Riyad, (1924) King of Saudi Arabia since 2005. Immediately after the announcement of the death of King Fahd on August 1, 2005, his brother and crown prince, Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz, who exercised de facto regent and much of the political power since 1996, became the sixth ruler of Saudi Arabia since the establishment of the kingdom in 1932. His coronation and the act of obedience from the dignitaries of the country were held on 3 August.
Son of the eighth wife of King Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz, Princess Fahda, Abdullah was born in the capital of the kingdom in 1924, although some sources place their birth in 1923. This imprecision is due to the disparity between Muslim and Christian calendars and the fact that at that time there were no reliable records in an extremely poor desert territory, inhabited by nomadic tribes (Bedouins). Through his mother belongs to the tribe of Shammar, including trained as a warrior after being educated by religious leaders.
The new sovereign was the offspring number 13 of the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, the legendary King Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz (1932-1953), extremely prolific and prodigal, he married a total of 22 women and had the At least 43 children, but that (in alliance never broken with the oil companies) transformed his desert domain of imprecise limits set by the British Empire in a relatively prosperous state, the world's leading exporter of oil, with a theocratic regime and family dictatorship.
Abdullah is not included in the powerful clan of sudeiri, named reference to the tribe of al-Sudeiri, which belonged to Princess Hassa al-Sudeiri, the favorite wife of the founder of the dynasty, with whom he had six sons, including Princes Sultan, Nayef, Salman and the late King Fahd, who is given the rivalry with the children of other wives who are the branches of the royal family.
His first public office was mayor of Mecca, the city that, along with Medina, home to the holy sites of Islam, and since 1962, was head of the National Guard, responsible for the monitoring of strategic locations and particularly the oil wells, a position he still holds to be proclaimed king.
In 1982, when his half brother Fahd ascended the throne, he was appointed first deputy prime minister and crown prince, according to an unwritten rule that the absence of law of succession, the king appointed his successor after inaugurating his reign, having account of the convoluted family balance, though the choice must be approved by the Family Advisory Council and the mullahs.
Abdullah made several trips to the U.S., the first in October 1976 to meet with then President Gerald Rudolph Ford. In September 1998, in his first official visit as crown prince met with President Bill Clinton at the White House, when American planes were bombing Iraq under Saddam Hussein. In September 2000 came to New York to speak before the UN General Assembly. The U.S. media said at the time of the ascent to the throne, King Abdullah was a great friend of America and the Bush family. As for domestic policy reforms have been very cautious. In 1992 fully endorsed the fundamental law for the first time, provides for the succession to the throne is not confined solely to the children of the founder, but open the "fittest" of their grandchildren. The application of sharia, or Islamic law remains unchanged, political parties and trade unions are banned, women do not have voting rights and can not drive a car and mixed schooling is prohibited.