Exclusive: Saudi Crown Prince Sultan is dying
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 347 2 first disclosed May 2 that Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, America’s staunchest ally in the royal house, Minister of Defense and head of the Sudairi branch of princes, is dying of cancer at his villa in Geneva, Switzerland.
His brother, interior minister Prince Nayef, is standing by in Riyadh expecting to succeed him. And he will not have too long to wait before he reaches the throne. King Abdullah, at 85, is praised by Western analysts for the wise reforms he has introduced but some of the younger princes say he is no longer up to coping with the stresses and strains of his royal duties and most days he takes several hours off to rest.
Prince Nayef, the would-be king, who is roughly 75 years of age – a mere spring chicken on the Saudi royal geriatric scale – has managed to push his way to the front of the race for the throne despite his unpopularity. A scion of the Sudairi branch of the royal family, he is disliked for his bad temper, cantankerousness, hidebound opinions and close ties with the most extremist clerical circles.
Aged 83, Sultan contracted cancer many years ago. In late March, he moved to his palace in Rabat, Morocco, where Saturday, April 26, his condition took a turn for the worse. A special royal aircraft flew the Crown Prince to Geneva, Switzerland and handed him into the care of his regular Swiss doctors. There was nothing they could do at that point except place him in an induced coma to spare him pain.