Sheean, Vincent
January 1966
Foreign Affairs;Jan1966, Vol. 44 Issue 2, p304
The article evaluates Saudi Arabia King Faisal's accomplishments a year after his accession in 1964. He governed in reality during a considerable part of the reign of his older brother, whose aptitudes for government were limited. Islamic countries have never adhered to any strict doctrine of primogeniture or other legitimist ideas as known in the West. At different times and places different arrangements for the succession may be in favor, and the accidents of personality have always played a decisive part. King Faisal inherits this heritage of a great innovator who was also in some fundamental ways a preserver and defender of tradition. It is a combination not often found in action, and demands a variety of gifts not any more common among princes than in ordinary mortals. He built vast palaces and other public buildings beyond the claims of necessity. He does not appear to have perceived that any revenue, however large, has limits. Under his influence a semblance of cabinet government had grown up, although many of the ministers were members of the royal family and there is no parliament to which they could be responsible.


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