King Abdualziz and King Faisal
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King Abdualziz and his son King Faisal established the strong western diplomatic ties that still exist today. During their reigns the Arabic world went through turbulent periods with the western countries, but the Saudi kingdom remained a steadfast friend to the west, a trend that has been maintained decades later. King Abdualziz had a knack for frank simple discussions as opposed to diplomatic niceties. This earned him a lot of respect not only in the kingdom but also throughout the western world. His son may not have shared his father’s simplicity, but he was an innovative leader interested in seeing the Saudi kingdom modernized. This implied he had to maintain strong ties his father fostered with the western countries in order to take advantage of the technological advances. Both leaders maintained strong believe in their Bedouin culture and the Islamic religion .However, this did not limit their vision and understanding that western forms of education were the key ingredients in driving the state towards modernization. Thus they established higher education institutions modeled to the western education systems and sponsored to students to undertake further education abroad.
King Abdualziz had no formal education but he oversaw the sophisticated transformation of Saudi state from war torn territory. He laid the foundation steps that enabled the kingdom rise in terms of economic prosperity and infrastructure modernization. King Abdualziz helped rebuild the Saudi state by retaking the territory through a series of successful campaigns that saw him emerge as a courageous and daring fighter. This was before declaring Saudi Arabia a kingdom in 1932, and taking the reigns as the leader. The state was fragmented into many factions, headed by different tribal leaders. One of his greatest achievements was, therefore, to unify the warring factions and turn the territory into a unified kingdom. He was also responsible for establishing the administration infrastructure that helped the Saudi Arabian kingdom rise to its current successful state. Among his many qualities that made this possible was his courage, charisma and daring bravado that saw him start a successful campaign to retake the state with a force of less than one hundred men.King Abdualziz also embarked on rebuilding the kingdoms army from a handful of untrained men into a formidable force that saw it retake the former state’s territory and reclaim more surrounding areas. This implied that he had to turn to the British for weapons and cash beginning the state’s relationship with the western powers. His ambitions were to turn the Arabia peninsula into one territory under his rule (Wynbrandt, 2010). These plans failed since he had to rely on British’s help to arm his forces and for financial resources, and his ambitions did not align with their interest. He was, however, able to cultivate mutually beneficial relationship with the British that saw him get the resources to train and arm his forces.
The 1865 war with Ottomans Empire left the Saudi state in fragmented factions with no administration infrastructure or territorial borders. King Abdualziz had to rebuild the Saudi kingdom from the ground by uniting the existing fragmented factions and reestablishing the territorial borders (Wynbrandt, 2010). Therefore, among the biggest political problems that King Abdualziz had to contend with was lack of territorial borders for his kingdom. He had to fight a series of wars in order to reclaim the Saudi territory. In addition to this, since there was no legitimate government that was left after the war to governing the area, he had to establish the administration infrastructure for the kingdom from scratch. In other words, there were no established administration structures, governing the territory. Thus, the kingdom had to be established from the ground. This meant that the kingdom had no resources, since there was no government and oil was not yet discovered. This meant that there was no money to buy weapons for his forces, and he had to rely on help from other empires such as the British.
Before the establishment of the Saudi Arabia kingdom, the territory was under different tribal factions. This, therefore, meant that the kingdom lacked a common unifying administration. The major social problem that King Abdualziz faced was lack of established social infrastructure and institutions for his citizens. In order to establish this, King Abdualziz faced a lot of resistance from the different warring tribal leaders as well as their people, who wanted the status quo maintained. Their state had no basic infrastructure such as transportation networks, communication or institutions. From 1932 up to the end of his rule in 1953, King Abdualziz helped to establish all these basic development pre-requisites. He declared the Quran as the new constitution for the kingdom (Chalcraft, 2010). He established transportation networks, communication, administration institutions, agriculture and modern technology among many developing projects. The diplomatic ties with the western countries saw British and American companies licensed to explore oil in the kingdom, since they had the technology. It was during his tenure that Israel was annexed from the Palestinian territory. Saudi kingdom, unlike the most Arabic states, at the time did not sever its ties with the western nations. He was, therefore, considered by the west as a voice of peace in the region.
By declaring the Quran as the constitution for the kingdom, King Abdualziz established Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state. His rule was, therefore, governed by the Islamic principle, as stipulated in the Quran. However, Saudi Arabia, unlike her Arabic neighbors, such as Iran, Iraq and Turkey was less radical in application of the Islamic rule (Chalcraft, 2010). The king’s Islamic rule was moderate, and was considered a just, honest leader of high integrity who kept his word (Kechichian, 2001). Although the king was also considered to be responsive to his citizens’ problems, most of the oil revenues ended up in his family coffers. This ended up making his family one of the wealthiest in the world.
King Faisal’s rule saw the establishment of economic development plans that were seen as most responsible for the rapid economic growth that saw the kingdom rise to prominence. King Faisal, like his father, was strong and adherent of the Bedouin culture. He served as a minister in his father’s government and under the reign of his elder brother. This implies that by the time he took leadership, he was experienced in matters of the kingdom. Like his father, he maintained the western diplomatic ties, although he was a strong supporter of the Islamic ties. In addition, he also embraced modernization despite his strong ties with traditions; a factor that helped the kingdom become industrialized and developed rapidly. He oversaw the establishment of the first girls’ school in the kingdom, and an Islamic organization that was tasked with strengthening ties with other Islamic countries. He was also a strong believer in education and his government continued to put education on the forefront of their development agenda. During his leadership, the Arabic region was rocked by a number of wars with Israel and King Faisalstrongly advocated for peaceful resolutions to the arising issues in the region (Kechichian, 2001). He, however, is considered responsible for the 1971 world energy crisis for withdrawing Saudi Arabia oil from the world market; causing the world prices to drastically increase. He was strongly committed to the interest of Saudi Arabia, and those of the Arabic region. Unlike his father, however, King Faisal had resources to develop the kingdom since oil was already discovered, and the state had a lot of resources from the oil revenues.
King Abdualziz leadership and that of his son King Faisal had several similarities that include both leaders, embracing technology development. During his tenure, King Abdualziz laid the foundation for modernization of Saudi kingdom from a failed state, and his son oversaw his father’s development agenda prosper. During his reign, he established strong ties with the western countries that grew even stronger during his son’s reign. These are some of the factors that have seen Saudi Arabia prosper into a modern moderate state. In addition they were both strong advocates of Arabic unity and sponsored organizations to further these interests. In the process they gained the respect and years of the regions leaders and people ensuring that Saudi’s weigh on Arabic affairs become crucial and influential. This implies that the two leaders were strong allies of the western countries.
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