Friday, May 27, 2005

Saudi Arabia's King Fahd Hospitalized, Dead?

Saudi Arabia's King Fahd was hospitalized with pneumonia today. Conflicting reports say the country is either in a state of alert or not, depending. Fahd's brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, has been the country's de facto ruler since 1995, when Fahd had a severe stroke.

A UPI report claims he is dead.

Update 5/28: Reuters and numerous other sources indicate Fahd is alive and stable, though skepticism persists in the desert kingdom:

Despite palace assurances, King Fahd's health was of great concern to many Saudis in a country where information is often filtered and rumours fly. Some believed the monarch was in a coma. Others took the prayer request as an ominous sign.

"I think the fact the government so quickly told us about the king's condition means things are very serious this time," said Abu Fahad, a 24-year-old university student.

Businessman Mohammed Sulaiman said: "I actually think he is already dead and that the authorities are holding out on telling people so that the news doesn't come as too much of a shock."

Saudi security sources said princes had started arriving in the Saudi capital, a sign of concern for the king's health.

Also, check out the lengthy comment left behind by Robert Schwartz:
Here is the important fact. There is no theory of legitimate inheritance of a kindom in Islam. ... When Fahd dies, Abd'allah will continue to rule the kindom, but his sucession [sic] will not be assured. He will be challenged by many others. ... Indeed, it is possible that the civil war has already begun.