Tuesday, August 02, 2005

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

King Fahd, known as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was one of around 48 sons of King Abdul Aziz, founder of modern Saudi Arabia. Under his rule the kingdom has had to absorb the huge cost of the 1990 Gulf War, the Impact of falling oil prices and the rise of extremism

1923: Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud born in Riyadh

1932: Desert state Kingdom founded and oil discovered

1950s-60s: Gains reputation as a bon vivant

1953: Become nation’s first Minister of Education. Expands school system from 30,000 students to over 3.2m. Builds seven universities

1962: Appointed Minister of the Interior

1967: Becomes Second Deputy Prime Minister. Arab sentiment against U.S. support for Israel during Six-Day War spills over into criticism of ruling family.

1970s: Oil boom – as home to world’s greatest oil reserves petro-dollars flood in. Future king amasses personal fortune estimated at $18 billion.

1973-1974: Oil embargo against nations that support Israel during Arab-Israeli War triggers crisis in U.S.-Saudi relations.

Mar 1975: Becomes Crown Prince when his brother Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz is proclaimed King.

1979: Revolution in Iran leads to fears of Islamic upheaval spreading to Saudi Arabia. King Fahd supports Baghdad in Iraq’s war with Iran.

1981: Proposes peace plan to seek end to Arab-Israeli conflict. Plan becomes basis of Fez Declaration

June 13, 1982: Crown Prince Fahd succeeds Khalid as fifth King of Saudi Arabia

1986: Takes title khadimal-Haramayn al-Sharifayn-Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques – to indicate his protection of the sacred sites at Mecca and Medina

1990: Iraq invades neighbouring Kuwait. King Fahd invites U.S.-led forces temporarily onto Saudi soil.

1990s: After Gulf War American forces do not leave, stirring up widespread popular resentment against United States. Estimated $60 billion cost of Gulf War to Saudi Arabia forces ailing monarch to introduce unpopular austerity measures

1995: King Fahd suffers a stroke cedes much of his power to his half-brother, Crown Princes Abdullah.

1996: Bomb attack on U.S. desert headquarters at Dhahran kills 19 service members

2001: Revelation that 15 of 19 terrorists in 9/11 attacks were Saudi nationals deals sledgehammer blow to U.S.-Saudi relation. Saudi government severs diplomatic relations with Taliban regime in Afghanistan

2003: Saudi government refuses to participate in U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. U.S. finally pulls troops out of Kingdom.

August 1, 2005: King Fahd dies. Crown Prince Abdullah succeeds as monarch.

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