As Saudis came together on Friday to mourn King Abdullah’s death, King Salman, Abdullah’s half brother and handpicked successor moved to establish himself quickly as the Kingdom’s new leader, name his successor and promise a easy transition.
Early Friday, King Abdullah who was 90, died after being hospitalized since December with pneumonia.
Salman, who is 79 and the former minister of defense, was enthroned as the new king under an agreement amongst the royal family that controls the kingdom. Moqren a half brother of Abdullah was named crown prince.
King Salman in a speech that was nationally televised promised to continue the same polices of his predecessor. He told listeners his government would continue adhering to the policies, which Saudi Arabia has followed ever since it was first established.
However, he made reference in passing to the unrest and chaos plaguing parts of the region including the militant group Islamic State who are in possession of one third of Syria and Iraq.
The new King said that the Islamic and Arab nations are in need of cohesion and solidarity.
For over six decades, power has passed amongst the sons of the late King Abdul-Aziz, from one brother to another, since his 1953 death. However, members of that generation are now in the 70s and even 80s and are thinning.
After Moqren, the new King named Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as deputy crown prince. The interior minister is now the second in line to Saudi’s throne.
Mohammed is the first grandson of King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud that has been named as an heir.
Abdullah, the strength behind OPEC and an ally with the U.S. in the fight to quash al-Qaeda, entered into power after King Fahd his half-brother died in 2005.
However, he was the de facto leader of the kingdom since 1995 when his brother suffered a stroke that incapacitated him.
In a statement, President Barack Obama said it was with a great deal of respect that he expressed his personal condolences and the sympathies of all Americans to the family of the king and everyone in Saudi Arabia.