
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
House of Saud
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (Arabic: عبد الله بن عبد العزيز آل سعود, born 1924) became the King of Saudi Arabia on August 1, 2005. Formerly known as Crown Prince Abdullah, he succeeded the throne following the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. He had previously acted as de facto regent and thus ruler of Saudi Arabia since 1995 when King Fahd was incapacitated by a major stroke. He was formally enthroned on August 3, 2005, but he inherited the title of King immediately after the death of his half-brother. [1]One of his sons, Prince Mutaib serves as a deputy commander in the Saudi National Guard.

Abdullah also serves as Prime Minister and Commander of the Saudi National Guard. He is one of 37 sons of King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.


Early Life

Abdullah was born in Riyadh to Ibn Saud's eighth wife, Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim of the Abde section of the Shammar tribe. She had earlier been married to the 10th Rashidi amir, Saud, who was killed in 1920. Abdullah received his early education that was in the Royal Court at the Princes' School from religious authorities and intellectuals. He was given the position of Commander of the Saudi National Guard in 1963, and the position of First Deputy Prime Minister in June 1982. Abdullah has four wives, seven sons and fifteen daughters.


King Abdullah is a devout Muslim and follows the Salafi understanding of Islam which is a strict intrepretation of the religion based on the teachings of the first three generations of Muslims, and is said to have meetings with leaders of Saudi Arabia's religious establishment on a weekly basis to garner advice and guidance.

Governance and foreign policy

In recent years the image of moderation cultivated by Abdullah has been compromised, as Saudi Arabian schools are alleged to teach anti-Semitism and Saudi Arabia's Royal Family funds madrassas around the world. Saudi Arabia was also a major backer of the Taliban in Afghanistan. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates withdrew recognition of the Taliban government.

In 2002, Abdullah floated the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, what many considered at the time to be an opening salvo in a Saudi attempt to make peace with Israel. The plan called for Israel to cede almost the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority and to recognize the PA's sovereignty, with the Authority's capital in East Jerusalem. In exchange, Abdullah offered unprecedented concessions, including the ending of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a peace treaty with Israel, recognition of the state of Israel (despite the 1947 UN Partition Plan approved by the UN General Assembly), and the establishment of "normal relations" between Arab states and Israel.

The plan was dropped after criticism from both Arab states and Israel.

Recently, Abdullah has visited Egypt, Syria and Jordan in what the Saudi Arabian government calls "an attempt to restart the stalled Middle East peace process and promote Arab unity and cooperation."


Abdullah paid for the surgery of a pair of Polish conjoined twins which took place at the King Abd al-Aziz Medical City in Riyadh on 3rd January 2005. He had heard about the twins from a doctor who found the information about the twins on the Internet. 14-month-old Daria and Olga Kolacz were successfully separated after the surgery which took 15 hours.

Abdullah has established two libraries, one in Riyadh (the King Abdulaziz Library) and another in Casablanca, Morocco.

Relationship with the United States

King Abdullah with George W. Bush at the Prairie Chapel Ranch
King Abdullah with George W. Bush at the Prairie Chapel Ranch

In October 1976, as Abdullah was being groomed for greater responsibility in Riyadh, he was sent to the United States to meet with then-President Gerald Ford. He again travelled to the United States in October 1987, meeting then-Vice President George H. W. Bush. In September of 1998, Abdullah made a state visit to the United States to meet in Washington, DC with then-President Bill Clinton. He returned again in September of 2000 to attend millennium celebrations at the United Nations in New York, New York.

Since then Abdullah has visited America many times, and there are reports that the Bush family, including President George W. Bush, consider Abdullah to be a great friend — both of America and the Bush family.

On terrorism

Abdullah with United States Vice President Dick Cheney
Abdullah with United States Vice President Dick Cheney

On the second anniversary of the September 11 attack on the United States, the then-prince wrote a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, which ended with:

"God Almighty, in His wisdom, tests the faithful by allowing such calamities to happen. But He, in His mercy, also provides us with the will and determination, generated by faith, to enable us to transform such tragedies into great achievements, and crises that seem debilitating are transformed into opportunities for the advancement of humanity. I only hope that, with your cooperation and leadership, a new world will emerge out of the rubble of the World Trade Center: a world that is blessed by the virtues of freedom, peace, prosperity and harmony." [2]

See also

Preceded by:
King of Saudi Arabia and
head of the House of Saud

Succeeded by:
Crown Prince Sultan
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