Assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia Part 2

About the assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, history of the murder and assassin.

ASSASSINATIONS

The Victim: KING FAISAL OF SAUDI ARABIA (Faisal Ibn Abdul-Aziz al Saud).

Prince Faisal, it was discovered, had come to believe that semitheocratic rule was "standing in the way of the development of his country." He decided that killing his uncle would allow more liberal and westernized heirs to take power, and that this would open up the way to progress.

Faithful Islamic scholars shook their heads knowingly. The young man's regicidal act was obviously the product of too much travel and foreign influence. After all, had he not been sent to America--just two years after Saudi Arabia abolished slavery--for his heretic-tainted education? (San Francisco State College at age 17. University of Colorado at 20. University of California at Berkeley at age 22.) Had he not grown his hair long and taken to smoking marijuana and selling LSD? (Arrested for drug sales in Colorado during 1969. Released after confession.) Had he not openly associated with militant Arab students in Berkeley who believed that King Faisal's style of Muhammadanism was a total anachronism, a stumbling block which must be removed before progressive Near Eastern countries could move into the present century?

Heresy of heresies!

The departed king, they remembered proudly, had used all of his influence (and $27 billion a year in oil revenues) to make the Arab battle against Israel a Holy War as well as to fight off the atheistic intrusion of democratic and socialistic ideas.

Faisal considered Zionism and Communism as one--a position which somewhat confused other Arab states such as Egypt, which freely used Russian arms to fight a Jewish nation they considered purely the creature of American capitalism.

Faisal's successor, King Khalid, might be expected to swing a bit closer to the Egyptian point of view. His chief adviser, and the power behind the throne, is Prince Fahan, who has seemed inclined toward an even more progressive set of attitudes. (Although he felt no guilt about losing one or two million dollars at a clip on the gambling tables of Monte Carlo.)

Progressive to a point. But hardly liberal.

The enormous ruling Saud family (more than 3,000 pampered members) could always be counted upon to agree on one central thesis: that Arabia's enormous wealth would continue to be used mostly for its own benefit, and that the majority of the country's 8 million inhabitants (annual per capita income $577, life expectancy 35) would see little of this money.

The Saud family has continued to protect the Holy City of Mecca. And itself.

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