Saudi royal health scare: Why it matters

Suddenly the health of three of the most powerful men in Saudi Arabia is in the news.

King Abdullah, who is 86, is preparing to travel to America for the treatment of a herniated disc.

Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz has been rushed home from recuperation in Morocco.

Another contender for the throne, the governor of Riyadh, Prince Salman, is coming home after surgery abroad.

Even by Saudi standards – where princes at the top of the
hierarchy are all of advanced age – this is a highly unusual combination
of events

And this may explain why the Saudi royal family has been relatively quick in releasing the news about the health of the king.

The family has sought to reassure oil markets and their
international allies that there will be no power vacuum while King
Abdullah is abroad.

Diplomatic muscle

The health of Saudi kings and princes in line for the throne matters not only for the Saudis, but for the whole world.

Saudi Arabia has more than 25% of the world’s known oil reserves

Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest oil producers, and controls more than a fifth of the world’s crude reserves.

So, any uncertainty over who controls the oil taps can make
markets jittery – the last thing the… >>>

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