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Friday, May 05, 2006 

New Generation X of Saudi Royals

If you have read Saudi history, then you’d realize that the Saudi monarchy has mostly derived and supported its legitimacy by its marriage to religious appeal.

But, will the marriage ever come to end? Is it a must to have the marriage to ensure balance and stability?

Let’s go back in time shall we: 4...3...2...1

As in all marriages, spouses have their good and bad days. One day the guardian angels, ops.. silly me I mean, sheikhs (a.k.a Akhwan) got cranky because shameless ill-hearted royals are building evil radio stations and importing satanic cars (that’s the devil boy!) that spread nothing, according to the sheikhs, but vice and indecency among good old virginal folks. Years go by and the guardians show up again grumpy, “You wicked royals!” Say the sheikhs, “How dare you open up schools to educate baby-doll chicks huh!”

Just like any couple, the spouses looked for ways to save and maintain the marriage. They went for war, negotiation, diplomacy, silence and maybe Dr.Phil.

Time goes by, and new blood of royals blossom. During late 50s and early 60s, King Abdul-Aziz son, Prince Talal called for political reform, free elections and drafting a new constitution. Not ready for such a quick change, Prince Talal’s move was eventually suppressed, his passport was officially withdrawn and he spent few years between Cairo and Beirut before reconciling again with royal family.

Currently, another young generation came to flourish. Two wings of royals seem to be eager to lead change: The “Talal” wing (thru Al-Waleed bin Talal) and the “Al-Faisal” wing (thru several sons/grandsons of late King Faisal).

(The 2 wings own the tallest 2 buildings in Riyadh btw)


Though I personally find them naïve, Al-Waleed reveals his views by his practices - with more than 2 thirds of his company’s staff being women (who, as claimed, get to choose whether or not to wear hijab in workplace), hiring the first Saudi female pilot, sponsoring the 1st female jockey and even sponsoring a Saudi female singer (can’t wait to see him sponsor the 1st Saudi belly dancer) – Al-Waleed views are visible to an observant by such practices. And hence, one would expect the type of social/political change he would bring to the table if given the opportunity.





Al-Faisal’s wing is constantly expressing their enthusiasm for reform as well. Khalid Al-Faisal (Head of King Faisal Foundation) launched Al-Watan newspaper (considered to be relatively open for all political views), founder of “Arab Thought Foundation” and is a high critic of so called fundamentalists for preaching violence in the local education system. The foundation newest crown-jewel is a new university that will “cause a change in Saudi Arabia” and will not offer courses in Islamic or social studies.


So far, successors of founder King Abdul-Aziz as monarchs were only his sons. However, all sons will breath their last breathe in 20-25 years or so from now (the youngest son is in his 60s) and so, the country will stumble upon a time where one of those change-enthusiast princes will rein. I wonder, then, if that will automatically mean a divorce of the monarchy and the religious establishment or will the sheikhs actually evolve and maintain the marriage? What do you think yo’all?

It seems that with all those thousands of abdul-aziz grandsons waiting in the wings, the monarchy is fated to self-implode into internicine warfare. Here's hoping they can put the ibn wahabs out of business before that happens. Otherwise.....

al fai9als r way much better than the other losers
but to be honest they all suck :P !

SCREW EM !!!!!!!!!

oh btw thnx 4 stopping by (A) !

Awww "waloodi", 7abibi.

Imagine a saudi dancer...LOL.
Thats sorta-practically what Carmen bin laden is.

Anon,

History suggests what you said; but I’m guessing they read history (e.g. 1992 late King Fahd formalized the succession criteria) and so they will come up with a mechanism for smooth successions from one generation to another, as it is the case now from a brother to another. As for the religious establishment, I doubt they would step out but rather evolve to catch up with new and changing realities.


Noura,

um ok..if you say so :)

Taqwa,
yeah..sheesh..I've seen her pictures. ya sheen al wa7da when she shows skin but still butt ugly :-s

interesting. I don't like how the new university is barring social studies and islamic studies? If you want reform and freedom of everything, you should allow all kinds of subjects including islamic studies; in fact, they can start a more broader islamic studies class that is open to all sorts of islamic madhabs/sects and not just limitted to one extreme salafi way. limitting freedom is not the answer.

Nadia,

Fully agree and very valid point. Why do we always take one side of the spectrum and ignore the rest? Is it fear..denial..arrogance..ignorance? I honestly fail to understand why. Would anyone care to explain?

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