House of Saud

House of Saud

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The House of Saud also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family
Royal family
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

 of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members. It is composed of the descendants of Muhammad ibn Saud and his brothers, though the ruling faction of the family is primarily led by the descendants of Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al Saud. The family advocates Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and unification of
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

 Arabia.

The most influential member of the family is the King of Saudi Arabia. The line of succession to the Saudi throne is not father-son but brother-brother of the children of King Abdul-Aziz. The family is estimated to be composed of 7,000 members. Most power resides amongst the 200 or so descendants of King Abdul-Aziz.

The House of Saud has gone through three phases: the First Saudi State
First Saudi State
The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 when imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad ibn Saud formed an alliance to establish a religious & political sovereignty determined to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of heretical practices and deviations from orthodox Islam...

, the Second Saudi State
Second Saudi State
The Second Saudi State existed during the 19th century when the rule of the House of Saud was restored to central and eastern Arabia after having previously been brought down by an Ottoman-Egyptian invasion in 1818...

, and the modern nation of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. The First Saudi State marked the expansion of Salafi Islam. The Second Saudi State was marked with continuous infighting. The modern nation of Saudi Arabia wields considerable influence in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. The family has had conflicts with the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the Sharif of Mecca
Sharif of Mecca
The Sharif of Mecca or Hejaz was the title of the former governors of Hejaz and a traditional steward of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

, and the Al Rashid family of Ha'il
Ha'il
Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

.

Title



House of Saud is a translation of Al Saud. The latter is an Arabic dynastic name
Arabic name
Long ago, Arabic names were based on a long naming system; most Arabs did not simply have given/middle/family names, but a full chain of names. This system was in use throughout the Arab world. Today however, Arabic names are similar in structure to those of Modern and Western names...

 formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of", to the personal name of an ancestor. In the case of the Al Saud, this is the father of the dynasty's 18th century founder, Muhammad ibn Saud (Muhammad, son of Saud).

Today, the surname "Al Saud" is carried by any descendant of Muhammad ibn Saud or his three brothers Farhan, Thunayyan, and Mishari. Al Saud's other family branches are called cadet branches. Members of the cadet branches hold high and influential positions in government though they are not in line of succession to Saudi throne. Many cadet members intermarry within the Al Saud to reestablish their lineage and continue to wield influence in the government.

Sons and grandsons of King Abdul-Aziz are referred to in the style
Style (manner of address)
A style of office, or honorific, is a legal, official, or recognized title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal...

 "His Royal Highness" (HRH), differing from the royals belonging to the cadet branches which are called "His Highness" (HH).

Origins and early history


The earliest recorded ancestor of the Al Saud was Mani' ibn Rabiah Al-Muraydi. He settled in Diriyah
Diriyah
Al-Diriyah is a town in Saudi Arabia located on the northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Diriyah was the original home of the Saudi royal family, and served as the capital of the first Saudi dynasty from 1744 to 1818...

 in 1446–7 with his clan, the Mrudah. Mani was invited by a relative named Ibn Dir. Ibn Dir was the ruler of a set of villages and estates that make up modern-day Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

. Mani's clan had been on a sojourn in east Arabia, near al-Qatif, from an unknown point in time. Ibn Dir handed Mani two estates called al-Mulaybeed and Ghusayba. Mani and his family settled and renamed the region "al-Diriyah", after their benefactor Ibn Dir.

The Mrudah became rulers of al-Diriyah, which prospered along the banks of Wadi Hanifa
Wadi Hanifa
Wadi Hanifa is a wadi or valley in the Nejd region in central Saudi Arabia. The valley runs for a length of from north to south, cutting through the city of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia...

 and became an important Najdi settlement. As the clan grew larger, power struggles ensued, with one branch leaving to nearby Dhruma, while another branch (the "Al Watban") left for the town of az-Zubayr in southern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. The Al Migrin became the ruling family among the Mrudah in Diriyah.

After some initial struggles in the early 18th century, Muhammad ibn Saud, of the Al Migrin, became the undisputed Amir. In 1744, Muhammad took in fugitive religious cleric named Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab from nearby al-Uyayna. Muhammad ibn Saud agreed to provide political support to Ibn Abdul-Wahhab's project to reform Islamic practice. This marked the beginning of the First Saudi State
First Saudi State
The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 when imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad ibn Saud formed an alliance to establish a religious & political sovereignty determined to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of heretical practices and deviations from orthodox Islam...

.

First Saudi State




The First Saudi State was founded in 1744. This period was marked by conquest of neighboring areas and by religious zeal. At its height, the First Saudi State included most of the territory of modern-day Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, and raids by Al Saud's allies and followers reached into Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. Islamic Scholars, particularly Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab and his descendants, are believed to have played a significant role in Saudi rule during this period. The Saudis and their allies referred to themselves during this period as the Muwahhidun or Ahl al-Tawhid ("the monotheists"), so later they are referred as the Wahhabis.

Leadership of the Al Saud during the time of their first state passed from father to son without incident. The first imam, Muhammad ibn Saud, was succeeded by his eldest son Abdul-Aziz in 1765. Abdul-Aziz was killed in 1803 by an assassin, believed by some to have been a Shi'ite seeking revenge over the sacking of the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala
Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

 by Saudi loyalists in 1802. Abdul-Aziz was in turn succeeded by his son, Saud, under whose rule the Saudi state reached its greatest extent. By the time Saud died in 1814, his son and successor Abdullah had to contend with an Ottoman-Egyptian invasion seeking to retake lost Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 territory and destroy the call to return to pure Islam. The mainly Egyptian force succeeded in defeating Abdullah's forces, taking over the Saudi capital of Diriyyah in 1818. Abdullah was taken prisoner and was soon beheaded by the Ottomans in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, putting an end to the First Saudi State. The Egyptians sent many members of the Al Saud clan and other members of the local nobility as prisoners to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, and proceeded to raze the Saudi capital of Diriyyah.

Second Saudi State




A few years after the fall of Diriyyah in 1818, the Saudis were able to re-establish their authority in Najd
Najd
Najd or Nejd , literally Highland, is the central region of the Arabian Peninsula.-Boundaries :The Arabic word nejd literally means "upland" and was once applied to a variety of regions within the Arabian Peninsula...

, establishing what is now commonly known as the Second Saudi State
Second Saudi State
The Second Saudi State existed during the 19th century when the rule of the House of Saud was restored to central and eastern Arabia after having previously been brought down by an Ottoman-Egyptian invasion in 1818...

, with its capital in Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

.

Compared to the First Saudi State
First Saudi State
The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 when imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad ibn Saud formed an alliance to establish a religious & political sovereignty determined to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of heretical practices and deviations from orthodox Islam...

, the second Saudi period was marked by less territorial expansion (it never reconquered the Hijaz or 'Asir, for example) and less religious zeal, although the Saudi leaders continued to go by the title of imam and still employed Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 religious scholars. The second state was also marked by severe internal conflicts within the Saudi family, eventually leading to the dynasty's downfall. In all but one instance succession occurred by assassination or civil war, the exception being the passage of authority from Faisal ibn Turki to his son Abdullah ibn Faisal ibn Turki.

The first Saudi to attempt to regain power after the fall of Dir'iyyah in 1818 was Mishari ibn Saud, a brother of the last ruler in Dir'iyyah. Mishari was soon captured by the Egyptians and killed. In 1824, Turki ibn Abdullah, another Saudi who had managed to evade capture by the Egyptians, was able to expel Egyptian forces and their local allies from Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 and its environs. Turki, a grandson of the first Saudi imam Muhammad ibn Saud, is generally regarded as the founder of the second Saudi dynasty and is also the ancestor of the kings of modern-day Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. He made his capital in Riyadh and was able to enlist the services of many relatives who had escaped captivity in Egypt, including his son Faisal.

Turki was assassinated in 1834 by Mishari ibn Abdul-Rahman, a distant cousin. Mishari was soon besieged in Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 and later executed by Turki's son, Faisal, who went on to become the most prominent ruler of the Saudis' second reign. Faisal, however, faced a re-invasion of Najd by the Egyptians four years later. The local population was unwilling to resist, and Faisal was defeated and taken to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 as a prisoner for the second time in 1838.

The Egyptians installed Khalid ibn Saud as ruler in Riyadh and supported him with Egyptian troops. Khalid was the last surviving brother of the last imam of the First Saudi State, and had spent many years in the Egyptian court. In 1840, however, external conflicts forced the Egyptians to withdraw all their presence in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, leaving Khalid with little support. Seen by most locals as nothing more than an Egyptian governor, Khalid was toppled soon afterwards by Abdullah ibn Thuniyyan, of the collateral Al Thuniyyan branch. Faisal, however, had been released that year, and, aided by the Al Rashid rulers of Ha'il
Ha'il
Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

, was able to retake Riyadh and resume his rule. Faisal later appointed his son Abdullah as crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

, and divided his dominions between his three sons Abdullah, Saud, and Muhammad.

Upon Faisal's death in 1865, Abdullah assumed rule in Riyadh but was soon challenged by his brother, Saud ibn Faisal. The two brothers fought a long civil war, in which they traded rule in Riyadh several times. Previously a vassal of the Saudis, Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Rashid of Hail
Hail
Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is referred to as a hail stone. Hail stones on Earth consist mostly of water ice and measure between and in diameter, with the larger stones coming from severe thunderstorms...

 took the opportunity to intervene in the conflict and increase his own power. Gradually, Ibn Rashid extended his authority over most of Najd, including the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Ibn Rashid finally expelled the last Saudi leader, Abdul-Rahman bin Faisal, from Najd after the Battle of Mulayda
Battle of Mulayda
Battle of Mulayda was the last major battle during the existence of the Second Saudi State. Following problems over Zakat and the arrest of the Rashidi leader, Ibn Sabhan, Rashidies planned to end the Saudi State and conquer both Qassim region and Riyadh...

 in 1891.

Saudi Arabia


After his defeat at Mulayda, Abdul-Rahman ibn Faisal went with his family into exile in the deserts of eastern Arabia among the Al Murra bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

. Soon afterward, however, Abdul-Rahman found refuge in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 as a guest of the Kuwaiti emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

, Mubarak Al Sabah. In 1902, Abdul-Rahman's son, Abdul-Aziz
Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia was the first monarch of the Third Saudi State known as Saudi Arabia. He was commonly referred to as Ibn Saud....

, took on the task of restoring Saudi rule in Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

. Supported by a few dozen followers and accompanied by some of his brothers and relatives, Abdul-Aziz was able to capture Riyadh's Masmak fort and kill the governor appointed there by Ibn Rashid. Abdul Aziz, reported to have been barely 20 at the time, was immediately proclaimed ruler in Riyadh. As the new leader of the House of Saud, Abdul-Aziz became commonly known from that time simply as "Ibn Saud".

Ibn Saud spent the next three decades trying to re-establish his family's rule over as much of the Arabian Peninsula as possible, starting with his native Najd
Najd
Najd or Nejd , literally Highland, is the central region of the Arabian Peninsula.-Boundaries :The Arabic word nejd literally means "upland" and was once applied to a variety of regions within the Arabian Peninsula...

. His chief rivals were the Al Rashid clan in Ha'il
Ha'il
Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

, the Sharifs of Mecca in the Hijaz, and the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 in al-Hasa
Al-Hasa
Al-Ahsa is the largest governorate in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, named after Al-Ahsa oasis. The name Al-Ahsa is also given to the biggest city in the region, Hofuf. In classic Arabic, Ahsa means the sound of water underground. It has one of the largest oases in the world with Date Palms of...

. Ibn Saud also had to contend, however, with the descendants of his late uncle Saud ibn Faisal
Saud ibn Faisal
*Muhammad*Abdul-Aziz*Sad*Abdallah*Abdul-RahmanImam Saud was a ruler of the Second Saudi State in 1871 and 1873-75. He joined alliances with foreign tribes and revolted against his half-brother Abdullah. His rule was short-lived and he was overthrown by Abdullah bin Turki. He gained power again in...

 (later known as the "Saud al-Kabir" branch of the family), who posed as the rightful heirs to the throne. Though for a time acknowledging the sovereignty of the Ottoman Sultans and even taking the title of pasha
Pasha
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

, Ibn Saud allied himself to the British, in opposition to the Ottoman-backed Al Rashid. For the period between 1915 and 1927, Ibn Saud's dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, pursuant to the 1915 Treaty of Darin.

By 1932, Ibn Saud had disposed of all his main rivals and consolidated his rule over much of the Arabian Peninsula. He declared himself king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that year. Previously, he had gone through several titles, starting with "Sultan of Najd" and ending with "King of Hijaz and Najd and their dependencies." Ibn Saud's father, Abdul Rahman retained the honorary title of "imam." A few years later, in 1937, American surveyors discovered near Dammam
Dammam
Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the most oil-rich region in the world. The judicial and administrative bodies of the province and several government departments are located in the city. Dammam is the largest city in the Eastern Province and third largest in Saudi...

 what later proved to be Saudi Arabia's vast oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 reserves. Before the discovery of oil, many family members were destitute.

Ibn Saud fathered dozens of sons and daughters by his many wives. He had at most only four wives at one time. He divorced and married many times. He made sure to marry into many of the noble clans and tribes within his territory, including the chiefs of the Bani Khalid
Bani Khalid
.'Bani Khalid'. is an Arab tribal confederation of eastern and central Arabia. The tribe dominated the eastern region of modern-day Saudi Arabia from 1670 to 1793, and again under the auspices of the Ottoman Empire for a brief period in the early 19th century...

, Ajman
Ajman (tribe)
Al-'Ajman or al-'Ijman are a bedouin tribe of northeastern Arabia, with members spread across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the U.A.E.....

, and Shammar
Shammar
The tribe of Shammar is one of the largest tribes of Nejd-Saudi Arabia, with an estimated 1 million in Iraq, over 2.5 million in Saudi Arabia , a Kuwaiti population of around 100,000, a Syrian population is thought to exceed 1 million and with an unknown number in Jordan...

 tribes, as well as the Al ash-Sheikh
Al ash-Sheikh
The Al ash-SheikhIt is incorrect to use the term the Al ash-Sheikh family as the word Al already means family. See Etymology. It would, in theory, be correct to use the term House of the Sheikh, but, unlike House of Saud, in practice this is rarely done...

 (descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab). He also arranged for his sons and relatives to enter into similar marriages. He appointed his eldest surviving son, Saud
Saud of Saudi Arabia
Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1953 to 1964. He was removed from power by Faisal because of Saud's mismanagement and waste. He was the eldest surviving son of Ibn Saud and became Crown Prince in 1933. He died in exile in Greece.-Early life:Saud was born in 1902 in Kuwait...

 as heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

, to be succeeded by the next eldest son, Faisal
Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

. The Saudi family became known as the "royal family," and each member, male and female, was accorded the title of amir or amira ("prince" or "princess"), respectively.

Ibn Saud died in 1953, after having cemented an alliance with the United States in 1945. He is still celebrated officially as the "Founder," and only his direct descendents may take on the title of "his or her Royal Highness." The date of his recapture of Riyadh in 1902 was chosen to mark Saudi Arabia's centennial in 1999 (according to the Islamic lunar calendar
Lunar calendar
A lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. A common purely lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar. A feature of the Islamic calendar is that a year is always 12 months, so the months are not linked with the seasons and drift each solar year by 11 to...

).

Upon Ibn Saud's death, his son Saud assumed the throne without incident, but his lavish spending led to a power struggle between him and the new crown prince, Faisal. In 1964, the royal family forced Saud to abdicate in favor of Faisal, aided by an edict from the country's grand mufti
Mufti
A mufti is a Sunni Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law . In religious administrative terms, a mufti is roughly equivalent to a deacon to a Sunni population...

. During this period, some of Ibn Saud's younger sons, led by Talal ibn Abdul Aziz defected to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, calling themselves the "Free Princes
Free Princes
Free Princes Movement was a Saudi liberal political movement from 1958-64. Its members were known as the Young Najd, Free Princes, and Liberal Princes....

" and calling for liberalization and reform, but were later induced to return by Faisal. They were fully pardoned but were also barred from any future positions in government.

Faisal was assassinated in 1975 by a nephew, Faisal ibn Musaid, who was then promptly executed. Another brother, Khalid
Khalid of Saudi Arabia
Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1975 to 1982. He ruled during Saudi Arabia's oil boom years. In 1979, he had to deal with the Grand Mosque Seizure...

 assumed the throne. The next prince in line had actually been Muhammad, but Muhammad had relinquished his claim to the throne in favor of Khalid, who was his only full brother.

Khalid died of a heart attack in 1982, and was succeeded by Fahd
Fahd of Saudi Arabia
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005...

, the eldest of the powerful "Sudairi Seven
Sudairi Seven
The Sudairi Seven, also spelled Sudairy or Sudayri, is the commonly used name for a powerful alliance of seven full brothers and their descendants within the royal family of Saudi Arabia. They are also known as the Al Fahd . They are sometimes referred to as the Sudairi Clan or the Sudairi faction...

", so-called because they were all sons of Ibn Saud's wife, Hassa al-Sudairi. Fahd did away with the previous royal title of "his Majesty" and replaced it with the honorific "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques," in reference to the two Islamic holy sites in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

.

A stroke in 1995 left Fahd largely incapacitated, and the crown prince, Abdullah
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

 gradually took over most of the king's responsibilities until Fahd's death in August 2005. Abdullah was proclaimed king on the day of Fahd's death and promptly appointed his younger brother Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, the minister of defense and Fahd's "Second Deputy Prime Minister," as the new heir apparent. Sultan passed away in October 2011. On March 27, 2009 Abdullah appointed Prince Naif Interior Minister as his "second deputy prime minister"

Political power


The Head of the House of Saud is the King of Saudi Arabia who serves as Head of State
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The King holds almost absolute political power. The King appoints ministers to his cabinet who supervise their respective ministries in his name. The key ministries of Defense, the Interior, and Foreign Affairs are reserved for the Al Saud, as are most of the thirteen regional governorships. Most portfolios, however, such as Finance, Labor, Information, Planning, Petroleum Affairs and Industry, have traditionally been given to commoners, often with junior Al Saud members serving as their deputies. House of Saud family members also hold many of the Kingdom's critical military and governmental departmental posts. Ultimate power in the Kingdom has always rested upon the Al Saud, though support from the Ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

, the merchant community, and the population-at-large has been key to the maintenance of the royal family's political status quo.

Long term political and government appointments, such as those of King Abdullah, who has been Commander of the National Guard
Saudi Arabian National Guard
The Saudi Arabian National Guard is a separate military force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is not part of the Saudi Arabian Defence Forces, due to its specific role as a counterbalance to the regular military. It serves both as defence force against external threats and as a security force...

 since 1963, Crown Prince Sultan, Minister of Defence & Aviation since 1962, Prince Mutaib
Mutaib bin Abdul Aziz
Mutaib bin Abdul-Aziz is a senior member of the Saudi royal family. He served as Deputy Minister of Defense from 1951-56. He was Minister of Public Works and Housing from 1975-2003. He served as Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs from 2003-09...

 Minister of Municipal & Rural Affairs from 1975 until his resignation in 2009, Prince Nayef who has been the Minister of Interior since 1975, and Prince Salman, who has been Governor of the Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 Region since 1962, have perpetuated the creation of fiefdoms where senior princes have, often, though not exclusively, co-mingled their personal wealth with that of their respective domains. They have often appointed their own sons to senior positions within their own fiefdom
Fiefdom
A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

. Examples of these include Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah
Mutaib bin Abdullah
*Seba*Nouf*Abdullah*Zeina*Saad*KhalidPrince Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud is the Commander of the Saudi National Guard since 2010. He is also a state minister. He is a son of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia....

 as Assistant Commander in the National Guard; Prince Khalid bin Sultan
Khalid bin Sultan
Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation of Saudi Arabia. He led Saudi troops in the First Persian Gulf War and also controversially led the botched Yemen bombing in late 2009...

 as Assistant Minister of Defence; Prince Mansour ibn Mutaib as Assistant Minister for Municipal & Rural Affairs until he replaced his father in 2009; and Prince Mohammed ibn Nayef as Assistant Minister in the Interior Ministry. In cases, where portfolios have notably substantial budgets, appointments of younger, often full, brothers have been necessary, as deputies or vice ministers, ostensibly to share the wealth and the burdens of responsibility, of each fiefdom. Examples of these include Prince Abdul Rahman who is Vice Minister of Defence & Aviation under Prince Sultan; Prince Badr, Deputy to King Abdullah in the National Guard; Prince Sattam, who is Deputy to Riyadh
Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

 Governor, Prince Salman; and Prince Ahmed, who holds the Deputy Minister's portfolio in Prince Nayef's Interior Ministry.

Unlike Western royal families, the Saudi Monarchy has not had a clearly defined order of succession
Line of succession to the Saudi Arabian Throne
The order of succession to the throne of Saudi Arabia is determined by, and within, the House of Saud. It follows agnatic seniority, but a prince may be surpassed or another elevated. The Allegiance Council was created in 2006 to facilitate the royal transfer of power.King Abdullah is the current...

. Historically, upon becoming King, the monarch has designated an heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 to the throne who serves as Crown Prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 of the Kingdom. Upon the King's death the Crown Prince becomes King, and during the King's incapacitation the Crown Prince, likewise, assumes power as regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

. Though other members of the Al Saud hold political positions in the Saudi government, technically it is only the King and Crown Prince who legally constitute the political institutions.

Wealth


The sharing of family wealth has been a critical component in maintaining the semblance of a united front within the royal family. An essential part of family wealth is the Kingdom in its physical entirety, which the Al Saud view as a totally owned family asset. Whether through the co-mingling of personal and state funds from lucrative government positions, huge land allocations, direct allotments of crude oil to sell in the open market, segmental controls in the economy, special preferences for the award of major contracts, outright cash handouts, and astronomical monthly allowances—all billed to the national exchequer—all told, the financial impact may have exceeded 40% of the Kingdom's annual budget during the reign of King Fahd. Over decades of oil revenue-generated expansion, estimates of royal receipts have varied, ranging as low as $500 billion and as high as well over $1 trillion. This method of wealth distribution has allowed many of the senior princes and princesses to accumulate largely unauditable wealth and, in turn, pay out, in cash or kind, to lesser royals and commoners, and thereby gaining political influence through their own largesse.

During periods of high oil prices as were the late 1970s, the early 1980s, and again, immediately after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, national income has outpaced the developmental needs and social obligations of the Saudi government and the effects of royal skimming were diminished. According to well-publicized but unsubstantiated reports, King Abdullah has intentions to reduce the Al Saud share of the budget, an act which may sow discontent within the royal family, but would be popular with the Kingdom's citizenry.

Internal opposition


Due to its authoritarian and theocratic rule, the House of Saud has attracted much criticism during its rule of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. Its opponents generally refer to the Saudi monarchy as totalitarians or dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

s.

There have been numerous incidents of demonstrations and other forms of resistance against the House of Saud. These range from the Ikhwan
Ikhwan
The Ikhwan was the Islamic religious militia which formed the main military force of the Arabian ruler Ibn Saud and played a key role in establishing him as ruler of most of the Arabian Peninsula, in his new state of Saudi Arabia. The Ikhwan were made up of Bedouin tribes...

 uprising during the reign of Ibn Saud, to numerous coup attempts by the different branches of the Kingdom's
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 military. On November 20, 1979 the Holy Sanctuary in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 was violently seized by a group of dissidents. The seizure
Grand Mosque Seizure
The Grand Mosque Seizure on November 20, 1979, was an armed attack and takeover by Islamist dissidents of the Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest place in Islam...

 was carried out by 500 heavily armed and provisioned Saudi dissidents, consisting mostly of members of the former Ikhwan
Ikhwan
The Ikhwan was the Islamic religious militia which formed the main military force of the Arabian ruler Ibn Saud and played a key role in establishing him as ruler of most of the Arabian Peninsula, in his new state of Saudi Arabia. The Ikhwan were made up of Bedouin tribes...

 tribe of Utayba but also of other peninsular Arabs and a few Egyptians enrolled in Islamic studies at the Islamic University of Medina.

The seizure was led by Juhayman al-Otaibi
Juhayman al-Otaibi
Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Otaibi was a militant who led the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, in the last months of 1979.-Biography:...

 and Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah al-Qahtani who cited the corruption and ostentatiousness of the ruling house of Saud. Utaybi and his group spoke against the socio–technological changes taking place in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. Utaybi demanded that oil should not be sold to the United States.

Utaybi received little mass support outside of small circles of workers and students of tribal origin, and foreign labourers (from Egypt, Yemen and Pakistan.) The Saudi royal family turned to the Ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

 who duly issued a fatwa permitting the storming of the holy sanctuary. Saudi forces, aided by French and Pakistani special ops units, took two weeks to flush the rebels out of the holy sanctuary; the use of French commandos was surprising since, officially, non-Muslims may not enter the city of Mecca.

Saudi forces with the aid of Pakistani Special Services units ejected Utaybi’s Group. All surviving males (including Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaybi) were beheaded
Decapitation
Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

 publicly in four cities of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

.

Heads of the House of Sa'ud



First Saudi state


  • Muhammad ibn Saud (died 1765)
  • Abdul-Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud
  • Saud ibn Abdul-Aziz ibn Muhammad Al Saud
  • Abdullah ibn Saud


Second Saudi state


  • Turki ibn Abdallah
    Turki ibn Abdallah
    *Fahd bin Turki*Jiluwi bin Turki*Faisal bin Turki*Abdallah bin TurkiTurki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad was the founder of the Second Saudi State and ruled the area of Najd during the period from 1821-1834 following administration by the Ottoman Empire.-Kingship:Leadership of the House of Saud passed...

  • Faisal ibn Turki Al Saud (first period)
  • Khalid ibn Saud (appointed by the Egyptians)
  • Abdullah ibn Thunayyan
  • Faisal ibn Turki (second period)
  • Saud ibn Faisal ibn Turki
  • Abdullah ibn Faisal
  • Abdul-Rahman bin Faisal


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


  • King Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdul-Rahman Al Saud
  • King Saud ibn Abdul-Aziz
    Saud of Saudi Arabia
    Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1953 to 1964. He was removed from power by Faisal because of Saud's mismanagement and waste. He was the eldest surviving son of Ibn Saud and became Crown Prince in 1933. He died in exile in Greece.-Early life:Saud was born in 1902 in Kuwait...

  • King Faisal ibn Abdul-Aziz
    Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

  • King Khalid ibn Abdul-Aziz
  • King Fahd ibn Abdul-Aziz
    Fahd of Saudi Arabia
    Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005...

  • King Abdullah ibn Abdul-Aziz
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...



Sons of King Abdul-Aziz


  • Bandar bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1923) Has never held a government post but considered close to King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    . Religious, and possibly a recluse.
  • Musaid bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1923) His older son, Khalid, was killed in a shootout with police in the early 1960s while demonstrating against the Kingdom's introduction of television. His younger son, Faisal, was King Faisal
    Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

    's assassin a decade later, for which he was beheaded. Mus'aid is religious, eccentric and a recluse. King Abdullah visited him in a Riyadh hospital in March 2009.
  • Mishaal bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1926) Former Minister of Defense & Governor of Makkah Province. Close confidant of King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    , and Chairman of the Allegiance Council
    Allegiance Council
    The Allegiance Council is the body responsible for determining future succession to the throne of Saudi Arabia. It was formed in 2006 by King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. At the time of its formation, the Council's intended function was to appoint a Crown Prince once a new King succeeds to the...

    , Mishaal is one of the Kingdom's wealthiest royals with extensive interests in real estate and a wide range of business interests.
  • Abdul-Rahman ibn Abdul-Aziz (born 1931) Former Deputy Defense Minister from 1978 - 2011, ( relieved of this position November 5, 2011), after replacing younger brother, Turki in 1978, who was reportedly unfit for the position. Among the wealthiest royals with extensive business interests. With full brother, Crown Prince Sultan's recent death, and waning desire for greater power, Abdul-Rahman has reinforced his influence in the royal family, emerging as the preeminent member of the royal family's Sudairi faction.
  • Mutaib ibn Abdul-Aziz (born 1931) Minister for Municipal & Rural Affairs from 1975 until 2009, and former Governor of Makkah. His profile and influence have greatly increased due to a lengthy tenure in government and a long-standing family alliance with King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

     and his only surviving full brother, Mishaal.
  • Talal ibn Abdul-Aziz (born 1931) Has held the ministerial portfolios for Finance and Communications. Major businessman, special envoy to UNESCO and Chairman of AGFUND. Not considered a contender for the throne as a result of his leading role in the Free Princes
    Free Princes
    Free Princes Movement was a Saudi liberal political movement from 1958-64. Its members were known as the Young Najd, Free Princes, and Liberal Princes....

     movement of 1958 which sought government reform, and his 2011 resignation from the Allegiance Council. Father of Al-Waleed bin Talal
    Al-Waleed bin Talal
    Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is a Saudi Arabian billionaire and member of the Saudi royal family. He is the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. An entrepreneur and international investor he has amassed a fortune through investments in real estate and the stock market.He is founder and CEO of...

    .
  • Badr bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1933) Long-time Deputy Commander of National Guard. Participated in the Free Princes
    Free Princes
    Free Princes Movement was a Saudi liberal political movement from 1958-64. Its members were known as the Young Najd, Free Princes, and Liberal Princes....

     movement in 1958 and rehabilitated by King Faisal
    Faisal of Saudi Arabia
    Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

     a decade later.
  • Nawwaf bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1933) Senior advisor of King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    , former Minister of Finance and, briefly, Director General of the General Intelligence Directorate
    Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah
    The Ri'āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-'Āmah , or the General Intelligence Presidency , is the primary intelligence agency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.- History :...

    . Has substantial business holdings.
  • Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (born 1933) Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister, and long-time powerful Minister of Interior.
  • Turki II bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (born 1934) Businessman after he was forced to resign as Deputy Minister of Defence in 1978.
  • Abdul-llah ibn Abdul-Aziz Al Saud
    Abdul-Ilah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud
    Abdul-Ilah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud , also spelled Abdulillah, is a prince of the Saudi royal family. He is an adviser to King Abdullah. He is a member of the Allegiance Council which helps determine the Saudi line of succession.-Biography:...

     (born 1935) Former Governor of Al Jawf Province
    Al Jawf Province
    Al-Jawf , also spelled Al-Jouf, is a province of Saudi Arabia, located in the north of the country, bordering Jordan. It has an area of 100,212 km² and a population of 440,009 at the 2010 Census...

    . Appointed Special Advisor to King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

     in 2008.
  • Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (born 1936) Former Governor (1962 - 2011) of Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

     Region. Minister of Defense November 2011. Is considered a mediator between differing Royal Family factions. Diminishing health, and the death of his two oldest sons within a twelve-month period had, reportedly, dampened a desire for the throne. However following appointment as Minister of Defense, November 2011, this situation appears to have altered.
  • Ahmed bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1940) Deputy Minister of Interior, with a reputation for "getting the job done", since 1975.
  • Mamdouh ibn Abdul-Aziz (born 1940) Former Governor of Tabuk region who was removed from the post by King Fahd for insubordination. Later Director of Saudi Center of Strategic Studies.
  • Sattam bin Abdul-Aziz (born 1941) Governor of Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

     region from November 2011.Former Deputy Governor of Riyadh region 1978-2011.
  • Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (born 1945) Director General of the General Intelligence Directorate
    Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah
    The Ri'āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-'Āmah , or the General Intelligence Presidency , is the primary intelligence agency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.- History :...

    . Former Governor for Ha'il
    Ha'il
    Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

     and Madinah regions.
  • Hidhlul ibn Abdul-Aziz (born 1941)


Other members of House of Saud


  • Al-Johara Al-Saud
  • Lama Al-Saud
  • Mishil Al-Saud
  • Noura Al-Saud
  • Layali Bint Abdulaziz Al-saud
    Layali Bint Abdulaziz Al-saud
    HRH Princess Layali Bint Fahd Abdulaziz bin Al-Saud is a member of the Saudi Royal family, House of Saud.-References:...

  • Turki Al-Saud
  • Maha Abdulaziz
  • Nuf Al-Saud
  • Sara Al-saud
  • Jawahir Al-Saud
  • Maha Al-Saud
  • Lulu Al-Saud


Grandsons of Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud


  • Muhammed ibn Saud (born 1934) Governor of Al Bahah
    Al Bahah
    Al Bahah is a city in the south west of Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of Al Bahah Province nestled between the resorts of Taif and Abha, Al Baha is one of the Kingdom’s prime tourist attractions. It enjoys a pleasant climate and is surrounded by more than forty forests, including Raghdan, al...

     Province.
  • Abdallah ibn Khalid (born 1935) Chairman of the King Khalid Foundation
    King Khalid Foundation
    The King Khalid Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2001 by the family of the late King Khalid of Saudi Arabia, who ruled from 1975 until his death in 1982....

    .
  • Mohammed ibn Faisal (born 1937) Former Deputy minister for Agriculture. Founder and Chairman of DMI Trust
    DMI Trust
    Dar al-Maal al-Islami Trust , founded in 1981, is a leading Islamic financial institution with affiliates on four continents and assets under management of over $3.6 billion USD, operating in accordance with Zakat principles of Islamic banking...

     and the Faisal Islamic Bank
    Faisal Islamic Bank
    Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt is an Islamic bank in Egypt.-History:Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt is the first Egyptian Islamic & Commercial Bank and is one of the most important Egytpian banks...

     Group; member of the Board of Trustees for the King Faisal Foundation
    King Faisal Foundation
    The King Faisal Foundation was established in 1976 by the sons of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The Director-General is HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal...

    . Oldest son of Queen Iffat.
  • Khalid al Faisal (born 1941) poet, Governor of the Makkah Province and Managing Director of the King Faisal Foundation
    King Faisal Foundation
    The King Faisal Foundation was established in 1976 by the sons of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The Director-General is HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal...

    .
  • Saud al Faisal (born 1941) Long-serving Foreign Minister and close confidant
    Confidant
    The confidant is a character in a story that the lead character confides in and trusts. Typically, these consist of the best friend, relative, doctor or boss.- Role :...

     of King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    . May have stepped aside as a succession candidate due to possibly debilitating health concerns but is highly respected both inside the kingdom and internationally. Member of the Board of Trustees for the King Faisal Foundation
    King Faisal Foundation
    The King Faisal Foundation was established in 1976 by the sons of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The Director-General is HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal...

    .
  • Mutaib ibn Abdullah
    Mutaib bin Abdullah
    *Seba*Nouf*Abdullah*Zeina*Saad*KhalidPrince Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud is the Commander of the Saudi National Guard since 2010. He is also a state minister. He is a son of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia....

     (born 1953) Assistant Commander of the National Guard
    Saudi Arabian National Guard
    The Saudi Arabian National Guard is a separate military force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is not part of the Saudi Arabian Defence Forces, due to its specific role as a counterbalance to the regular military. It serves both as defence force against external threats and as a security force...

    .
  • Faisal ibn Bandar (born 1943) Governor of Qasim Province.
  • Turki al Faisal (born 1945) Adept former Ambassador to Washington D.C. until his surprise resignation on December 11, 2006. Has received intense western media criticism for allegedly mishandling the growth of Al Qaeda during his long tenure as the head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate
    Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah
    The Ri'āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-'Āmah , or the General Intelligence Presidency , is the primary intelligence agency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.- History :...

    , where he oversaw Saudi Arabia's official and non official aid to the Mujahideen
    Mujahideen
    Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

     fighters during the Afghan Civil War. His short tenure as Ambassador to Britain received wide accolades for his professionalism. Member of the Board of Trustees for the King Faisal Foundation
    King Faisal Foundation
    The King Faisal Foundation was established in 1976 by the sons of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The Director-General is HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal...

    .
  • Saud ibn Abdul Mohsin
    Saud bin Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul-Aziz
    Prince Saud bin Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is the governor of Ha'il Province since 1999. He is a member of the Saudi royal family. He is the son of the late Prince Abdul-Muhsin bin Abdul-Aziz , the highly regarded former Governor of Madinah....

     (born 1947) Low-profile well-regarded Governor of Ha'il
    Ha'il
    Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

     Province. Father was Prince Abdul Mohsin ibn Abdul Aziz (1925–1985), much loved and respected Governor of Madinah.
  • Khalid bin Sultan
    Khalid bin Sultan
    Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation of Saudi Arabia. He led Saudi troops in the First Persian Gulf War and also controversially led the botched Yemen bombing in late 2009...

     (born 1949) Deputy Minister of Defense November 2011.. Led Saudi military forces during first Gulf War. Considered both competent and arrogant but accumulation of extensive assets and wealth through his positions in government may hinder political future.
  • Muhammad bin Fahd
    Muhammad bin Fahd
    Muhammad bin Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is Governor of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. He is a business partner of Al-Bilal Trading Company - a major conglomerate associated with construction and imports.-Early life and education:...

     (born 1950)Competent governor of the Eastern Province and son of late King Fahd. His vast business interests, much of it acquired from his position, may be a negative factor for future roles.
  • Bandar bin Sultan
    Bandar bin Sultan
    Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is a prince of the Saudi royal family and was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. He was appointed Secretary-General of the National Security Council by King Abdullah on 16 October 2005...

     (born 1950)Former long-serving Ambassador to US, maintaining close relations with the Bush Family
    Bush family
    The Bush family is a prominent American family. Along with many members who have been successful bankers and businessmen, across three generations the family includes two U.S. Senators, one Supreme Court Justice, two Governors, one Vice President and two Presidents...

     and others across the political spectrum. Reportedly used his position to accumulate great wealth which, in addition to Bandar's lack of in-country popularity, may deter family consensus supporting future roles. King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    , whose support he enjoys, appointed Bandar Secretary-General of the newly created National Security Council
    National Security Council (Saudi Arabia)
    The Saudi National Security Council is the body in charge of coordinating Saudi Arabia's national security, intelligence and foreign policy strategy. It was established in 2005 by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud...

     in October 2005.
  • Mohammed ibn Nawwaf (born 1953) Saudi Ambassador to London. Gained kudos as competent former Ambassador to Italy. His growing prominence is closely connected to King Abdullah
    Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
    Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

    's trust and confidence in his father, Prince Nawwaf.
  • Al-Waleed bin Talal
    Al-Waleed bin Talal
    Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is a Saudi Arabian billionaire and member of the Saudi royal family. He is the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. An entrepreneur and international investor he has amassed a fortune through investments in real estate and the stock market.He is founder and CEO of...

     (born 1955) Has gained stature as a world-class investor and is consistently ranked among Forbes
    Forbes
    Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

    magazine's wealthiest billionaires. Source of wealth reported to include private investments from other royals.
  • Saud ibn Nayef (born 1956)Head of the Court of Crown Prince 2011. Former Saudi Ambassador to Spain. Former Deputy Governor of the Eastern Province.
  • Sultan ibn Salman (born 1956) Former astronaut (1985) and Secretary General of the Supreme Commission for Tourism
    Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities
    Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities is state-run organization, devoted for developing tourism sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with particular focus on encouraging and supporting domestic tourism through sponsoring and conducting tourism events across the country...

     since 2000 with his current term extended to 2012.
  • Muhammad bin Nayef
    Muhammad bin Nayef
    Prince Mohammad bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud is the Saudi Deputy Interior Minister in charge of Counter-Terrorism. He survived an assassination attempt in August 2009.-Personal life:Born in Jeddah, he moved to Riyadh...

     (born 1959) Assistant Minister for Security Affairs in the Interior Ministry. He has taken over many of his father, Prince Nayef's, duties including the day-to-day operations against Al Qaeda.
  • Faisal ibn Salman
    Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
    Prince Faisal bin Salman bin Abdulaziz is a member of the Saudi Arabia royal family and a media executive.He is the son of the Governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz...

     (born 1960) Chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group, the Middle East's largest vertically integrated publishing group.
  • Abdul Aziz bin Fahd
    Abdul Aziz bin Fahd
    Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is the reported favorite son of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, but is known mostly for his extravagance and playboy image. He currently serves on the Council of Ministers as a Minister of State, without portfolio....

     (born 1973) Youngest son of King Fahd. Minister of State and Cabinet Member though his power and political potential are in decline since his father's death in August 2005 - his finances remain controversial and substantial.

See also



  • Al ash-Sheikh
    Al ash-Sheikh
    The Al ash-SheikhIt is incorrect to use the term the Al ash-Sheikh family as the word Al already means family. See Etymology. It would, in theory, be correct to use the term House of the Sheikh, but, unlike House of Saud, in practice this is rarely done...

  • Al Maktoum
    Al Maktoum
    Al Maktoum is the family name of the ruling dynasty of the emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Al Maktoum family is a branch of the Bani Yas tribe , a powerful bedouin clan from the interior...

  • Bani Hareth
  • Bani Yas
    Bani Yas
    Bani Yas is a tribe in the United Arab Emirates that had a coalition with many other tribes in the region. The tribal coalition which consists of tribes from Dubai to Khawr al Udayd southeast of Qatar, was called the Bani Yas Coalition. The tribe has been led by their rulers the Al Nahyan and their...

     ‎
  • Banu Thaqif
    Banu Thaqif
    The Thaqif was one of the tribes of Arabia during Muhammad's era. Thaqif was the main tribe of the town of Taif, in present-day Saudi Arabia, and descendants of the tribe still live in that city today and so many names in Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Hatay...

  • Banu Yam
    Banu Yam
    Banu Yam are a large tribe native to Najran Province in Saudi Arabia, and are the principal tribe of that area. They belong to the Qahtanite branch of Arabian tribes, specifically the group known as Hamdan, and are therefore native to southwestern Arabia....

  • King of Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Royal Guard Regiment
    Saudi Royal Guard Regiment
    The Saudi Arabian Royal Guard Regiment is one of the more visible units in the Saudi Arabian Army. Originally an independent military force, the Royal Guards were incorporated into the Army in 1964. However, the Royal Guards still retained their unique mission of protecting the House of Saud...

  • Sudairi Seven
    Sudairi Seven
    The Sudairi Seven, also spelled Sudairy or Sudayri, is the commonly used name for a powerful alliance of seven full brothers and their descendants within the royal family of Saudi Arabia. They are also known as the Al Fahd . They are sometimes referred to as the Sudairi Clan or the Sudairi faction...



Further reading

  • Alexei Vassiliev, The History of Saudi Arabia, London, UK: Al Saqi Books
    Saqi Books
    Saqi Books is an independent UK publisher co-founded in 1984 by author and feminist Mai Ghoussoub to "print quality academic and general interest books on the Middle East". It now claims to be "the UK's largest publisher of Middle Eastern and Arabic titles"...

    , 1998
  • David Holden
    David Holden
    David Holden was a writer, journalist, and broadcaster, best known as a journalist specialising in Middle-Eastern affairs, who was murdered in Cairo....

     & Richard Johns, The House of Saud, Pan, 1982, 0-330-26834-1
  • Madawi Al-Rasheed
    Madawi Al-Rasheed
    Madawi Al-Rasheed is a Saudi-Arabian-born professor of social anthropology at the department of Theology and Religious Studies in King's College London since 1994. She gives occasional lectures in the United States, Europe and the Middle East....

    , A History of Saudi Arabia, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-64412-7
  • The House of Saud by David Holden
    David Holden
    David Holden was a writer, journalist, and broadcaster, best known as a journalist specialising in Middle-Eastern affairs, who was murdered in Cairo....

    and Richard Johns. Contains 538 pages, plus bibliography, index, and family history, also sections of Black and White plates. (Detail taken from The House of Saud, a reprint. First published by Sidgwick and Jackson in 1981 with an ISBN 0 283 98436 8.)

External links