House of Saud
The House of Saud (Arabic: آل سعود, translit. Āl Suʻūd IPA: [ʔaːl sʊʕuːd]) is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. It is composed of the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the Emirate of Diriyah, known as the First Saudi state (1744–1818), and his brothers, though the ruling faction of the family is primarily led by the descendants of Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman, the modern founder of Saudi Arabia. The most influential position of the royal family is the King of Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarch. The family in total is estimated to comprise some 15,000 members; however, the majority of power, influence and wealth is possessed by a group of about 2,000 of them. Some estimates of the royal family's wealth measure their net worth at $1.4 trillion, this figure includes the market capitalization of Saudi Aramco the state oil & gas company and its vast assets in fossil fuel reserves.
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Quotes about the House of Saud
- The House of Saud knows full well that it cannot survive the forces of change, that it cannot withstand the inevitable tide of history and that it will in due course be swept away as the clamour for governmental transparency and social justice grows.
- Ben Emmerson, as quoted in Saudi Arabia using anti-terror laws to detain and torture political dissidents, UN says (8 June 2018), The Independent.
- The case of Saudi Arabia highlights the difficulties that democracies face in trying to support freedom, human rights, and democracy. King Abdullah heads a royal family that completely controls Saudi society. Thanks to the fact that they own the world's largest reserves of oil, they are virtually immune from international criticism and they do not bother to hold even fake national elections. By law, all Saudi citizens must be Muslims. It is illegal for Saudis to follow a different religion. A Saudi woman cannot appear in public with a man who is not a relative. Women are required to completely cover their bodies in public and they must wear veils. Some Saudi women have expressed satisfaction with the restrictions in the country. However, the strict suppression of women is not voluntary, and Saudi women who would like to live a freer life are not allowed to do so. King Abdullah and his relatives follow an intolerant version of Islam known in the West as Wahhabism. Since 1975, the Saudi royal family has spent more than $70 billion financing mosques and Islamic centers worldwide, including more than $300 million in the United States, where most Muslims studying in Arabic use Saudi textbooks, some of which are virulently anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. If Saudi Arabia did not control so much oil, King Abdullah and the Saudi royal family would be treated just as much as pariahs as are Than Shwe and the Burmese generals.
- David Wallechinsky, Tyrants: The World's 20 Worst Living Dictators (2006), p. 4
- A Chronology: The House of Saud, Frontline, 1 August 2005
- The House of Saud: A View of the Modern Saudi Dynasty, Frontline, 1 August 2005
- Structure of the House of Saud
- Saudi Royal Family Directory. Datarabia.
- Saudi Royal Family Website. House of Saud.