Mishaal bin Saud
|Mishaal bin Saud|
|Governor of Najran Province|
|In office||April 1997 – November 2008|
|Successor||Mishaal bin Abdullah|
|Spouse||Sara bint Faisal bin Turki I bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
|House||House of Saud|
|Born||1940 (age 73–74)|
Mishaal bin Saud was formerly military officer. He successfully led a national guard unit that was among the first sent to defend the northern border during the 1991 Gulf War. His military expertise provided him with the opportunity to hold the position in the Najran Province as governor.
Mishaal bin Saud was made governor of the Najran Province in April 1997. Najran Province is border-area with Yemen. Therefore, the possibility of terror cells crossing from Yemen into Saudi Arabia is a serious threat. Tensions among the Ismaili community remained high since Prince Mishaal's arrival as governor, leading to major protests in 2000. Ismailis accused the local government of harassment, discrimination and arbitrary arrest and detention. As a result, activists from Najran petitioned King Abdullah to remove Prince Mishaal. To succeed, Mishaal bin Saud must be able to govern the local Ismaili population and maintain stability. However, Najran Province became the scene of violent clashes in 2000, when hundreds of Ismailis clashed with police. Ismailis told that it was the spur for plans to reduce their presence in the province, but that the settlement policy could provoke more social unrest. On 23 April 2000, three months after the authorities closed down their mosques on the Ismaili day of Eid al Fitr, strained relations between Ismaili Najranis and the governor, Mishaal bin Saud, came to a head over the arrest of an Ismaili cleric.
Saudi Shiites asked the authorities to decline the settlement plans of Sunni Muslim Yemenis in southern Saudi Arabia to change the demographic balance in favor of Sunnis, although they are the majority. The Ismaili Shiites of Najran said they had petitioned King Abdullah in 2006 to halt settlement of up to 10,000 Yemeni tribesmen in housing projects built for them on the surrounding area of Najran city.
A protest letter sent in January 2008 to the Governor Mishaal bin Saud complained of marginalisation and said plans to settle another Yemeni tribe must stop. "We received assurances that some issues might be resolved, but others will take time," said Mohammed Al Askar, an Ismaili activist involved in drawing up the petition.
Prince Mishaal's term was last renewed in April 2005. However, on 4 November 2008, King Abdullah issued a royal decree relieving Mishaal bin Saud from his duties as governor reportedly at his own request. However, it was commonly believed that he was removed from office for his inability to maintain positive relations with the Ismaili community.
In other words, Mishaal bin Saud was relieved of his duties in November 2008 partly due to his inability to eliminate or at least, reduce tensions among the Ismailis in the province. On the other hand, as a result of increased violence across the border in Yemen as well as tensions between the Yemeni and Saudi governments, a secure and stable Najran province is all the more critical to the Kingdom. Mishaal ruled the province during a time of rapid deterioration in the relationship between the majority Ismaili residents and the provincial authorities. Eventually, Mishaal bin Abdullah Al Saud, son of King Abdullah, replaced him as the governor of the province in March 2009.
Mishaal bin Saud is son-in-law of late Sultan bin Abdulaziz. He also married a daughter of Faisal bin Turki I bin Abdulaziz. He has six children, five boys and a daughter. His daughter, Princess Lamia, was married to late Ahmed bin Salman.
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