Saudi Arabia's 90-year-old King Abdullah yesterday appointed his half- brother Moqren, 69, as the next heir to the throne of the world's largest exporter of crude oil.The decision was announced in a royal decree. The decree did not mention Prince Salman, who is also Defence Minister of the strategic Gulf state.
According to sources current Crown Prince Salman, 79, was sick and may decide not to claim the throne because of his ill health. The king made public his decision on the eve of a visit by US President Barack Obama, who is expected in Riyadh this afternoon.
Saudi Arabia officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area (approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula) and the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria). It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen in the south. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast. Before the inception of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, modern-day Saudi Arabia consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of eastern Arabia (Al-Hasa) and southern Arabia ('Asir). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdulaziz bin Saud (known for most of his career as Ibn Saud) in 1932. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam.
world's second largest oil reserves and the world's sixth largest natural gas reserves, the Kingdom is categorized as a high income economy with 19th highest GDP in the world. Being the world's largest oil exporter is the basis for its position as one of the 20 most powerful countries in the world, it also ranked as a regional power and maintains regional hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula. It is a member of Gulf Cooperation Council, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, G-20 major economies and OPEC. Its economy is largely backed by its oil industry, which accounts for more than 95% of exports and 70% of government revenue, although the share of the non-oil economy has been growing recently.