Hold on, before we celebrate the fact that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is dead we need to learn what that really means. We also need to define some things before we can move on with any conversation that may or may not come of this post.
The first thing we need to understand is that while on the surface King Abdullah was a friend to the United States and the free world at large the fact remains that he was anything but. However he was not all bad either, so who was King Abdullah and why should we care about his passing?
King Abdullah was, according to Forbes, the 8th most powerful man in the world. That in of itself is something to take notice of. His record on human rights is somewhat marred in controversy. While he still holds to what westerners call outdated, barbaric punishments for petty crimes, such as cutting off of the hands in the case of theft and flogging for public drunkenness. Public beheadings are performed for crimes such as murder, rape and witchcraft and drug trafficking. The rights of women are still far behind that of westernized countries, but have gained some footing under his leadership.
There are of course many reports in the news media of the friendship the United States and Britain have with Saudi Arabia, but can they be believed? 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, which is a fact that cannot be disputed. However Saudi Arabian leaders refused to allow the FBI and CIA to run traces on the men, some speculate out of fear that a tie to the Royal Family might be found. It is also speculated that the Royal Family has so much infighting and corruption that they actually pay their opponents tribute monies to keep them from overthrowing the Family. In the late 90s this included one Osama bin Laden, and we know what he did with his monies.
In order to understand what is happening today, one must have a clear understanding of what yesterday held, but where the Saudi Royal Family is concerned that is much harder to figure out than one might think, they have had an ability to keep the inner workings of their family secret while showing a public face with few blemishes. What we do know is this, the name of the new king is Salman, King Salman is the half brother of former King Abdullah, is in his 80s with serious health issues of his own. As such he has already picked his successor, his half-brother Prince Muqrin. With so many wives and children from each, and without hard fast rules of a line of succession (as in Britain’s first born son rule) determining the future is really hard to do.
King Salman is more religious than King Abdullah was and may try to align with more religious factions of the Saudi court. Only time will tell what the future holds, so before mourning or celebrating the death of King Abdullah, wait to see what happens. Sometimes the evil you know really is better than the evil you don’t.