Salman of Saudi Arabia
|King of Saudi Arabia
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
|King of Saudi Arabia|
|Reign||23 January 2015 – present
2 months, 1 week and 1 day
|Bay'ah||23 January 2015|
|House||House of Saud|
|Father||Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia|
|Mother||Hassa Al Sudairi|
31 December 1935 |
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: سلمان ابن عبد العزيز آل سعود, Salmān bin ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz Āl Saʻūd, Najdi Arabic pronunciation: [sælˈmæːn ben ˈʢæbd ælʢæˈziːz ʔæːl sæˈʢuːd]; born 31 December 1935) is the King of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the head of the House of Saud.
He served as the deputy governor and then the Governor of Riyadh for 48 years from 1963 to 2011. He was appointed as defense minister in 2011. He was also named the Crown Prince in 2012 following the death of his brother Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Salman was crowned as the new king of Saudi Arabia on 23 January 2015 following the death of his half brother, King Abdullah.
Salman was born on 31 December 1935, and is reported to be the 25th son of Ibn Saud. Salman and his six brothers make up what is referred to as the Sudairi Seven. He was raised in the Murabba Palace.
Salman received his early education in the Princes' School in the capital city of Riyadh, a school established by Ibn Saud specifically to provide education for his children. He studied religion and modern science.
Governor of Riyadh
As governor, he contributed to the development of Riyadh from a mid-sized town into a major urban metropolis. He served as an important liaison to attract tourism, capital projects and foreign investment to his country. He favored political and economic relationships with the West. During his governorship, Salman recruited advisors from King Saud University.
During Salman's five decades as Riyadh governor, he became adept at managing the delicate balance of clerical, tribal, and princely interests that determine Saudi policy.
In January 2011, he ordered the arrest of Riyadh beggars "who try to take advantage of the generosity of people". All foreign beggars were deported and Saudi beggars were placed in a rehabilitation program by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
He was also the chairman of the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (KAFRA), King Abdulaziz Museum, the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research and the Prince Fahd bin Salman Charitable Society for the Care of Kidney Patients.
Salman also undertook several foreign tours during his reign. In 1974, he visited Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar to strenghten Saudi Arabia's relationship with the nations. During his visit to Montreal, Canada, in 1991, he inaugurated a gallery. In 1996, he was received in Elysee Palace in Paris by the then French president Jacques Chirac. The same year he toured Bosnia and Herzegovina to give donations to the Muslim citizens of the country. Being a part of an Asian tour in 1998, Salman visited Pakistan, Japan, and Brunei and also to Hong Kong and China.
Under Salman, the province became "one of the richest cities in the Middle East" and an important place for trade and commerce. There were also infrastructural advances including schools, universities and sports stadiums. About the province he said
"Every village or town in the Riyadh Region is dear to me, and holds a special place in my heart.... I witnessed every step taken by the city of Riyadh, and for this reason it is difficult for me to think about being far away from Riyadh."
Second in line
On 5 November 2011, Salman was appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, replacing his full brother, the late Crown Prince Sultan, and late Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz was named as the governor of the Riyadh Province. Prince Salman was also named as a member of the National Security Council (NSC) on the same day.
It is speculated that his placement in the immediate line of succession occurred due to his qualities. First, he has a conciliatory and diplomatic nature. He headed the family council, called The Descendants' Council (Majlis al Uthra in Arabic), that was established by King Fahd in 2000 to solve family matters, reach consensus and try to avoid any publicly embarrassing behaviour of some family members. Second, Salman belongs to the “middle generation” in the royal family; therefore, he could develop close ties with both generations socially and culturally. Last, as a result of his long-term governorship, he had developed a network of relationships within Arab and international circles.
Salman continued the policy of military intervention in Bahrain, to try to crush the Bahrain uprising. In April 2012, Salman visited both the United States and the United Kingdom where he met with U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. 2013 saw Saudi military spending climb to $67bn, overtaking that of the UK, France and Japan to place fourth globally. As defense minister, Salman was head of the military as Saudi Arabia joined the United States and other Arab countries in carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in 2014-15.
On 18 June 2012, Salman was appointed as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia shortly after the death of his brother, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz. Prince Salman was also made First deputy prime minister. His nomination as crown prince and deputy prime minister was considered by Reuters to be a signal that King Abdullah's cautious reforms were likely to continue. On the other hand, Saudi reformists stated that whilst Prince Salman, in contrast to other Saudi royals, took a more diplomatic approach towards them, he could not be considered a political reformer. They also argued that, like King Abdullah, Salman focused mainly on economic improvement rather than political change.
On 27 August 2012, the Royal Court announced that Salman was in charge of state affairs whilst King Abdullah was out of the country. Prince Salman launched a Twitter account on 23 February 2013. In September 2012, Salman was named as the deputy chairman of the military service council. He is a strong advocate for philanthropy in poor Muslim nations such as Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
King of Saudi Arabia
On 23 January 2015, Salman aged 79, was crowned the new king after his half-brother Abdullah died of pneumonia at the age of 90. The newly appointed king issued a statement which read "His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1am this morning." He appointed Prince Muqrin as the Crown Prince.
Salman is conservative and holds traditional views with regards to political reforms and social change. It is widely expected that Salman will continue the policies of his predecessor, who liked to be known as a modernizer but also oversaw a regime that was widely criticized for its human rights record.
After coming to power, Salman reshuffled the cabinet on 30 January 2015. Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Humaidan was made the intelligence chief. Prince Bandar bin Sultan was removed from his post in the security council and the adviser to the monarch was also removed as were the former monarch's sons Turki as governor of Riyadh and Mishaal as governor of Mecca. Ali al-Naimi remained the minister of petroleum and mineral resources so did Saud al-Faisal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ibrahim Al-Assaf as finance minister. He also "gave a bonus of two months' salary to all Saudi state employees and military personnel.", including pensioners and students while also asking citizens to "not forget me in your prayers".
In February 2015 estimates that the king’s post-coronation giveaway will ultimately cost more than $32 billion (more than the entire annual budget for Nigeria, which has Africa’s largest economy). These included grants to professional associations, literary and sports clubs; investments in water and electricity; and bonuses worth two months of salary to all government employees, soldiers, pensioners and students on government stipends at home and abroad. Some private companies followed suit with comparable bonuses for their Saudi employees, putting another few billion dollars into people’s pockets. Some of the government spending will come over years, but most will hit the Saudi market this month, including the bonuses.
Among the first things the King and his son did, were to streamline the government bureaucracy. On the death of King Abdullah, there were as many as eleven government secretariats, and all of these were abolished and reconstituted as only two, the Council of Political and Security Affairs (CPSA), headed by Deputy Crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and the Council for Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), headed by the Secretary General of the royal Court Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who were given free reign to completely reorganize the government and cementing the power of the Suderi faction, to which both princes belong.
War with Yemen
In March of 2015, The king ordered the bombing of Yemen in response to a civil war there. he first put together a coalition of ten Muslim countries. Code-named Operation Decisive Storm, this was the first time since 1991 the Saudi air force had launched airstrikes against another country since the 1990-91 Gulf War.
Salman was often a mediator in settling royal conflicts among the extended Al Saud family – estimated at 4,000 princes. He was a prominent figure of the royal council, which allowed him to select which princes will be delegated which responsibilities of the Kingdom.
Salman and his family own a media group, including pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Eqtisadiah. Though he owns only ten percent of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), he is often referred by auditors as its owner. He reportedly controls the organization through his son Prince Faisal, who is a former chairman of the concern. The SRMG publishes such daily papers as Arab News, Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Eqtisadiah through its subsidiary Saudi Research and Publishing Company (SRPC).
In a similar vein, Salman is reported to have some strong alliances with significant journalists. He is said to be close to Al Arabiya TV director and Asharq Al-Awsat journalist Abdelrahman Al Rashid and to Othman Al Omeir, who launched and is the owner of the liberal e-newspaper Elaph. King Salman is thought to have connections with the Elaph website.
In November 2002, in reference to charitable organizations accused of terrorism, Salman stated that he had personally taken part in the activities of such organizations, but added "I know the assistance goes to doing good. But if there are those who change some work of charity into evil activities, then it is not the Kingdom's responsibility, nor its people, which helps its Arab and Muslim brothers around the world."
Al Jazeera referred to Salman's views reported in a 2007 U.S. diplomatic cable. Salman said that "the pace and extent of reforms depend on social and cultural factors, ... that for social reasons—not [religious] reasons—reforms cannot be imposed by the [Saudi government] or there will be negative reactions, ... [and] that changes have to be introduced in a sensitive and timely manner." According to the cable, he said that "democracy should not be imposed" in Saudi Arabia, since the country "is composed of tribes and regions and if democracy were imposed, each tribe and region would have its political party."
Salman bin Abdulaziz married three times. His first wife was Sultana bint Turki Al Sudairi, who died at the age of 71 in late July 2011. She was a daughter of Salman's maternal uncle, Turki bin Ahmad Al Sudairi, who was one of the former governors of Asir Province. Sultana Al Sudairi supported the Prince Fahd bin Salman Charitable Society for the Care of Kidney Patients and other charitable organizations in the country. His children from this marriage are Prince Fahd, Prince Ahmed, Prince Sultan, Prince Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal and Princess Hassa (born 1974).
His eldest son, Fahd bin Salman, died of heart failure at the age of 47 in July 2001. His second son, Ahmad bin Salman, died after a heart attack in July 2002 at the age of 43. Sultan bin Salman became the first person of royal blood, the first Arab, and first Muslim to fly in outer space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-51-G) in June 1985 and is currently the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA). Abdulaziz bin Salman, another son, has been the deputy minister of oil since 1995. Faisal bin Salman is the governor of Madinah province.
His child from his second marriage with Sarah bint Faisal Al Subai'ai is Prince Saud. His children from his third marriage with Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan Al Hithalayn are Prince Mohammed, Prince Turki, Prince Khalid, Prince Nayif, Prince Bandar and Prince Rakan.
Prince Mohammad was his private advisor at the ministry of defense and at the Crown Prince Court. Mohammad was appointed the minister of defence and head of the royal court on his father's accession to the throne in January 2015. Turki bin Salman became the chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group in February 2013, replacing his elder brother Faisal bin Salman.
Salman was the closest brother to Crown Prince Sultan, having remained at his side during his constant illness and recovery in New York and Morocco, from 2008 to 2011. Prince Sultan described him as "the prince of loyalty" in a letter sent to him. Salman was also King Fahd's most trusted advisor during his reign.
In August 2010, Salman underwent spinal surgery in the United States and remained out of the kingdom for recovery. He has had one stroke and despite physiotherapy, his left arm does not work as well as his right. After his appointment as Crown Prince various analysts including Simon Henderson argued that he is suffering from dementia, possibly Alzheimer's disease.
Salman received the Lifetime Achievement Award of Al Turath Charity Foundation in the field of urban heritage in 2013.
|Ancestors of Salman of Saudi Arabia|
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SalmanBorn: 31 December 1935
|King of Saudi Arabia
|Saudi Arabian royalty|
|Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
Badr bin Saud bin Abdulaziz
|Governor of Riyadh Region
Sattam bin Abdulaziz
Nayef bin Abdulaziz
|Minister of Defence
Mohammad bin Salman
|Second Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia
Muqrin bin Abdulaziz
|First Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
|Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia