Sultan bin Abdel Aziz
SULTAN, the Defence Minister and son of King Abdul Aziz, was born in 1924. He is one the Sudeiri Seven, the full brothers of King Fahd. He is second in line to the Saudi throne.
Ambitions of a would-be Dictator:
Sultan rose to fame when he was appointed Governor of Riyadh, the capital city. But he became more powerful when he was appointed Defence Minister in 1964, a post which he still holds. Worse than this, within the Sudeiri family's relentless endeavour to secure monopoly of power, Sultan gradually acquired many other important posts in addition to the defence ministry. He is now the Deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Government's General Inspector, Head of the Higher Education Council, Head of the Higher Council for Islamic Affairs and, last but not least, Head of the Higher Labour Council. These were only his most important responsibilities.
Sultan has nurtured his ambition to succeed King Fahd and this ambition has become even more apparent since Fahd's health has degenerated irremediably over the last year. But his half-brother, heir apparent Prince Abdullah, is next to succeed King Fahd under Saudi succession law which reserves the right to succession to the most senior prince. The fact that the dejure successor is Crown Prince Abdullah, is for Sultan and his six Sudeiri brothers, a great obstacle.
Low IQ blamed for violent behaviour:
Sultan is known for his manichean classification of people as masters and slaves. The best example is his long-standing, irrational determination to disown his own son Bandar, son of a slave woman, for fear that he might become a slave. He refrained from doing so only after King Faisal's intervention. But fate decreed that Bandar became an educated person, and is the Kingdom's Ambassador to Washington, while Sultan's other sons have inherited their father's undesirable traits. His class mentality expresses itself in his attitude towards the respected men of the nation and its scholars on whom he bestows derogatory nicknames.
Among the members of the House of Saud, Sultan shines with ignorance. He had little formal education and acquired his present fame only on account of his family name. Those who know him testify that his knowledge and experience does not exceed the fields of repression, wealth plundering and moral perversion. Despite his oratory style he is known to make regular blunders in speeches. For example, when addressing the inhabitants of Jizan (a part of the Kingdom) he began by conveying to them the regards of the people of Arabia, a statement that made him the laughing-stock of the whole country.
Such behaviour stems from his inferiority complex which partly explains why he is the most zealous opponent of education. But at another level, Sultan believes that educating people paves the way for awareness and thus the questioning of the House of Saud's dictatorship. In the past he took a strong stand against educational development projects. When the Islamic reformist movement inaugurated its period of political questioning in the nineties, through the scholars memoranda for reform, Sultan felt a malicious pleasure to tell his ruling brothers you did this yourselves when you allowed them to get educated.
The man is not renowned for his capability to deal with problems using hindsight, calmness, wisdom, argument and dialogue worthy of any respectful political leader. Lacking all of these qualities has given him an inferiority complex which impels him to resort to force and violence in order to deal with any political opposition.
A threat to the Kingdom:
The 1994 clampdown against reformist scholars took place too late as far as he was concerned. If it had been up to him, and if King Fahd had not feared social unrest, he would have led the crackdown years earlier. In any case, reliable sources within the regime told MIRA that Sultan was the one urging the Sudeiris which led the last two years campaigns against the reformist opposition; he is reported to have personally signed the arrest warrant against Sheikh Safar al-Hawali and Salman al-Awdah. He is also said to have taken steps with the judicial authorities to obtain a series of immediate executions against the Muslim reformists and only backed down after being advised of the untold social unrest that such executions would entail.
His violent attitude and disrespect is unwisely directed even at people whose loyalty is important to him. He is known to be deeply unpopular in the armed forces that he heads. On the advice of foreign powers, he retires officers early and rotates them frequently for security reasons. Meanwhile, he is known to be very abusive to the high-ranking officers he commands and to whom he is supposed to be a role model. In this respect he does not refrain from insulting, hitting and spitting at officers in front of their colleagues. He reportedly humiliated them this way even in the presence of foreign delegations just as a master would do with his slaves.
Psychologists would surely find Sultan very interesting. He has married many times and into different tribes. He allegedly does not even know how many children he has. Dangerous claims have been said about his personal life. Indeed, it has come to the knowledge of the opposition (and unfortunately interested parties outside the Kingdom) that Sultan may have something to hide. Furthermore, according to reports, his psychological condition has been blamed for dubious decisions relating to army promotions, relationships and so on. Also, MIRA has learned that a number of foreign countries and other parties have blackmailed Sultan and the Kingdom through the procurement of material evidence depicting his immoral behaviour. This may explain some of the policies that the Kingdom has adopted in order to suit the political and strategic interests of such countries.
Obviously, from the Islamic point of view this is scandalous as Sultan is the Defence Minister of the country in which there exist the holy shrines of Islam. Furthermore what is striking is not so much his absence of devotion to Islam but his intolerance of practising Muslims. He is reported to have severely beaten one of his new employees. The unfortunate man had ventured to call for prayer at one of his residences (the call being a regular practice, officially enjoyed all over the Kingdom).
As far as corruption is concerned, the Defence Minister is one of the richest multi-billionaires in the world. He has used the defence ministry to amass an untold amount of wealth in the 32 year period he has been at its head. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on the armed forces over this period. Yet it arose that of the total amount spent only 5% was effectively used for the purchase of military hardware and training. It will not be difficult to imagine where the remaining 95% went. Meanwhile the Arabian armed forces humiliated by Sultan himself, ill-equipped and lacking obvious military training were caught unprepared in 1991 by the invading Iraqi army. That the whole episode was a foreign conspiracy is self-evident as far as we are concerned, it remains though that Sultan and his brothers turned the US military assistance into a glorious episode through the manipulation of their subservient media.
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