Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The King Is Dead. Now What?

It is really not much of a news item, seeing that King Fahd bin-Abdulaziz al Saud had suffered a crippling stroke in 1995 and the current king Abdullah has been ruling as a sort of a regent ever since then.

In a certain sense, the beat goes on in Saudi Arabia, the world's last absolute monarchy. It is a country that has always fascinated and confused me. It seems to be the place of such great contradictions. Wealth without freedom; the holiest cities in Islam and one of the greatest human rights abusers; modern Arab nation but with no voting for women (or anyone else).

It is a place worthy of further study, so why don't we do just that.

First, visit the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
Then, read this quite apologetic site about King Fahd's life.
Now, read this more balanced account of his life.
Next, study the family tree of the House of Saud.
Now, read this excellent PBS site for history of Saudi Arabia and the House of Saud.
For all other info, read this excellent country study at the Library of Congress.
Lastly, read the page from Human Rights Watch for the grave abuses of rights in the kingdom.

Read, learn, react and discuss. I may post again about security implications and the stability of the House of Saud. Before that, though, you have some reading to do.

Scholarship never takes a vacation.

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