Biography of Ibn Saud IV (1902-1969)

King of Saudi Arabia born in Kuwait on January 15, 1902 and died in Athens (Greece) on February 23, 1969. He was the son of Ibn Saud III, which was succeeded on the throne of Arabia in 1953, since he held until 1964. Despite its great influence in the Islamic world, its close relations with Western countries, especially the United States, earned him the enmity of many Governments of the Arab countries.

He was educated in Kuwait, where his father was exiled. In 1933, a year of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was proclaimed Crown Prince. At the head of the Saudi troops defeated the Yemenis in the campaign of 1934. In 1939 his father Ibn Saud III appointed him Commander in Chief of the armed forces and Viceroy of Hedjaz. When his father established the institution of the Council of Ministers at the beginning of 1953, for the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud IV became the President of the same. In September the King appointed him Chief of the military forces of the police. He ascended to the throne in November 1953 with the support of his brothers, after the death of his father. One of his first decisions was to appoint his brother Faisal Crown Prince. He continued with the modernization program of the country started by his father and created the ministries of trade, education and health. It put special effort to strengthen the educational system.

Despite this Western appearance that gave his Government, his reign was characterized by an autocratic and personalistic cutting power, and the country remained mired in a near-feudal regime. It strengthened the bonds of friendship with the West and took a series of measures to facilitate the work of the oil companies. His regime was sustained thanks mainly to the high income generated by the extraction of oil, which in turn allowed him to amass a considerable personal fortune, which the world richest became the man. It adopted a form of sumptuous living, he held until his death. During their movement was accompanied by a large harem and an Entourage consisting of more than 150 people. When, in 1956, broke out the Suez Canal Crisis, Saud showed its full support to Egypt, breaking relations with France and the United Kingdom, as well as blocking the delivery of oil to both countries.

However, the arrival of money complicated management structure, which made it impossible to be directly controlled by the King as had happened in the Kingdom until then. The country became mired in a deep internal crisis, since the King was unable to solve the problems facing the country. Its mismanagement plunged the country into economic disaster. In 1957 he put an end to separate the Hedjaz region administration. That same year he completed the construction of the new Palacio Real de Nasriya, where settled. Also in 1957, he made his first State visit to United States, country that pledged to allow that to continue using Dharan air base, in Exchange for the dispatch of instructors and war material. His old friendship with the Egyptian leader Nasser broke, and began a series of trips around the world in order to replace Egypt as the leading Arab power. His enmity with Egypt led him to prepare a plot against Egyptian President; in this way, he tried to avoid the creation by Syria and Egypt in the United Arab Republic. The failure of the plot against Egyptian dignitary caused him to lose much of their support in the Court in Riyadh.

A disease plunged you into almost total blindness, so it ceded to his brother Faysal in 1960 the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The new head of Government took over full control of foreign policy and Home Affairs. It established a more austere administration and lamented how old his brother waste, which had caused a dangerous inflation. However, to avoid clashes with the King, announced that the sovereign continued preserving its authority and that he, as head of Government, would remain loyal to his brother. Ibn Saud Faysal appointed Minister of defence, charge that the son of the sovereign, Fahed had occupied until then in 1959.

The decision of Faysal put an end to the censorship of press bothered to Ibn Saud, who, fearful of losing his absolute power, returned to assume all the powers in 1960. Shortly after recovering the power gave new samples from its absolutism, when he forced the Council of Ministers to accept the granting of Jidda refinery for one of his sons. Before the protests that broke out in the Court, in June 1960, it convened a meeting of the Royal family, in which the spheres of influence of each Member of the family left established. Shortly after he accepted the resignation of his brother. During 1961 he reaffirmed its power directly assuming domestic politics with his traditional heavy-handed control. His actions led to his brother Talal and several members of the Royal family, that they had attacked the feudal system, to flee the country.

He tried to reconcile with his brother in October 1962, when he appointed him Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. His illness forced him to spend much of the year 1963 abroad to receive different medical treatments. His absence made domestic opposition to rise considerably. One of his last appearances as King was his participation in the Cairo Conference, at the beginning of 1964. Before his inability to lead the Government, their brother Faysal, who was fond of a major modernization of the country, supported by large part of the Royal family, took advantage of a new stay abroad for health reasons, staged a coup and overthrew him in March 1964. Ibn Saud was definitively Dethroned in November 1964, when Faisal was proclaimed King of Saudi Arabia by a Council of ulema and Emirs. The dethroned monarch accepted the invitation of one of its most ancient enemies, the Egyptian President Nasser, and settled in Cairo. Subsequently, he moved to live in the town of Cavouri, who was in the vicinity of Athens in Greece. He died in 1969 because of a heart attack. One of the last absolute monarchs of the East disappeared with his death.

JLGC