Saud of Saudi Arabia

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Saud of Saudi Arabia.jpg
King Saud in 1952
King of Saudi Arabia
Reign 9 November 1953 –
2 November 1964
Bay'ah 9 November 1953
Predecessor Abdulaziz
Successor Faisal
Born (1902-01-15)15 January 1902
Kuwait City
Died 23 February 1969(1969-02-23) (aged 67)
Athens, Greece
Burial Al-Oud cemetery, Riyadh
Full name
Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud.
House House of Saud
Father King Abdulaziz
Mother Wadhah bint Muhammad bin 'Aqab
Religion Wahhabi Hanbali Sunni Islam

Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (/sɑːˈd/;[1] Arabic: سعود بن عبد العزيز آل سعودSu'ūd ibn 'Abd al-'Azīz Āl Su'ūd; 15 January 1902 – 23 February 1969) was King of Saudi Arabia from 1953 to 1964.

Major events
1954 The first five years plan announced by King Saud in his speech no. (6499/1/20/5)
1954 The formation of the “Saudi Arabian Naval Transport Company'' in association with Aristotle Onassis.
1954 The inauguration of the first naval ship “King Saud I“ in Hamburg
1954 The inaugration of the 1st Islamic Conference in Makkah
1955 The start of the First Saudi expansion of the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah
1955 The 1st Saudi expansion of the holy Mosque of Makkah
1956 The rejection of King Saud to join “The Baghdad Pact” initiated by London and Washington
1956 Saudi Arabia stopped exporting oil to Britain and France because of the Suez Crisis.
1957 King Saud support to Jordan during their political crisis which threatened to topple King Hussein’s throne
1957 King Saud strong diplomatic efforts at the UN denouncing the Israeli’s attempts to obliterate the legal right of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba
1957 King Saud diplomatic efforts to mediate between Syria and Turkey
1957 The USA causes the fall of oil price
1957 Saudi Arabia became a member at the International Monetary Fund.
1957 The establishment of the first university in Saudi Arabia (King Saud University)
1960 A Royal Pronouncement to establish “The General Presidency for the Education of Girls”
1961 Establishing OPEC
1961 Saud became sick and traveled to America for treatment.
1962 Establishing the Arab League Council.
1962 A Royal Decree no (3/1/5) was announced with the ten points of reforms to abolish slavery.
1961 Saud became sick and traveled to America for treatment.
1962 Saud established Saudi Television.
1963 Saudi Arabia withdrew its troops from Kuwait, after the end of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti conflict.

Early life[edit]

Prince Saud was born on 15 January 1902 in Kuwait City.[2][3][4] The second son of Ibn Saud,[5] he was born in the home of Amir Abdul Rahman bin Faisal. They were in the district of Sakkat Anaza where the family was staying after their exile from Riyadh. After his father Abdulaziz conquered Riyadh in 1902, Saud followed him with his mother and brothers.

Prince Saud had one full brother, Turki I.[6] and a sister, Mounira.[7] Their mother was King Abdulaziz's second wife Wadhah bint Muhammad bin 'Hussein,[6] who belonged to the Qahtan tribe.[8][9]

When he was five years old, his father took him to Sheikh Abdul Rahman Mufaireej. He learned Shari'a and the Qur'an. He also learned archery and horse-riding amongst other things under the supervision of his father and learnt from him tribal lineages, how to sign peace agreements, and the art of war, politics, diplomacy and administration in the traditional Arabian ways. He accompanied his father on his many expeditions and, participated in several campaigns during the unification stages of the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, his father would entrust him from time to time with war related or political, administrative and, diplomatic missions, where he proved himself in measuring up to his father's aspirations and even at times in surprising him by the outcome of his endeavors. His personal courage undoubtedly contributed to the achievement of these skills, besides his humble personality and sense of humor, accompanied by great sincerity, kindness, legendary generosity and a regard for others. These qualities rendered him admiration from his friends and enemies alike, and often enabled him to win over bitter enemies and convert foes into friends. When King' Abdul 'Aziz appointed him as an heir to his throne in (1923), his famous advice to his son was that, he should always be devoted to the service of the cause of the Almighty, and aspire towards raising aloft the voice of Islam and strive hard to look after the concerns and affairs of his subjects, and be truthful in word and deed. He also advised him to incline towards and respect Muslim scholars and to keep their company and listen to their advice. The young (Ameer) Saud had then pledged to his father that he would loyally abide by his words.[10]

Saud's first political mission occurred when aged thirteen, he led a delegation to Qatar. He led the first war against Ha'il in 1921, and became the leader of Saudi troops fighting in Yemen. In addition, Saud participated in eight wars before his accession: Jirrab War , Yatab War and both took place in 1915, Alkuras in 1918, Turba in 1919, Hail surrender in 1919, Almahmal in 1925 and the Ikhwan Revolt and sebla war in 1929.[11]

On 11 May 1933, he was appointed Crown Prince by his father.[12] In 1937, he and Prince Muhammad represented King Abdulaziz at the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom in London.[13] Before the death of King Abdulaziz, Prince Saud was named Prime Minister on 11 October 1953.[14] Prince Saud was very close to his father, upon whose death he said: "I lost my father…and my friend".[15][citation needed]

In 1934, King Abdulaziz sent two military expeditions; one of them was lead by Crown Prince Saud who planned to attack Najran and to advance secretely through rugged mountains in the north west part of Yemen.[16]


Saud succeeded his father as King on 9 November 1953.[3][17]

National policy[edit]

King Saud established numerous governmental ministries. In 1957, he founded King Saud University in Riyadh.

Saud was keen to give his own sons power, and he placed them in high governmental positions. From 1953 to 1964, the appointment of eight ministers was partly to contain the fermenting demands for political participation among members of the royal lineage. By 1957, Saud had placed his son Fahd as Minister of Defence, his son Musaid to lead the Royal Guard, his son Khalid to command the National Guard (at only seventeen years old),[18] and his son Saad in the Special Guard.[19] Other sons appointed to prominent government offices included the second Minister of Defence (Mohammed), governor of Riyadh Province (Badr), and governor of Makkah Province (Abdallah), who became known as "little kings". Saud's appointments annoyed the king's half-brothers, who thought that his sons were too inexperienced, and began to fear that Saud would select his own son to succeed him.[20]

King Saud fluctuated between the rising Arab nationalists and the religious traditionalists who favoured non-interference in international politics. His decisions were personal and spontaneous. He could not conceive of the notion that the government is above the family, and more important, he could not conceive of the primacy of the organization over the person. While Saud was still living in Arabia's past, Saudi Arabia was beginning to have a taste of new types of conflicts among new forces and new tendencies. The importation of foreign labour, which happened to be in the majority from other Arab states, exerted a great deal of influence on the urban Saudi citizens, exposing them to new values and different outlooks. These new types of conflicts were manifested clearly in ARAMCO whose workers went on strike twice. The first time was in 1953, when the Saudi workers led by migrant workers demanded better working conditions. The second time was in 1956, when the workers of ARAMCO demonstrated against the government which was intent on renewing the lease which gave the United States of America access to Dhahran Airfield for its forces.[21]

King Saud also welcomed members of the Muslim Brotherhood (a grassroots Islamist organisation) to Saudi Arabia as a way to challenge Egypt, from which the Brotherhood was fleeing.[22]

Foreign relations[edit]

The signing of the regional defense pact between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan, January 1957. At the forefront, from left right: Prime Minister Sulayman al-Nabulsi of Jordan, King Hussein of Jordan, Saud, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Prime Minister Sabri al-Asali of Syria

Internationally, King Saud neglected his father's position of non-involvement.[21] First, he headed the Egyptian and Syrian coalition for neutrality, a policy taken to oppose the Iraqi call for a Western-sponsored regional defense arrangement Baghdad Pact. Pacts were thus signed in 1955 between Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, which came directly after the Saudi-British dispute over Buraimi Oasis. At the same time, Saud supported Gamal Abdel Nasser's takeover of the Suez Canal. He severed his diplomatic relations with France and Britain and suspended oil shipments to them. Second, in 1957 Saud swayed the other way adopting the Eisenhower Doctrine, which was designed to fill the political vacuum in the Middle East following the Suez Crisis and the political defeat of France and Britain. The aim of this doctrine was to keep the Soviet Union out at all costs, in the hope that, with Saudi backing, the doctrine would be endorsed by all the Arab leaders. Saud was invited to the United States and was given a loan of $250 million towards defence costs. He returned home to discover that Egypt and Syria opposed the deal and were determined to remain neutral.[21]

Saud lost on both counts. In siding with Egypt during the Suez Crisis, his oil exports declined, and in adopting the Eisenhower Doctrine, he was opposed by a rising Arab nationalism and by Nasserism. Saud became worried about the rise of Nasser, especially after the propaganda of the military revolutionaries in Egypt began to be spread widely with fierce calls for the destruction of the monarchies in the Arab world; the order in which the monarchies were to be undermined were: Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Libya. The Syrians began to plot to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan, who appealed to Saudi Arabia for help. Saud found that it was in his own interests to send his Bedouin troops to Amman to help Hussein, and sent a subsidy of half million pounds sterling. As a result, Jordan and Iraq formed a union for mutual protection, supported by Saud who played a major role in keeping Hussein in power. At the same time, Saud tried to break up the United Arab Republic and was accused of being behind a plot to assassinate Nasser.[21]

From the mid-1950s until 1967, Saudi Arabia was engaged in a bitter conflict with Soviet-backed Egypt.

Struggle with Faisal[edit]

A fierce struggle between Ibn Saud's most senior sons, Saud and Faisal, erupted immediately after his death. The increase in oil revenues did not solve the financial problem associated with the debts Saud had inherited from his father, estimated to have been $US200 million in 1953. In fact, this debt more than doubled by 1958, when it reached $US450 million. The Saudi Riyal lost half of its official value against the United States Dollar. Both ARAMCO and international banks declined Saudi's demand for credit. Saud suspended the few government projects he had initiated, but continued his spending on luxurious palaces.[19]

Saud and Faisal fought an internal battle over the definition of political responsibilities and the division of government functions. Saud is often associated[dubious ] among other things with plundering of oil revenues, luxurious palaces, and conspiracy inside and outside of Saudi Arabia while Faisal is associated[full citation needed] with sobriety, piety, puritanism, financial wisdom, and modernization. Moreover, the conflict between the two brothers is often described as originating from the desire of Faisal to curb his brother's spending and solve Saudi Arabia's financial crisis.

The battle between the two brothers was fought over the role to be assigned to the Council of Ministers. Saud abolished the office of Prime Minister by royal decree, thus enforcing his position as King and de facto prime minister. Saud thought of himself as both King and prime minister whereas Faisal envisaged more powers being in his own hand as Crown Prince and deputy prime minister.[19]

Forced abdication[edit]

King Saud's family members worried about Saud's profligacy and his inability to meet Nasser's socialist challenge. Corruption and backwardness were weakening the regime. Radio Cairo's anti-Saudi propaganda was finding a receptive audience.[23]

King Saud and Prince Faisal continued their power struggle until 1962, when Prince Faisal formed a cabinet in the absence of the King, who had gone abroad for medical treatment. Prince Faisal allied with Prince Fahd and Prince Sultan. Prince Faisal's new government excluded the sons of Saud. He promised a ten-point reform that included the drafting of a basic law, the abolition of slavery and the establishment of a judicial council.

King Saud rejected Prince Faisal's new arrangement and threatened to mobilize the Royal Guard against his brother. Prince Faisal ordered the mobilization of the National Guard against King Saud. With the arbitration of the ulema and pressure from senior royalty, King Saud yielded and agreed to abdicate on 28 March 1964.[19]

King Saud was forced into exile in Geneva, Switzerland, and then on to other European cities. In 1966, Saud was invited by Nasser to live in Egypt; another report claims that King Saud went to Egypt under refuge granted by Nasser and stayed there from 1965 to 1967.[20] King Saud was also allowed to broadcast propaganda on Radio Cairo.[20] Some of his sons, such as Prince Khalid, Prince Badr, Prince Sultan and Prince Mansur, joined him and supported his attempt to regain the throne.[20] However, after the June 1967 Arab-Israel War, he lost the support of Egypt and settled in Greece until 1969.[20]

Personal life[edit]

King Saud with his son Mashhoor

Saud had 115 children[24] and multiple wives. Only a few of his children have a public role.[25]

His eldest son Fahad bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was minister of defence. His youngest child is Basmah bint Saud, who currently lives in Acton, London.[24] His third son, Muhammed was sometime governor of Al Bahah Province, and died on 8 July 2012.[26] Prince Mishari, replaced his elder brother as Al Bahah governor with the rank of minister in August 2010.[27]

Another son, Mishaal, was the governor of Najran Province from 1996 to November 2008.[28] His son Abdul Rahman (1946–2004) was a supporter of Al Nassr FC. One son, Badr bin Saud (1934–2004), was governor of Riyadh during his father's reign, while another son, Hussam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is a businessman.

One of his daughters, called Hajer, died outside the Kingdom following an illness on 17 November 2011. Her funeral prayer was performed at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh after Asr prayer.[29] Another daughter, Noura, was the mother of the former deputy defense minister Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud and died in late July 2013.[30][31] Another daughter, Hessah, was the first Saudi woman to become the principal of a school.[32]

In 2001, his daughter Buniah (born 1960) was arrested and charged with assaulting her maid in Florida. She was held for one night in prison and was released on bail of $5,000 and ordered to surrender her passport.[33]

After the death of his elder brother Turki, Saud married his wife, Muneera bint Obaid; their daughter, Al Anoud, died in January 2006 aged 83 and was buried in Mecca.[34]

Death and funeral[edit]

Two days before his death, Saud felt ill and asked his personal physician Filnger from Austria to examine him. In the morning, Saud took a short walk on a beach with his daughter, Nozhah, near Hotel Kavouri near Athens, Greece, where he used to reside. His physician arrived after he had died in the hotel on 23 February 1969,[2][35] after suffering a heart attack in his sleep. His body was taken to Mecca where the funeral prayer was performed in the Masjid al-Haram, and then to Riyadh where he was buried in Al-Oud cemetery.[36][37]




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  4. ^ "Riyadh. The capital of monotheism" (PDF). Business and Finance Group. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
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  7. ^ Mounira bint Abdulaziz
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  10. ^ Upbringing & Education 1902-1915 - The King Saud Foundation Website
  11. ^ The Warrior - The King Saud Foundation Website
  12. ^ George Kheirallah (1952). Arabia Reborn. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 254. Retrieved 14 March 2015.  line feed character in |publisher= at position 25 (help) – via Questia (subscription required)
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  15. ^ Archived 19 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ The War with Yemen - The King Saud Foundation Website
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  18. ^ Kapoor, Talal (1 November 2007). "The Kingdom: Succession in Saudi Arabia (part two)". Datarabia. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d Alrasheed M. (2002) A History of Saudi Arabia Cambridge University Press; pp. 108–9
  20. ^ a b c d e Kechichian, Joseph A. (2001). Succession in Saudi Arabia. New York: Palgrave. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c d Nehme, Michel G. (1994). "Saudi Arabia 1950–80: Between Nationalism and Religion". Middle Eastern Studies 30 (4): 930–943. doi:10.1080/00263209408701030. JSTOR 4283682. 
  22. ^ Bronson, Racher (2005). "Rethinking Religion: The Legacy of the US-Saudi Relations" (PDF). The Washington Quarterly 28 (4): 121–137. doi:10.1162/0163660054798672. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  23. ^ Quandt W.(1981) Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, The Brooking Institutions, p. 90
  24. ^ a b Milmo, Cahal (3 January 2012). "The Acton princess calling for reform in Saudi Arabia: Royal runs campaign for change in her homeland from a suburb in west London". The Independent. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  25. ^ Henderson, Simon (26 October 2011). "The Next Generation of Saudi Princes: Who Are They?". The Cutting Edge. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
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  27. ^ Abdul Ghafour, P. K. (28 August 2010). "Mishari bin Saud is new Baha governor". Arab News. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
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  29. ^ "Death of Princess Hajir bint Saud". Saudi Press Agency (SPA). Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  30. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Noura bint Saud’s funeral". Gulf States Newsletter. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
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  33. ^ "Princess charged with assault in US". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
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  37. ^ Shaheen, Abdul Nabi (23 October 2011). "Sultan will have simple burial at Al Oud cemetery". Gulf News. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  38. ^

External links[edit]

Saud of Saudi Arabia
Born: 1902 Died: 1969
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ibn Saud
King of Saudi Arabia
9 November 1953 – 2 November 1964
Succeeded by
Saudi Arabian royalty
Preceded by
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
11 May 1933 – 9 November 1953
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Position Created
Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Succeeded by
Preceded by
Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Succeeded by