Saudi Arabia: Is the Return of King Abdullah Imminent?

 

Multi media reports from internal Saudi press and international press discuss the anticipated return of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to the Kingdom.  King Abdullah has been convalescing in Morocco since he departed the United States once he was able to travel after medical treatment received in November 2010.

King Abdullah, 86 years of age, made no public appearances while in Morocco.  There has been little in-depth information released about his condition except short comments that he is doing fine.  In a time of turmoil across the Middle East region and with whisperings of rumblings within Saudi Arabia many around the world are waiting to hear what King Abdullah is going to say when he addresses the Kingdom.

Can King Abdullah reassure the citizens of Saudi Arabia with his words to prevent eruptions and demonstrations such as those which are continuing to take place in Bahrain, Libya or Yemen (to name a few)?  Will he need to put words into immediate changes of reform to maintain peace and stability in the Kingdom?

Let me end this post with two final questions.  What do you think King Abdullah will say and do?  What do you think King Abdullah should say and do?

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70 Responses

  1. Well, he can get rid of the American bases, for a start.

  2. “What do you think King Abdullah should say and do?”

    Retire and decree local, regional and national elections for all public offices including all ministries, governorships and everything in between. This way the country will be saved and so as his family.

    Anyone who thinks the desert kingdom will be spared the raging revolt against centuries of oppression, exploitation, discrimination and marginalization must be drugged, to quote a falling another “desert worrier.”

  3. What should he do? He should immidiately disband the entire royal family and call open and free elections for the entire country in which no one who immorally benefitted from the former ruling establishment can participate in.

    What will he do? Little or nothing. Why? Because unlike Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Yeme and Libya, they still have more than enough money to buy off enough of the citizens to accept their lack of freedoms and lack of rights.

    Once the oil runs out, 50 or 100 years from now, what is happening in Libya would look like child’s play compared to what will happen in the streets of Saudi.

    G*d willing, it happens earlier, and I can bet the royal family and their lackies are putting even MORE of the people’s money than usual in their European bank accounts.

  4. His first ‘order of business’ was to give all employees the day off on Saturday, and he’s adding 2 additional sports channels on t.v.

    Come on people, what more could you want?

  5. DRAINAGE, Drvers license, codified laws in line with International Human Rights, total and immediate educational overhaul, then moves toward elections and democracy. Oh and more Turkish soap operas to balance out the sports channels.

  6. Why can’t he have stayed in Saudi after recieving his treatment?

  7. As expected, the King did not have anything new. Just used the same old trick. He released more money to support social programs. It is like the Saudi people are not the owners of the Oil returns. It is the King’s money. He will give it away as charity to the Saudi people, when God blesses him with health and a safe return home.

    Meanwhile, no real changes to the system were announced. Actually the government is still holding the 5 Saudis who dared to form a political party as political prisoners. Saudis will not revolt, at least not now. The events in Libya are bloody enough to scare them away from doing so. However, once the dust settles, you may see the situation change….

  8. saudi needs reform as one of the countries in dire need in the middle east. It makes me ill to watch these countries treat people so sadly and stay in power forever…

  9. Supposedly some protests are in the works for mid-March. I heard the same in Jan regarding Bahrain in mid Feb, and those rumours turned out to be accurate. There have now been 3 protests that I am aware of here- with little coverage. The post-rain one on Tahlia st in Jeddah. The one in Riyadth by women wanting people out of prison and a small Shia one on the east coast. Certainly there is a different mood than of late.

    I haven’t read yet what the King has said or done on his return. He is a popular king and I hope he will take the opportunity to really reform things BEFORE it gets ugly. But I doubt he will. And in all you said MoQ, I didn’t hear anything about Turkish Soaps :(

  10. there will never be a gross demonstration here in saudi like libya…because we have us military bases set up here on saudi soil. we will protect the royal family and the saudis civilians…have at it.

  11. Who would the US protect? The Royal family AND the civilians? Presumably in a protest it would be Royal family AGAINST the civilians.

  12. Turkish soaps? What am I missing?

  13. Look up Saudi Revolution on FB. There’s a protest planned.

  14. @ Aya

    I don’t know about the king, but I know for most Saudi men, trips to Morocco are solely based on using the many many many sexual escort services.

    Too bad, it’s a pretty country, but it’s prostution is off the charts.

    Anyhow, a good deal of khaliji men “rest” in that country. There’s even a popular joke about them (500-400) making fun of the accent :-/

  15. @ confused…..Now you’re making me confused…!!!

  16. I doubt if throwing $36 billion at the crowd will make much difference to the people in the arena. The lions are out.

    Even so, SA is quite different from the rest of MENA for several reasons.

    If Turkish soaps are anything like Brazilian ones, the planet is doomed.

  17. I don’t see Saudis protesting against the King, he has the people’s support. People ar out on the streets celebrating his return, not protesting.

    I think there were at least some good attempts to tackle the problems of unemployment and poverty in his big giveaway..
    But maybe this was just him showing his gratitude toward his people for their support, and not meant to be a political move as such.

    A lot more has to be done to though, I’m hoping he will initiate some real changes and reform soon.
    Give him some time to settle in first!

  18. I read via Huffington Post that a FB page is urging Saudi nationals to protest Kingdom-wide on 11 March.

    Like you, Sandy, I am only aware of the 3 previous protests which you mentioned.

    Now if the statement of raising the *minimal* salary to 10,000 SAR (per month) is true, that is a great increase for the Saudi mainstream (which includes many government employees). Many Saudi teachers or government workers presently make between 3,000 – 5,000 SAR per month.

    Don’t you remember Aafke, Turkish soaps which aired during Ramadan led some Saudi husbands to become very jealous and Saudi tourism to Turkey increased too…

  19. Was the infamous ”Noor” a Turkish soap?
    With the exemplary husband no Saudi man can hold a candle too? :twisted:
    Yeah, more Turkish soaps!

  20. Yeah, I remember! It was!
    I second Sandy’only money, that will disappear in some pockets, faster than the rain did. No an actual working drainage system, like they have in developed countries.

  21. Damn, a whole sentence disappeared!

    ”I second Sandy’s request! Also for a drainage system in Jeddah! And not only money; that will disappear in some pockets, faster than the rain did. No an actual working drainage system, like they have in developed countries.”

  22. I have had so many responses disappear while typing…can anyone say “Tripod ?”

    He insists on laying across my lap as I am typing and periodically makes sure I know he’s there when he brings his remaining front paw up and ‘sweeps’ it across the keyboard as I type!

  23. It would be interesting to see a demonstration in Saudi. I wonder if it will happen next month!

  24. Don’t ever say it won’t happen in KSA. A month ago, who would have thought the changes in North Africa possible? This train can be slowed down but not stopped. Saudi is the most oppressive. Be assured the people are not happy. I say he spends money to tear down that awful clock tower that was put up near the Kaba.

  25. Granted there’re plenty of issues that need major reforms in the Kingdom, and those issues need to be addressed immediately, still there is alot of support for the king. Having said that, I would just like to say to all the armchair generals above that the king is actually very much loved in the Kingdom, and have a very large grass roots support by the populous. Sure things are inflamed in the area, but I think Saudi Arabia, provided that they make some major reforms will do just fine.

  26. I think all countries in the Middle East would do just fine if their ”leaders” weren’t so keen on killing anybody who has better ideas on how to organize a country.

  27. “the king is actually beloved in the Kingdom”

    The Dear Leader is Korea is also beloved by his people.

    Any armchair general can see that :)

  28. @Safiyyah – touche! LOL

  29. Saudi Arabia is certainly no North Korea, if you don’t see that, then you have a major perception issue, or your power of deduction is rather lacking.

    And whether the people of the Kingdom love their King, or not, one can have an anonymous, referendum, let us say through the internet and you can see how popular he is. There is another thing, (and I don’t know if you an American, or not) do Saudis tell you who to elect, do they tell you who should run for office (although Israel does ;)), then why do you take it upon yourself to tell us who we should we be govern by??!!!!

    In conclusion …LONG LIVE THE KING….<3

    AND my best regards to you GENERAL…:)

  30. The previous post was directed @ Safiyyah…

  31. Of course Saudi Arabia is no N. Korea but then it also isn’t Iraq where Sadaam Hussein would get 100% of the vote in EVERY election! Nope, ’cause in Saudi Arabia you don’t even GET a vote (especially if you are a woman)!

  32. @ Anonymous_Saudi:

    Salaams: No one is trying to tell Saudis to do anything. If you love your Dear Leader, hey – have at it! My point is that many Saudis do not like or love him. Are they free to say that in public? Can they protest against him and not suffer negative consequences? Many people from Saudi do not like that they are FORCED to do things, for example, the covering of women. This is evidenced by a look at any airplane leaving Saudi. What do you think happens as soon as the plane is in the air? Mostly everyone throws off the yokes of FORCED covering. And you can have your internet referendum. I’m sure it will need to be anonymous. Heck, even you are “Anonymous_Saudi” lol. Do you really think that Saudis will put their real identities to their opinions on the Internet? And I didn’t say that KSA was like N. Korea. I attempted to draw an analogy to having a choice whether to love your leader or not. So no need to personalize it brother :)

  33. And evey year during Hajj, pilgrims take food up the mountain to the poor people who have a view of the Kaba on a daily basis. All that oil money! Surely, your Dear Leader can feed the poor instead of pouring money into a clock tower! Or his sons in Europe can do without a Benz or two? Don’t you think? Many people have the impression that all Saudis are rich when in fact there are many poor people in your country. AND speaking of elections, like Lynn said, KSA has no elections. As a matter of fact, the Saudis had no say in installing your Dear Leader or his family as rulers of your country. The UN and corrupt rich Arabs made that decision after the break up of the Ottoman Empire.

  34. safiyyah
    anyone who bitches about the abaya like that is for sure a westerner…i have never in my life heard those words spoken from a native. and what do you mean by secretive? better than uncouth??

  35. I believe it is also the Saudi sisters in the airplane. Not everyone. My point which seems to keep getting overlooked, is the FORCING of women to wear an abaya or hijab, especially for
    the non Muslim women. There is no compulsion in Islam. Islam does not command covering for non Muslim women. Who is the Dear Leader to force this on his country. Allaah t’ala has no need of helpers.
    Perhaps he should force the wives of his princes to
    cover. Did I say something about secretive Gia?

  36. King Abdullah is a bad king: he does not do his duty. As long as people become poorer and poorer at the current rate. In twenty years saudi incomes have plummeted like nowhere else in the world. How bad has a government need to be for such bad result?

    Jeddah floods and hundreds of lives are lost for two years now. As if we lived in the poorest city of the most backward third world country.
    How bad must the leadership be if Jeddah is like a poor third world country city in a land with so very high income?

    The king is old and sick. Yet he will not arrange for succession. But this is his responsibillity. All the old royals are so old and feeble, you hear them making speeches on tv and they are babbling bad arabic and gasping for breath.
    It is very bad and cowardly of the king who can die anytime he is so old not to name sucessor.

    Maybe there will be protests in saudi. but if the king dies now all the royals will start fighting each other for power and greed. He knows that yet does not act.
    How bad is that for a king?

  37. saudi arabia is difficult to receive visa to live as a resident, so nobody is forced to love the king and live in his nieghborhood. this a hard country to get into.

  38. @Anonymous_Saudi,

    The Questions should be, would the people of Saudi protest against the system not an individual?

    You have an issue of focusing the future and all arguments on one person, who is 87 and will not likely be around a few years from now. He and the other royals know their system of governing is not acceptable by the young people of Saudi. This is why they hurried him back from his rest to gain the sympathy from the street. Of course throwing some money around does not hurt. The system is hanging all its hopes on one old man who cannot walk for more than a few minutes and who’s faculties are not all there.

    The tactics of the Saudi system will buy them sometime. However, the change is coming and it will be a revolt if the royal family does not make major reforms soon (and I mean serious major reforms, not the typical lies).

  39. I do think that Saudi Arabia is on “borrowed time” vis a vis active rather than passive outcry for reform and changes by its citizens. King Abdullah is popular but the way of governing and lack of what many view as basic freedoms and rights is not. Saudis are using social media where they can log on using aliases to express views and perspectives they will not/can not say openly for fear of retribution.

  40. Salaams:

    I do hope something works out. I don’t want to see mass destruction and ugliness there. Saudi Arabia is the country of our two mosques. Saudia Arabia is the business of every Muslim on the globe.

  41. @Save the Women!,

    ” All the old royals are so old and feeble, you hear them making speeches on tv and they are babbling bad arabic and gasping for breath.”

    Agreed, when you watch these guys speak, they all sound like they are seriously ill. It is amazing that the future of the country is still in their hands.

    Here is a good example of Prince Naif 78 years old (the likely next king) speaking yesterday to welcome the King. Notice he cannot even stand to do the small 5 minutes talk.

    For those who cannot speak Arabic, do not watch the entire thing, just forward to 4:05 and watch the next 20 seconds or so.

  42. The succession process has been settled. There is a committee comprised of one member from each branch of the royal family. This committee determines who is next. This committee picked Prince Naif, for example. He was not slotted in automatically because of his seniority. The committee names have all been published.

  43. I hear Saudi’s bitch about the abaya all the time.

  44. Are there non royals on these committees? If not, the committees are not representative of bupkis.

  45. Moq, OMG! Is that a …. f*rt????!!!???/?
    Thank you for starting my day with something yuk.
    Sheesh!
    Men…

    Sandy, but prince Naif wouldn’t exactly be an improvement would he?
    Let’s hope Abdullah hangs on until the rest of these old wheezers have snuffed it.

    Safiyyah, what is are bupkis?

  46. @Saffiya

    No non-royals on the committees

    I never said these committees were representative at all. They are a method for the royal family to elect their next King. I was merely pointing out that the issue of succession has been clarified. Not that any kind of reform is taking place.

  47. @Sandy,

    I do not think the committee will work. It is a step backwards. What will happen is the new rule will expose the in-fighting between the royals, which may spill over into real fighting. The crown prince has always been chosen by the King and with consultation with a small set of royals with real power. Disbursing the decision among 50 or so royals with no power will not be accepted.

    For example: do you think the Sudary’s will accept that their influence in choosing the next crown prince will be watered down to only 7 votes. If King Abdullah really thinks this system will work, he would have used the clause of the sound health of the successor to declare his crown prince as unfit and sent the selection of the crown prince to the committee. He does not dare do that as you know. It is all wishful thinking from a King that has lost touch with reality.

    So in short, succession is not settled and the King and Royals of Saudi are still playing dangerous games with the future of an entire nation.

  48. @Aafke,

    My point is that the high ranking members of the family are way too old to be holding their positions. The man cannot even give a 5 minute speech without embarrassing himself. The talk sounds worse in Arabic as his words are slow, slurred in multiple spots, etc.

    The country is run by men who should be resting in an a retirement home. Of course it will be a very lavish one in Morocco and surrounded by beautiful young women.

  49. @MoQ,
    I think your points are valid. This committee is not what I would ideally like. But people are saying nothing has been established and actually something has. Now it may turn out not to work- but it has not been left unaddressed- and it was the process through which Naif was selected.

    I cannot assume it is neccessarily predestined NOT to work. The Sudiery probably have ways to form alliances within the group. They will certainly not be limited to 7 votes-mores the pity.

    However, this “system” such as it is was put forth before this latest round of chaos in the region. So whatever might have happened probably won’t. King Abdulluh IS popular. I think there is a rare chance for real reform to be pushed through which could avoid alot of chaos. I don’t think that is what will happen though. I think the King believes all the propaganda that has been produced- that everyone is happy with the presents he brought back. Time will tell.

  50. Moq, it was very funny!
    But very embarrassing too!
    I don’t know Arabic but it didn’t sound as if somebody is giving a forceful eloquent speech. He looks ill.

    *Of course it will be a very lavish one in Morocco and surrounded by beautiful young women.*
    Oh no! That image of beautiful young women forced to be with these old men! That’s very yuk again! Can’t they wait until they get their ice cold virgins?
    It’s not as if they have much longer to wait!

  51. That’s sad. Poor guy should be retired.

  52. @Sandy,

    “King Abdulluh IS popular. I think there is a rare chance for real reform to be pushed through which could avoid alot of chaos. I don’t think that is what will happen though. I think the King believes all the propaganda that has been produced- that everyone is happy with the presents he brought back.”

    Popular and capable are not the same. The man has no education, always lived isolated from the people, only understand beduin tribal culture, very conservative religiously (in a Wahabbi sense), too old to even begin to understand what Web 1.0 means never mind 2.0, his highest goal is to protect his clan’s control, etc.

    In short, he cannot begin to get a clue in understanding the problem, never mind solving it. All he knows is what his advisors will tell him, and that is usually another set of spending and a new set of slogans that he does not know how to implement. Remember, the judicial reforms of over 2 years ago. Nothing happened so far. It was a slogan with another round of spending, which probably went to some pockets with no real implementation plan.

    In reality, the only thing the King can do is declare his retirement and hand off the crown to a younger capable royal (60 or so, ex. Khalid Al Faisal) who can actually make a change. This of course is a bold and unselfish step, he will not dare make…..

  53. @Moq,
    I know there is a difference. That is why I said Popular. That was the word I meant. Also I do believe this is a rare opportunity and as I said- that it probably won’t happen. And I doubt he’ll step down. If he is watching TV he can see how happy everyone is.

    But please. Khalid Al Faisal?? You mean THIS Khalid Al Faisal?

    Maybe if he has some sort of epiphany. The right sort of course.

  54. Sandy, wow!

  55. @Sandy,

    Jeddah grew for 30 years under one of the most corrupt administrations. This was administrative system which was institutionalized under King Fahad (the most corrupt King). Most of the projects for the city were awarded to companies with direct link to the previous king and his sons. The floods are a result of years and years of corruption leading to bad planning.

    You won’t find me defending any royal. However, there isn’t many of them that have an education, administrative experience and are well connected enough to actually have legitimacy to hold the position.

    Saudi Arabia is really in a tough situation. A revolution similar to what happened in Egypt will only divide the country as there is no real national identity and royals are in complete command of all the provinces and powerful government ministries. The only option is to hand off the control to a powerful royal who can make drastic changes. The current King is not capable of doing so…..

  56. I agree with pretty much everything. But really nothing happened from one flood to the next- but a lot of talk. And we know who was governor. Now it’s possible they wouldn’t release resources to him because they thought they had alot more time before another flood. But I’m not impressed. Work has started all over the city now. I hope it’s not window-dressing and that the correct follow-throughs will take place.

    Anyway, it should be an interesting next couple years. I’m wondering what will happen with the two protest days scheduled for March. We’ll see what happens And what they don’t seem to get is that we DO see it. Everyone hops online to YouTube, FB and Twitter.

  57. places in america flood every year and in the same areas to this day. why does the goverment not fix it? in the biggest city closest to where i’m from, it floods in the same areas. it is in the process of being fixed or prevented for future flooding and costing millions. this is over one hundred years of knowing that it floods there. one area in particular flooded every single year. the water would fill the streets and up into houses. it took ninety years to fix just the drainage part for the roads not to flood anymore. or i should say it took ninety years of flooding before the city fixed it [ it had been farm land at one time]. america has highly educated engineers to figure this out, and money. because saudi lacks highly educated engineers and experience, they will pay a pretty big sum of money to have the sewer infrastructure fixed by westerners. research the past on other infrastructures. it cost a whole lotta money.

  58. The difference Gia is these flood areas are well know in the US and they are not addressed for specific economical reasons. However, a case can be made that the US government was negligent in addressing the issues of New Orleans.

    In Saudi the case is different. We are talking about major cities) which are drowning (not raging rivers and hurricanes under small amounts of rain. The reason is not lack of expertise or economical funding, it is corruption.

  59. I watched the video clip provided by MoQ. I watched his body language, movements and facial expressions carefully as well listening to his words. It seemed to me that Prince Nayef was reading his speech via a teleprompter. From my previous work with Saudi Arabian television, I have seen what goes on behind-the-scene. There could easily have been problems and/or delays in a prepared speech appearing on the prompter.

    Now I know there is debate that it appeared he farted while presenting his speech. I guess I saw it differently and rather than a fart, I viewed it as he was readjusting his position for comfort.

    Segueing now to the video Sandy provided I remain speechless. Until that video I had not realized the depth of the Jeddah floods.

  60. @Carol,

    Just be thankful you were not at the studio setting up his teleprompter. Or if you get a job like that, be prepared with a gas mask :)

  61. Naaa, he wasn’t readjusting his position. Looks more like he got a pain, like a gas pain, that he relieved by moving himself very briefly but his position never changed.

  62. Clearly, none of the people who commented on this blog know much about the social, religious structure of Saudi or about its history that the British didn’t tell you. Will I can say one thing, I studied abroad and work now for the sake of different business experience( going back home soon though) and I still believe that the best way to run my country is a complete monarchy with some control for an appointed body to question certain ministers and institutions. What I would really like to see in Saudi is less foreign monopoly (specifically, Lebanese monopoly over some industries) and also getting the Saudi youth more trust rather to give it to a another people just because they have a bule passport !!. King Abduallah is doing great and moving in the right way, better education, more Saudiazation, and more moderate Islamic laws. Some reforms are needed and I think the pace of chage is just right ( the change that we Saudis want, not the Americans not the Iranians or whoever out there want us to change, we know what kind of change we need and it is for certain not the one the Americans want us to be )
    Hope to see more focus from the government in supporting Islamic financial insinuations (like HSBC Amannh ( the Saudi one) , Aljzeera bank),

    God Bless the King and his family

  63. @Saud – ‘and I still believe that the best way to run my country is a complete monarchy with some control for an appointed body to question certain ministers and institutions.’

    Can you elaborate a bit and explain why you come to that belief?

    What kind of reforms do you think are needed?

    We’ll see how fast the pace of change goes if/when the protests get louder. :-)

  64. Saud – God Bless the King and his family

    God Save the King (from his own people) :)-

  65. Dear King Abdullah is
    all time a good man.

  66. I think Saud needs to speak with more women here. The ones without drivers, bad mahrems or those with no mahrems at all. Those who have had their children taken away or their paychecks taken away or those that have not been allowed to marry. Those who have been forced to quit their educations etc. etc. I think THOSE Saudi’s would like reform to happen much faster.

  67. I agree Sandy. Sadly, these women rarely get any opportunities to share their side of the story.

    On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM, American Bedu

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