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Asia Times: The House of Saud Risks Oblivion

Author: Mahan Abedin
October 26, 2011

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Spared thus far from the Arab Spring, Mahan Abedin suggests the House of Saud begin the process of reform before citizens start to clamor for more political and social rights.

The demise of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud, the heir to the Saudithrone, at the weekend highlights, above all, the decrepit and dinosaurian nature of the Saudi leadership. Aged 85, Sultan had assumed his first officialrole in 1947 and had served as the kingdom's defense minister for almost half a century.

His most likely successor, Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud (who is 78), has served as the kingdom's interior minister since 1970. This thrusts the issue of succession - and the long-term stability of Saudi Arabia - into sharp relief as King Abdullah is himself 87 years old and reportedly in poor health.

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