Wednesday, Sep. 29, 2010

Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud

Position: King of Saudi Arabia
Age: 86
Time in Power: 5 years
Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud is head of the House of Saud, the dynasty that gave their name to Saudi Arabia. The king has four wives, seven sons and fifteen daughters. He is also Prime Minister and Commander of the Saudi National Guard. He presides over one of the world's wealthiest petro-states, which has had strong ties with the West, particularly the U.S. But it's also in the vanguard of Sunni Muslim states and the incubator of a number of the more ultra-orthodox strains of Islam. Abdullah subsequently refused to support the US-led attack of Iraq. He was responsible for the "Peace of Culture," an initiative which brought together Muslim and non-Muslim nations at the United Nations General Assembly in order to soften tensions and perceptions surrounding Islam and terrorism.