Friday, December 16, 2011

Fahd of Saudi Arabia

Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, (Arabic: فهد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎ Fahd ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Su‘ūd) (16 March 1921 – 1 August 2005) was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005. One of forty-five sons of Saudi founder Ibn Saud, and the fourth of his five sons who have ruled the Kingdom (Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd, and Abdullah), Fahd ascended to the throne on the death of his half-brother, King Khalid, on 13 June 1982.

Fahd was appointed Crown Prince when Khalid succeeded their half-brother King Faisal, who was assassinated in 1975. Fahd was viewed as the de facto prime minister during King Khalid's reign in part due to the latter's ill health.

Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke on 29 November 1995, after which he was unable to continue performing his full official duties. His half-brother, Abdullah, the country's Crown Prince, served as de facto regent of the kingdom and succeeded Fahd as monarch upon his death on 1 August 2005.

King Fahd is credited for having introduced the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia in 1992.

Early life
At the age of 11 in 1932, Fahd watched as his father officially founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by signing the Treaty of Jeddah.

Fahd's education took place at the Princes' School in Riyadh, a school established by Ibn Saud specifically for the education of members of the House of Saud. While at the Princes' School, Fahd studied under tutors including Sheikh Abdul-Ghani Khayat.

In 1945 Fahd travelled on his first state visit to New York City to attend the opening session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. On this trip Fahd served under his brother, King Faisal, who was at the time Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.

Early political positions
In 1953, at the age of 32, Fahd was appointed Education Minister by his father. Also in 1953, Fahd led his first official state visit, attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the House of Saud.

Fahd had two brothers born before him, Nasir and Saad, who had prior claims to the throne but both were considered unsuitable candidates. By contrast, Fahd had served as minister of education from 1953 to 1960 and minister of interior from 1962 to 1968.

Fahd led the Saudi delegation to the League of Arab States in 1959, signifying his increasing prominence in the House of Saud — and that he was being groomed for a more significant role.

In 1962, Fahd was given the important post of Interior Minister and six years later he was the first person appointed to the position of Second Deputy Prime Minister. After the death of King Faisal in 1975, Fahd was named first deputy Prime Minister and concurrently Crown Prince.

Family and progeny
King Fahd was married at least four times. He had six sons and three daughters. His sons were:
    * Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (1946–1999) Died of a heart attack. Director-general of Youth Welfare (1971–99), Director-general at Ministry of Planning and Minister of State (1977–1999).
    * Khalid bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (born 1947).
    * Muhammad bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (born 1950), governor of the Eastern province.
    * Saud bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (born 1950), former deputy president of the General Intelligence Directorate.
    * Sultan bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (born 1951), Army Officer. Elevated to ministerial rank in November 1997. Current head of Youth Welfare.
    * Abdul-Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, (born 1971), Fahd's favorite and youngest son and minister of state without portfolio. He is the son of Princess Jawhara al-Ibrahim, Fahd's fourth and, reportedly, favorite wife.

On 25 March 1975, King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew and King Khalid assumed power. Fahd, as next in the line of succession, became Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister. Especially in the later years of King Khalid's reign, Fahd was viewed as the de facto prime minister. When King Khalid died on 13 June 1982, Fahd succeeded to the throne. He adopted the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" in 1986, replacing "His Majesty", to signify an Islamic rather than secular authority.

King Fahd was admitted to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the capital, Riyadh on 27 May 2005 for unspecified medical tests. An official (who insisted on anonymity) told the Associated Press unofficially that the king had died at 7:30 EDT on 1 August 2005. A member of the cabinet publicly announced his death on Saudi TV the same morning, and said that he died of pneumonia and a high fever.

His wealth was estimated to be at $25 billion.

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