Meet King Salman: Saudi Arabia new monarch

Ahram Online , Friday 23 Jan 2015

Salman, born in 1935, comes from a strong part of the royal family that established and continues to govern the country

Saudi King Salman
Saudi King Salman (Photo: Reuters)

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Friday morning produced new changes to the ruling family in the oil-rich Gulf state. Salman, Abdullah's brother, became the new king of Saudi Arabia, while Moqrin – his half-brother – was named as crown prince and heir.

King Abdulaziz, founder of the kingdom in 1932, is the father of the three men. In a decree published by Saudi state news agency (SPA), King Salman appointed Prince Mohammed bin Salman, one of his sons, as minister of defence. Prince Mohammed was also appointed as the monarch's special advisor and royal court head.

Salman, born in December 1935, comes from a strong part of the royal family that established and continues to govern the country.

Salman was defence minister for a brief period in 2011.

He became crown prince in 2012 after the previous heir apparent, Nayef, passed away. Salman conducted several official visits to countries in the West and Asia.

Ahead of both steps, he was the governor of the capital Riyadh for more than four decades.

The new king is credited for the urban, infrastructural development that occurred in the city during such that time.

He vowed there would be no change in Saudi policies as he addressed the nation on Friday.

"We will continue, with God's grace and strength, committed to the true approach which was followed by this state since its inception at the hands of the founder, King Abdul-Aziz, God's mercy upon him, and in the hands of his sons after him, God's mercy upon them," he was quoted as saying.

"We will never deviate from this approach since our constitution is the book of Allah and the Sunnah (deeds and saying) of His Prophet, peace be upon him."  

Salman has a daughter and ten sons- two of them are dead, and he has married three times. Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Salman, a son of Salman, was the minister of petroleum in 2004. Some news reports expect a new political role for Abdul-Aziz during this new phase.

Another son of the new King, Prince Sultan, took part in a mission by Discovery – a US space shuttle, to be the first Saudi to travel to space. Sultan is the current head of the Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.

Moqrin, who was born in 1945, is the youngest son of King Abdulaziz. 

Moqrin served as King Abdullah's special adviser among other several top-level positions.

The new Saudi crown prince was the head of general intelligence, governor of Hail province and Medina.

He served in the Saudi Royal Air Force in 1964 until 1980. He earned a degree in aeronautics from Britain in 1968, the Saudi-based Al-Arabiya news website stated in a report. 


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