Seventh Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia took the throne after the death of his brother King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. In his two years on the throne, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud has been an innovative leader who has addressed some of Saudi Arabia’s most pressing concerns. King Salman’s priority has been maintenance of stability in Saudi Arabia. King Salman has a reputation for being more oriented towards the religious leadership of Saudi Arabia.
While we read the story of Saudi Arabian “growth and development”, we feel that these achievements, by exerting more efforts, make Saudi Arabia an icon of development in all fields.
The King followed through on the promise of his predecessor King Abdullah to allow Saudi women to vote and run for office in the country’s municipal councils. It is an important symbolic step for the monarchy. Harder decisions about women’s rights will be crucial if Saudi Vision 2030 is to work.
Today, the development in Saudi Arabia is a result of its leader’s efforts aimed to enhance economic development, so all Saudi sectors are working positively with this phase needs.
A comprehensive development depends on many fundamentals such as: the variety of income sources, growth of savings, creating job opportunities, effective collaboration between the public and private sectors, implementing developmental and services projects continuously, comprehensive developmental enhancement of services, raising the efficiency of the general expenditure, raising the efficiency of resource usage, preventing waste, and activating competitiveness of the business sector.
Therefore, what we see in the leadership of the economic affairs and development council gives us a huge responsibility in the statistical sector, so that we must take care of the quality of statistical products which is the main input of effective developmental planning and continuous progress.
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was born on December 31, 1935. son of King Abdulaziz (b. 1876-1953) and Hessa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi (b. 1900-1969). Salman and his six brothers make up what is referred to as the Sudairi Seven.
He was raised in Murabba Palace. He received his early education in the Prince’s School in Riyadh, which was founded by his father, King Abdulaziz, to provide education to his children. He studied religion and modern science.
At the age of nineteen he started his governmental work, when his father appointed him as Emir and Mayor of Riyadh on March 17th, 1954. On April 19th, 1955, he was appointed by his half-brother, King Saud (b. 1902-1969) as mayor of Riyadh at the rank of minister. He remained in this office till December 25, 1960.
On February 4th, 1963, he was appointed governor of the Riyadh Province. He stayed in this office until 2011. During his time in office he contributed in the transformation of Riyadh from a mid-sized town into a major urban metropolis, while attracting tourism, capital projects, and foreign investment inside his country. Reportedly, his administration of the Riyadh Province was free of corruption..
As governor of Riyadh, he oversaw its transformation from an isolated desert town into a crowded city of skyscrapers, universities and Western fast-food chains. The post raised his international profile as he hosted visiting VIPs and envoys and helped secure foreign investment.
In January 2011, he ordered action against Riyadh beggars who tried to take advantage of the generosity of people. All foreign beggars were deported and Saudi beggars were placed in a rehabilitation programme by the Ministry of Social Affairs. He was governor of Riyadh province for 48 years before becoming defence minister in 2011 and crown prince a year later.
On November 5, 2011, Salman was appointed Minister of Defence, replacing his full brother, the late Crown Prince Sultan, and late Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz was named the governor of the Riyadh Province. As defence minister he was head of the Saudi military as it joined the US and other Arab countries in air strikes in Syria in 2014 against the Islamic State militant group.
In common with some of the other most senior royals in government, he has few publicly acknowledged business interests. He was also named a member of the National Security Council (NSC). On June 18, 2012, he was appointed Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia shortly after the death of his brother, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz. He was also made deputy prime minister.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz was proclaimed the seventh King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on January 23, 2015, upon the death of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Concurrently, Salman’s half-brother, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, assumed the position of Crown Prince, also assuming the title of First Deputy Prime Minister.
He and his family own the international newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, as well as the Saudi daily newspaper, Al Eqtisadiah. Three of his sons in succession have chaired the Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG), which owns newspapers and magazines, including London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat. King Salman is not believed himself ever to have been listed as a shareholder.
King Salman is not believed to be as personally interested in political or social reform as his predecessor. His son, Prince Sultan, was the first person of royal blood, the first Arab as well as the first Muslim to fly in outer space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-51-G) in June 1985. The Crown Prince underwent spine surgery in the US in August 2010 and remained out of the kingdom for recovery.
King Salman has chaired various humanitarian and service committees that provide relief from natural and man-made disasters. For his humanitarian services, he has been awarded many medals and decorations, including awards from Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Morocco, Palestine, Philippines, Senegal, the United Nations, Yemen, and the King Abdulaziz Medal – First Class.
He is a recipient of several honorary degrees and academic awards, including an honorary doctorate from the Islamic University of Madinah, the Prince Salman academic award, and the Kant Medal by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in appreciation of his contributions to the field of science.
A 40-member Islamic military alliance (led by the Saudi defense minister) has been created, excluding Iran and Iraq. Oman has also officially joined the Saudi military alliance. Nonetheless the Obama administration has sold over $110 billion in arms to the Saudis in eight years.
Last October, in a major break with decades of rivalry, Russia and Saudi Arabia struck a slew of deals, including contracts for Russian weapons as part of a ground-breaking first visit by a Saudi monarch. Riyadh’s decision to boost ties with Moscow shows the Saudis’ interest in keeping Russia signed up to a global deal to limit oil production and push up the price of their valuable crude exports.
Following the talks, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) said it signed agreements with Russia’s state arms trader, Rosoboronexport, for the purchase of cutting-edge Russian weapons, including the long-range S-400 air defense missile systems.
In line with Saudi Arabia’s intention to localize weapons production, the deals envisage the transfer of technology for the local production of Russian Kornet-EM anti-tank missiles, TOS-1A rocket launchers and AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers and the latest version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Earlier, in May last year, in his first overseas trip as president, Donald Trump sealed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $350 billion over 10 years, with nearly $110 billion to take effect immediately. This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats.
Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on US military forces. The US President Donald Trump, along with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who accompanied him on the trip, attended a signing ceremony for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities to be conveyed to Saudi Arabia, with immediate effect.