Abdullah's brother and crown prince, Salman, was declared the new king, according to a statement attributed to Salman. "His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1:00am this morning," the statement said.
Obituary: King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz al-Saud ~ link ~
New Saudi ruler is King Salman bin Abdulaziz ~ link ~
The death on Friday of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah means Salman bin Abdulaziz has become the country's new ruler and the last to be born before the discovery of oil in the world's top crude exporter.
As king, Salman, 78, will have to navigate regional turmoil caused by wars in Iraq and Syria, as well as a bitter rivalry with Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and a lingering threat from an al Qaeda wing in neighbouring Yemen.
King Salman has named his half-brother Muqrin as his crown prince and heir, rapidly moving to forestall any fears of a succession crisis at a moment when Saudi Arabia faces unprecedented turmoil on its borders.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah dies - State TV ~ link ~
The king reportedly died at hospital, where he had been receiving medical treatment for several weeks.
The late Saudi king’s funeral ceremony will be held on Friday afternoon.
The official statement further noted that the late king's half brother Muqrin has been named the new crown prince. The new Saudi king has reportedly called on the royal family's Allegiance Council to recognize Muqrin as his crown prince and heir.
Saudi Royal Succession: Its impact on Oil, Markets and Politics ~ link ~
With oil prices under $50, the feeling on the ground in Saudi Arabia has been one of concern. After 19 years with of rule by Abdullah (9 as regent and 10 as King), there is significant pressure for the new King to secure the support of the populace through populist measures such as public sector wage increases with 90% of Saudis employed in the public sector (90% of the private sector is foreign) and additional handouts. These may well include expensive measures such as free housing for young married couples and a potential consumer debt jubilee, where the government takes over payments (billions have already been shifted in this manner over the last few years).
The current Saudi budget balances at around $63 (see here: http://www.ecstrat.com/research/balancing-budgets/) and the Kingdom has ample cash assets of around $800bn and the ability to raise huge amounts of debt. It should also be noted that while the budget balances in the $60s, historical spending has been significantly above budget in the last few years, $30bn in excess in 2014. Additional spending may be similar to the Arab Spring, meaning we could see an overspend of $50bn or more this year depending on the measures taken.
Saudi King Abdullah Dead - Crude Oil Prices Jump ~ link ~
Flashback: Saudi nuclear weapons 'on order' from Pakistan (6 November 2013) ~ link ~
While the kingdom's quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran's atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.
Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery. Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."
In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.
Nutrimedical Report Show with Dr. Bill Deagle, Chris Harris and Lord Stirling (Tim Alexander) ~ link ~ For Thursday's show, click on Thursday January 22 2015 Hour 3; for Tuesday's show, click on Tuesday January 20 2015 Hour 3.