Passing of the Saudi Crown Prince
ONE JOKE which often is passed among foreign intellectuals on different jobs, from Engineering through Medicine, and ending with the teaching of the Queen’s English Language, was; “What would you do, if when you were born, you automatically started to earn as a Major Prince, one million US dollars per month?” It may sound naïve to announce that the answer to this apparently, stupidly easy question, did not come easy. There was an English Surgeon, who would always say, “I would think of it.” I am sure that, now in his sixties, he has the answer. It so happened that in that part of the world we now call Saudi Arabia, a man had been carried around as a child by his father, through different regions, the last part of which was Kuwait. He ventured, having gathered “enough troops”, and he only had to defeat a competitor around the year 1922, around Jiddah and Riyadh, both cities in Saudi Arabia, and thereafter, he could be King. So it was that in 1932 such a might as the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” came to exist, and the Monarch’s name was “King Abdulaziz Al Saud”. In 1938, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then President of the United States of America, would send American geologists to this brand new King of the desert Kingdom to prospect for oil. The oil talked about here isn’t olive oil, it is petroleum, the kind of oil that has come about as a result of “flora and fauna” compressed under layers of the earth’s crust, and in millennia years have turned into oil. This oil isn’t edible as such, but may be useful in innumerable ways if the finder were smart. Believably, Americans are smart. The Saudis had another problem, and that was they could become so rich with this oil that it could one day hurt. By the time the war that Adolf Hitler caused came to an end, the Saudis and the Americans were in a deal. America would get Saudi oil in billions of barrels, translating into billions of US dollars, to propel the wheels of industrialisation,which could propel the power to lead the world – the power England had lost, as she lost the American War of Independence, then just over a century and a half previously. A new boat on the waters, a giant boat, and Saudi Arabia was on board.
The King married seventeen women, and he fathered many dozens of children. But, just be interested in the Princes, not the princesses.
They would never become queens, but the boys would be kings. The “Sudairi five” – Prince Chalid, Fahd, Naif, Salman, and Turki, were all “princes” and “ibn Saud”. The founder died in 1953, his first surviving son, called Muhamad, succeeded him. He was pushed away by his younger brother called Faisal, who was assassinated by his nephew in 1975. Chalid, “the sick Prince, was King for seven years, and Fahd took over from 1982 till 2005. The present King Abdallah is not among the” Sudairi five”. He was picked to be Fahd’s Crown Prince, “as a compromise.” Being rumoured as a man with a sick heart, he was not expected to last long. Naif had diabetes mellitus and associated conditions. He had been “Interior Minister” since 1975. He was the man groomed to take over from King Abdallah. He died last Friday night almost 80 years old. His King-brother is presently 90 years old. Critics may gossip what they may about the Custodian of the “Two Holy Mosques” in “Makkah Mukharamah and Madina Munawarah.” The Shiits in Iran are angry with the “claim”, especially, when King Fahd was on the throne, of comparison with the “Holy Roman Empire” of Europe cannot fit flush, but critical Islamists think the designation isn’t necessary. In 1979, fundamentalists Muslims seized the Kabbah in Makka at the summit of the Haj. According to jocular rumours, commandos, employed by the heart-sick Saudi King to “capture them or shoot them down, included Jewish special troopers. It was a method which worked with little collateral casualties, if any. The Saudi Monarchy has done an awful lot for what many would call “the Islamic world.” The Israeli-Palestine conflict has captured the attention of the Monarchy in Riyadh. Hundreds of millions of dollars, if not indeed billions, have been pumped into the never-ending conflict. Saudi money has stood by the side of even hegemonies like once in Iraq. Prince Naif (Neyef) stood straight for the fight against Islamic fundamentalism, the Bin Ladin style. Saudi Wahhabis may have lost a fighter on the 15/06/2015. The world may join in saying “Al Hamdurillah!”
Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD
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