Risk Management Report: Saudi Arabia
POLITICS: Established in 1932, the kingdom is the giant of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in terms of population, territory, oil wealth and its claim to religious authority. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, whose rulers to date have all been sons of King Abdelaziz (Ibn Saud). On 23 January, on the death of his 90-year-old brother Abdullah, King Salman Bin Abdelaziz became the sixth son of Ibn Saud to assume the throne. Salman is viewed as slightly more conservative than Abdullah, whose reign saw some reform of education and the judiciary, and the appointment of women to the Shura Council. There are also concerns about his fitness to rule; at 79, Salman has had at least one stroke and is thought to suffer from age-related mental health issues.