Mishaal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
|Mishaal bin Abdulaziz|
Mishaal first from the right
|Chairman of the Allegiance Council|
|Governor of Makkah Province|
|Predecessor||Abdullah bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
|Successor||Fawwaz bin Abdulaziz|
|Minister of Defense|
|Predecessor||Mansour bin Abdulaziz|
|Successor||Fahad bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
|House||House of Saud|
|Born||1926 (age 87–88)
He is the full brother of late Prince Mansour, Prince Mutaib and Princess Qumash who died on 26 September 2011. Their mother was an Armenian, Shahida (died 1938), who reportedly was favorite wife of King Abdulaziz.
Prince Mishaal served as the minister of defense from 12 May 1951 to 1953. He replaced his full brother Prince Mansour as minister of defense when he died of alcohol poisoning after a party hosted by then-Riyadh governor Nasser bin Abdulaziz in 1951. Until that date, Prince Mishaal served as deputy minister of defense. When he became minister, his full younger brother Prince Mutaib was appointed his deputy. As minister of defense, he became one of the most affluent princes in the Al Saud. He bought state land for very cheap prices and yielded extraordinary profits. His manner was reported as serious, quiet, and dignified. But because of his lack of education and experience, Prince Mishaal let the ministry remain completely unorganized. He leaned heavily on advice and recommendation from foreign counsel. He wielded significant influence in King Abdulaziz's government. Because of Mishaal's considerable power, King Abdulaziz countered his influence by appointing Abdullah bin Faisal as minister of health and interior.
At the same time, King Abdulaziz established the ministry of air force under Prince Mishaal to prevent flight-related matters from going under Prince Talal, the then minister of communication. Since Mishaal and Talal could not agree, Saudi Arabia was to have two airline fleets. But in April 1955, Prince Talal resigned and the ministry of communication was merged with ministry of finance. In May 1955, King Saud created a renewed modern National Guard. This was led by Saud's son Prince Khalid who replaced a commoner. This move weakened Prince Mishaal because he had often used the old National Guard's resources.
Mishal and his full-brother Mutaib were ousted from the office under King Saud but they got again official power in 1963 by King Faisal who entrusted them the key governorship and deputy governorship, respectively. Specifically, he served as Governor of Makkah Province from 1963 to 1971. Interestingly, both resigned from their posts in 1971 for reasons that are not entirely clear. Prince Mishaal was appointed chairman of the Allegiance Council on 10 December 2007.
Succession to the throne
Mishaal bin Abdulaziz protested more than once that he should have been crown prince since he served as both a governor and a minister and is older than some of his brothers. However, he was well offered for his birthright. It is not an accidental event that his firm, Mishaal International, along with its German and Chinese partners, is the leading contender to build much of the Kingdom's new multi-billion dollar railway system. On the other hand, it is argued that he was immediately excluded from the competition by Sudairi brothers.
Mishaal bin Abdulaziz had no official position for decades until his appointment as Chairman of the Allegiance Council. He devoted himself extensively to business interests and camel racing and breeding. However, he enjoyed a key role in the family hierarchy. He holds almost equal seniority to the king and crown prince. He has been impartial in family politics, although he is known to incline towards King Abdallah or be one of King Abdullah's close allies. His neutral stance made him the perfect choice to be the chairman of the Allegiance Council. This role is considered to be a significant position, giving him influence in the decision-making process in regard to succession.
Mishaal bin Abdulaziz is a leading businessman, with substantial investments in real estate, insurance, electrical utilities, oil trading and cement manufacture.
He is founder of Al Shoula Group, which is a major investor in real estate developments throughout the Middle East partnering with such investors as Dubai's Emaar Group, Kuwait's Bayt Al Mal Investment Company, and the Al Rajhi family's Tameer Group. Al Shoula's wholly owned subsidiary, Dhahran Global, is active in broad areas of the petroleum and petrochemical industry including pipeline development, oil and gas production, oilfield services and international product trading. CEO of Al Shoula Group is his son Prince Abdulaziz.
Prince Mishaal is also chairman of board of Yanbu Cement company, established in 1976.
In October 2009, Mishaal bin Abdulaziz was rushed to hospital in Geneva, apparently having suffered a stroke. Then, he returned to Saudi Arabia from unspecified medical treatment in Beirut in December 2009.
Mishaal bin Abdulaziz is the father of Faisal, Mohammed, Mansour, Abdulaziz, Turki, Khaled, Bandar, Saud, Sultan, Alanoud, Mishael, Madawi, Hessah, Nouf, Noura, Sara, Maha and Loulwah.
He is a supporter of the traditional camel racing and horse racing, and has valuable racing camels and horses. Each year, he patronizes camel races in the kingdom. He also deals with traditional falconry.
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