This is certainly not good for the powder keg that is the Middle East, especially when it comes to Iran and the recent collapse of the government in Yemen.
Saudi state TV says King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom has died. He was 90.
The TV station said Abdullah died Friday.
His expected successor is his 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman, who recently has taken on the ailingAbdullah’s responsibilities.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died early on Friday and his brother Salman became king, the royal court in the world’s top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam said in a statement carried by state television.
King Salman has named his half-brother Muqrin as his crown prince and heir.
“His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning,” said the statement.
Abdullah, thought to have been born in 1923, had ruled Saudi Arabia as king since 2006, but had run the country as de facto regent for a decade before that after his predecessor King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke.