Saudi Arabia: The Silent Monarch

One of earth's few remaining absolute monarchs last week tried to give an order and failed. This distressing occurrence befell aging, ailing King Saud of oil-rich Saudi Arabia, who, 14 months ago, let his able half brother, Prince Feisal, take over the job of running the country as Prime Minister.

The country has benefited from Feisal's mild reforms, but not the royal family. Feisal fired King Saud's sons from Cabinet posts and governorships; worse, Feisal slashed the royal privy purse to a paltry $40 million annually.

Last month Saud's jobless sons convinced their father that he would lose his throne unless...

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