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King Faisal of Saudi Arabia

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia

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Published by Aamir Hussain

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Published by: Aamir Hussain on Jun 17, 2010
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Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz
Prince Faisal, circa 1941
House of Saud
 
Faisal
ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal ibnTurki Al Saud
Offspring
Abdullah
M
uhammadSara
L
uluwa
halidSaudSa'dAbd al-Rahman
B
andar 
L
atifa
M
uniraal-Jauharaal-Anud
M
isha'ilFahda
 N
uraTurki
H
aifa
Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia
(1904 ² 
M
arch 25, 1975) (Arabic:     ) ruled from 1964 to 1975. As king he is credited with rescuing thecountry's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his mainforeign policy themes were pan-Islamism, anti-Communism, and anti-Zionism.
[1][2]
 
Contents
1 Early life2 Crown Prince and Prime
M
inister 
3
Struggle with Saud4
ing of Saudi Arabia
 
 
5 Foreign relations6 Assassination7 Family
8
See also9 References
E
arly life
Faisal was born in Riyadh, the third son of Saudi Arabia's founder, Ibn Saud. Faisal's mother wasTarfa bint Abduallah bin Abdulateef al Sheekh,
[
3
]
whom Ibn Saud had married in 1902 after capturing Riyadh. She was a descendent of 
M
uhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, and her father wasone of Ibn Saud's principal religious teachers and advisers.
B
eing one of Ibn Saud's eldest sons, Faisal was delegated numerous responsibilities during IbnSaud's quest to consolidate control over Arabia. In 1925, Faisal, in command of an army of Saudiloyalists, won a decisive victory in the
H
ijaz. In return, he was made the governor of 
H
ijaz thefollowing year.
[1]
After the new Saudi kingdom was formalized in 19
3
2 Faisal received the postof 
M
inister of Foreign Affairs, a position which he continued to hold until his death, even duringhis reign as king.
[4]
Faisal also commanded a section of the Saudi forces that took part in the brief Saudi-Yemeni War of 19
3
4,
[5]
successfully fighting off Yemeni claims over Saudi Arabia'ssouthern provinces.
Crown Prince and Prime Minister
Upon the accession of Faisal's elder brother, Saud, to the throne in 195
3
, Faisal was appointedCrown Prince. Saud, however, embarked on a lavish and ill-considered spending program
[1]
thatincluded the construction of a massive royal residence on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh.
H
ealso faced pressure from neighboring Egypt, where Gamal Abdel
 N
asser had overthrown themonarchy in 1952.
 N
asser was able to cultivate a group of dissident princes led by Talal ibnAbdul Aziz who defected to Egypt (see Free Princes). Fearing that Saud's financial policies were bringing the state to the brink of collapse, and that his handling of foreign affairs was inept,senior members of the royal family and the religious leadership (the "ulema") pressured Saudinto appointing Faisal to the position of prime minister in 195
8
, giving Faisal wide executive powers.
[6]
In this new position, Faisal set about cutting spending dramatically in an effort torescue the state treasury from bankruptcy. This policy of financial prudence was to become ahallmark of his era and earned him a reputation for thriftiness among the populace.A power struggle ensued thereafter between Saud and Faisal, and on 1
8
December 1960, Faisalresigned as prime minister in protest, arguing that Saud was frustrating his financial reforms.Saud took back his executive powers and, having induced Talal to return from Egypt, appointedTalal as minister of finance.
[7]
In 1962, however, Faisal rallied enough support within the royalfamily to install himself as prime minister for a second time.
[6]
 It was during this period as head of the Saudi government, that Faisal, though still not king,established his reputation as a reforming and modernizing figure.
[1]
 
H
e introduced education for women and girls despite the consternation of many conservatives in the religious establishment.To appease the objectors, however, he allowed the female educational curriculum to be writtenand overseen by members of the religious leadership, a policy which lasted long after Faisal'sdeath. It was also during this time that Faisal formally abolished slavery.In 196
3
, Faisal established the country's first television station, though actual broadcasts wouldnot begin for another two years.
[
8
]
As with many of his other policies, the move aroused strongobjections from the religious and conservative sections of the country. Faisal assured them,
 
however, that Islamic principles of modesty would be strictly observed, and made sure that the broadcasts contained a large amount of religious programming.
Struggle with Saud
The struggle with Saud, the king, continued in the background during this time. Takingadvantage of the king's absence from the country for medical reasons in early 196
3
, Faisal beganamassing more power for himself.
H
e removed many of Saud's loyalists from their posts andappointed like-minded princes in key military and security positions,
[9][10]
such as his brother Abdullah, to whom he gave command of the
 N
ational Guard in 1962.
[11]
Upon Saud's return,Faisal demanded that he be made regent and that Saud be reduced to a purely ceremonial role. Inthis, he had the crucial backing of the ulema, including an edict (or 
 fatwa
) issued by the grandmufti of Saudi Arabia, a relative of Faisal's on his mother's side, calling on Saud to accede to his brother's demands.
[9]
Saud refused, however, and made a last-ditch attempt to retake executive powers, leading Faisal to order the
 N
ational Guard to surround Saud's palace.
H
is loyalistsoutnumbered and outgunned, Saud relented, and on
M
arch 4, 1964, Faisal was appointed regent.A meeting of the elders of the royal family and the ulema was convened later that year, and asecond fatwa was decreed by the grand mufti calling on Saud to abdicate the throne in favor of his brother. The royal family supported the fatwa and immediately informed Saud of their decision. Saud, by now shorn of all his powers, agreed, and Faisal was proclaimed king on
 N
ovember 2, 1964.
[6][10]
Shortly thereafter, Saud left into exile in Greece.
King of Saudi Arabia
Upon his ascension, Faisal still viewed the restoration of the country's finances to be his main priority.
H
e continued to pursue his conservative financial policies during the first few years of his reign, and his aims of balancing the country's budget eventually succeeded, helped by anincrease in oil production.Faisal embarked on a modernization project that encompassed vast parts of the kingdom andinvolved various public sector institutions. The pinnacle of his achievements in modernizing the
ingdom was the establishment of a judicial system, a project led and executed by International
L
awyer and Judge, the former Syrian
M
inister of Justice, Zafer 
M
oussly.The improved financial situation allowed Faisal to pursue various reforms and modernization projects. Several universities were established or expanded during his rule, and he continued tosend a great number of students to foreign universities, especially in the United States. Thesestudents would later form the core of the Saudi civil service
M
any of the country's ministries, government agencies, and welfare programs were begun duringFaisal's reign, and he invested heavily in infrastructure.
[12]
 
H
e also introduced policies such asagricultural and industrial subsidies that were later to reach their height under his successors,
halid and Fahd. In 1964, he issued an edict that all Saudi princes had to school their childreninside the country, rather than sending them abroad; this had the effect of making it"fashionable" for upper class families to bring their sons back to study in the
ingdom.
[1
3
]
Faisalalso introduced the country's current system of administrative regions, and laid the foundationsfor a modern welfare system. In 1970, he established the
M
inistry of Justice and inaugurated thecountry's first "five-year plan" for economic development.
[12]
 Television broadcasts officially began in 1965. In 1966, an especially zealous nephew of Faisalattacked the newly-established headquarters of Saudi television but was killed by security personnel. The attacker was the brother of Faisal's future assassin, and the incident is the mostwidely-accepted motive for the murder.
[14]
Despite the opposition from conservative Saudis to

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