SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
Don't be a fool and die for your country. Let the other sonofabitch die for his.
-- General George S. Patton

August 02, 2005

Simple Funeral For Saudi Arabian King Fahd

Simple funeral for King Fahd

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Muslim leaders and Saudi princes have bid a final farewell to King Fahd before his body was buried in an unmarked grave in a desert cemetery in keeping with Saudi Arabia's austere Islamic tradition.

The private ceremony in Riyadh Tuesday took place after prayers at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque where Fahd's body, draped in a brown robe, was carried by his sons on a wooden plank.

Mourners carried bright umbrellas to shield them from the sun at the al-Oud cemetery where small uninscribed stones mark the graves.

Fahd's body had been driven in an ambulance from the mosque where a crowd of thousands, including his successor, King Abdullah, paid their respects.

The mourners stood, raising their arms and chanting "Allahu akbar," or "God is great" during a two-minute prayer.

Security was tight in the capital for the ceremonies, with large crowds of ordinary Saudis participating alongside monarchs, presidents and other dignitaries from the Arab world and other Islamic nations.

Western leaders and dignitaries, including Britain's Prince Charles, French President Jacques Chirac and Australia's governor general were also offering condolences.

U.S. President George W. Bush, who has promised a "close partnership" with Saudi Arabia under Abdullah's leadership, sent a delegation. The leaders of Syria, Pakistan and other Muslim states also attended.

Saudi flags, emblazoned with "There is no God but Allah", were not lowered as this is deemed blasphemous.

After Fahd's death on Monday, Crown Prince Abdullah, the kingdom's de facto ruler for several years, became king.

Saudi officials say Abdullah, who has run day-to-day affairs since Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995, would maintain the Gulf state's oil policy and close alliance with the West.

King Fahd's exact age is unknown, but he was believed to be between 82 and 84.Fahd was the fifth ruler of the nation founded in 1932 by his father, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud.

His 23-year reign was marked by unprecedented prosperity, but his close ties with the United States stirred the passions of Islamic militants.

Saudi police regularly clash with gunmen linked to the al Qaeda terrorist network, and a spate of attacks in the past two years have targeted Westerners who worked in the oil industry or helped train and equip the kingdom's armed forces.

It was Fahd's decision to allow U.S. forces to be based out of Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq that outraged Islamic fundamentalists, among them al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who criticized his homeland for allowing "infidels" to attack another Arab country from its soil.

Fifteen of the 19 suicide hijackers who carried out al Qaeda's September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington were from Saudi Arabia, further straining ties.

Rihab Massoud, the Saudi charge d'affaires in Washington, acknowledged the "challenge" posed by the attacks in his remarks. But he said he expected Saudi relations with the United States "to continue and to grow" under Abdullah, who was a guest at President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this year.

"Saudi Arabia will not stand for an evil cult using the Islamic faith as an excuse for mass violence," Massoud said. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with all nations as strong allies."

See CNN for more on this story.

So what will this mean for world politics? I say not much is likely to change. Prince Abdullah has been the de facto fuler since King Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995.

What do you think?

superman s.giflagleRock Out!

Posted by SlagleRock at August 2, 2005 12:18 PM | TrackBack
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