Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Dies After Prolonged Illness: Funeral on Tuesday

“May Allah bless the soul of Crown Prince Sultan and grant him the best reward for his services for his religion and homeland.” He died on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011.

By Siraj Wahab

sirajwahab@arabnews.com

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud died in the United States on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency announced. He was 83. His debilitating health problems had kept him out of the public eye for quite some time.

“May Allah bless his soul and grant him the best reward for his services for his religion and homeland,” said a statement from the Royal Court. As crown prince, he was first in the line of succession.

He will be buried in Riyadh on Tuesday, Saudi TV’s Channel 2 announced in its 10:00 a.m. bulletin. The funeral prayers will be held at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque after Asr prayers.

Born in Riyadh in 1928, Crown Prince Sultan was the half-brother of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. He was Saudi Arabia’s deputy prime minister and the minister of defense and aviation, and was a central figure in Saudi decision-making.

He is survived by a number of children; they include Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the United States who now heads the National Security Council, and Prince Khaled bin Sultan, the deputy defense minister.

King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud founded the Kingdom more than 70 years ago. Since his death in 1953, Saudi Arabia has been unified, stabilized and modernized by his illustrious sons. The founder had over 40 sons. So far five brothers have become kings and around 20 are serving the land of the Two Holy Mosques in various key capacities.

Like the late King Fahd, Crown Prince Sultan was born to King Abdul Aziz by his favorite wife Hessa bint Ahmad Al-Sudairy. Among her other famous children are Interior Minister Prince Naif, who will now become the new crown prince, and Prince Salman, the far-sighted governor of Riyadh.

Crown Prince Sultan was the defense minister in 1990 when the First Gulf War took place to check the onward march of Saddam Hussein’s rampaging men. His son, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, served as the top commander in Operation Desert Storm, in which Saudi and international forces drove Saddam's forces out of Kuwait.

He was appointed governor of Riyadh in 1947. He was simultaneously assisting his father in the setting up of a national administrative system based on the implementation of Shariah (the Islamic law). In 1953, he became Saudi Arabia’s first minister of agriculture.

Two years later, Sultan became minister of transportation, supervising the development of Saudi Arabia’s massive roads and telecommunications network, and the construction of the railway system connecting the eastern city of Dammam with the central city Riyadh, the capital.

Unlike in other parts of the world, the line of succession in Saudi Arabia does not move directly from father to eldest son, but passes down a line of brothers born to the founder.

 

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