October 22, 2011 by staff
Prince Sultan, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia managed to massive spending on defense programs for nearly half a century and, as a so-called “Sudairi Seven” was a powerful figure in the kingdom for decades.
Prince Sultan died Saturday in New York after six years as heir to his half brother, King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz al-Saud. According to the Saudi state news agency, the Sultan was born sometime in 1928, although some experts believe that the Saudi monarchy was actually born in 1925. The day he was born is not known – at that time in the Arabian Peninsula, which was not common to record the dates of birth.
The Saudi government did not reveal the cause of death. Prince Sultan was thought by outside experts have been suffering from cancer. It was in New York for treatment.
He was for many years considered as the next ruler of the world’s largest exporter of oil bigger. But more recently, played a much smaller, spending months at a time outside the country for medical treatment for ailments are believed to include cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
U.S. cable diplomatic filtering since March 2009 is described as the Sultan “for all effects disabled” by their illness.
However, his declining years after decades in which it was crucial for Saudi Arabia, relations with Western countries as a powerful defense of the realm and the Minister of Aviation, a position he was given in 1962.
In that role, he orchestrated huge arms purchases from the U.S., UK and France that became Saudi Arabia, one of the largest importers of military in the world and an important military ally of the West.
The largest of these, 1988 and 70 billion al-Yamama contract, was at the time described as the largest contract in history, but later was the subject of corruption probes in the UK and the U.S.
Sultan was not the same name in this research, but encompass close family members and former diplomats in Riyadh, said Sultan had a reputation to take advantage of offers of defense.
Three years after Al-Yamama, the Sultan was instrumental in agreeing to use the kingdom as a launchpad for Western forces in the Gulf War in 1991. That decision cemented the strongest ever period and the U.S. Saudi relations. However, the presence of foreign troops in the Arabian Peninsula – the birthplace of Islam – was quoted later by al-Qaeda as the basis for its dispute with Washington and Saud.
The Ministry of Defence has come to be regarded as a personal fief of the Sultan. Seems likely to be inherited by his son, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, assistant minister of defense and long-term commander of Saudi forces during the 1991 hostilities.
Another son, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the U.S. 22 years, forging relationships with the President George HW Bush and President George W. Bush.
As a minister, Sultan oversaw the kingdom’s participation in the bloody civil war in North Yemen in the 1960s that pitted Saudi-backed royalists in front of a revolutionary new military regime with the support of Egypt.
He maintained close relations with powerful figures in Yemen, and dominated the politics of the kingdom of Yemen, until his illness. Temperament was sometimes fierce Sultan, said foreign officials in the early 1960, but his habit of working late into the night, earned him the nickname of “Mockingbird” and “Mockingbird.” It was during this period that he acquired a reputation for acquiring the latest military technology to the kingdom.
Sultan was the second of seven children born founder of the kingdom filled with former King Abdelaziz al-Saud, known as Ibn Saud, and his favorite wife, Hassa bint Ahmad Al Sudairi. The so-called “seven Sudairi” were regarded as a formidable power bloc among the 45 sons of Ibn Saud, and were placed in positions of high office which young men in the 1960′s.
Fahd, the eldest, was second deputy prime minister and eventually became king, while Prince Nayef was interior minister, and Prince Salman became governor of the province of Riyadh.
With the death of Sultan, Prince Nayef seems destined to succeed as Crown Prince Sultan.
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