The Saudi Dynasty Succession Crisis to Come

Analyzing the top news stories across the web
June 2 2014 2:51 PM

The Saudi Dynasty Succession Crisis to Come

91068811-in-this-handout-image-provided-by-kaust-king-abdullah
Who will follow?

Photo by Scott Nelson/KAUST via Getty Images

This post first appeared on Business Insider

The Saudi dynasty is facing its biggest dynastic challenge in 50 years, and Game of Thrones-style cracks are showing in the imminent transition from King Abdullah’s rule. 

Advertisement

Liz Sly of the Washington Post details growing discontent in the royal family after the contentious appointment of the king’s youngest brother, Muqrin, as the deputy heir.

The choice of Muqrin, a British-educated fighter pilot who has close ties to the U.S., is controversial partly because he is the son of a Yemeni concubine who was never formally married to his father, King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who founded the Saudi state  in 1932.

“He is not a real prince; his mother was a slave and there are other brothers who are more competent,” a former Saudi official told Sly. “Nobody believes Muqrin can become king.”

The newly-created title effectively allows Muqrin, 69, to bypass at least two other brothers, which goes against the unspoken rule that succession passes down according to age.

King Abdullah is believed to be around 90 and his immediate successor, Crown Prince Salman, is 79. Both are in poor health.

Over the last six decades, the succession mostly passed brother to brother in order of their age. But the last of the current line of brothers will die soon, passing power to the third generation of the family.

Sly explains the problem that consequently arises:

"Given that there are scores of princes in [the third generation], the potential for discord is high. Whoever inherits the throne is likely to anoint his own brothers as future heirs, thereby cutting out multiple cousins from access to the throne and the patronage it provides."

This chart from The Washington Institute lays out the line of succession up to this point Murquin is one of the "19 other surviving sons":

saudisuccession

The Washington Institute

Michael Kelley is a reporter at Business Insider. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

Moneybox

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.

Music

A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 14 2014 11:44 PM A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now … The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?