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Friday, May 27, 2005

Saudi King Fahd hospitalized


Saudi Arabia's special forces were put on alert after King Fahd was hospitalized in Riyadh for tests Friday, the Saudi government said. The move is routine whenever the king is hospitalized, Saudi government sources told CNN on condition of anonymity. Members of the state-owned news media, who asked not to be identified, said they were told to be on standby for a possible announcement. Fahd, who is in his 80s, suffered a stroke in 1995 and has been hospitalized several times during the past six months. Since his stroke, King Fahd's half-brother Crown Prince Abdullah has run day-to-day operations of Saudi Arabia and is in line to inherit the throne.
My gut feeling is that there is a real chance for a Saudi Civil war when Fahd dies. I expect it will start off as a clandestine, shadow war, but it could quickly become widespread. The contestants in this war will be Crown Prince Abdullah, whom most Americans are aware of, and Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, who doesn't get many headlines here. He controls the Saudi Interior ministry, (aka the Secret Police) and has a hand in about everything else that goes on in the kingdom as well. He is no friend of America either. I believe that we have already glimped some of the early manuevering in this shadow war, with some of the counter terrorist actions (and unlikely escapes) in Saudi over the past couple of years. When Fahd dies, this could blow up. Update: Smash has thoughts along this line as well.


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