Succession in Saudi Arabia: Anatomy of the Al Saud
Anatomy of the Al Saud
CbI has published a new edition of its detailed and extensive report listing key members of the Al Saud and their education, careers, business interests, political connections and marriages.
Since its creation in the 1970s, CbI's Gulf States Newsletter (GSN) has placed great emphasis on trying to understand the intricacies of Al Saud family politics. The anatomy of the Saudi royal family is often misunderstood, not least due to the complexity and sprawling size of the Al Saud.
Anatomy of the Al Saud: Descendants of King Abdelaziz was originally developed as a resource to help GSN staff and analysts at CbI to track power shifts and decision-making within Saudi Arabia and help explain the complex family relationships that underpin business and politics throughout the kingdom.
The report as now available includes detailed information on third, fourth and fifth-generation princes and princesses. (In this we consider that King Abdelaziz – Ibn Saud – was the first generation and his children the second generation of the ruling family.)
The Anatomy covers all major members of the family’s main branch (descended from King Abdelaziz), with details, where possible, of their education, careers, business interests, political connections and marriages. It is not meant to be an exhaustive document containing every last descendant, but rather a useful reference tool that includes notes on the most important and those who have played a role since the Saudi kingdom’s foundation in 1932.
Anatomy of the Al Saud is arranged by the birth order of King Abdelaziz’s 36 sons, from Turki I born in 1900 to the youngest, Hamud, born 1947. It lists some 1,500 individuals.
The entry on each son of King Abdelaziz contains a section on his particular descendants – with Ibn Saud’s grandchildren marked with a dot; great-grandchildren marked with a red diamond and great-great-grandchildren with a black spade.
The children of King Abdelaziz are now greatly reduced, with only 13 sons still surviving as this version of the Anatomy of the Al Saud went to press. Few still hold senior office. Generational change has thus accelerated in the past few years, when third, and sometimes fourth, generation royals have moved into positions of significance. Examples in this category include Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, Saudi Arabian National Guard minister since 2013; Crown Prince Salman’s son Prince Mohammed, head of his father’s diwan and a state minister since 2013-14; Prince Khalid Bin Bandar, General Intelligence Directorate head since mid-2014; and Prince Faisal Bin Salman, Medina governor since 2013.