In 2001 to 2003, after the 9/11 attacks, more and more analysts predicted the demise of the House of al-Saud. I recall classified intelligence analyses saying this, and a good example of the journalism of the time is “The Fall of the House of Saud” by Robert Baer (a former intelligence officer) in The Atlantic. The last line of that piece was “sometime soon, one way or another, the House of Saud is coming down.” Read more »
Since the death of modern Saudi Arabia’s founder in 1953, the kingdom has been led by his sons–serving as kings, crown princes, and cabinet ministers. The crown has been passed from brother to brother, not from father to son.
Obviously this system has an inherent and incurable flaw: men grow old. The current king is about 90 and his surviving brothers are mostly in their 80s or 70s–and not all are viewed as eligible for the throne. Some have personal “issues” such as poor health, a pattern of unreliability, or a mother who did not come from a favored Saudi tribe. Yet even as the brothers aged no member of the next generation, grandsons of the founder, has ever been elevated to membership in the cabinet and leadership of a ministry. Until now. Read more »