Risk Management Report: Saudi Arabia
POLITICS: Established by King Abdelaziz (Ibn Saud) in 1932, the kingdom is the giant of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in terms of population, territory, oil wealth and its claim to religious authority. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, whose rulers have all been sons of Ibn Saud. On 23 January, on the death of his 90-year-old brother King Abdullah, Salman Bin Abdelaziz became Ibn Saud’s sixth son of 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.