About Datarabia
Datarabia's Royal family, Business, and Islamic directories provide free searches for basic information, plus news and commentary.  Access to advanced search tools and more detailed information, such as biographic reports, and downloadable mailing lists are available by subscription.

  • The Saudi Royal Family Directory includes biographic and geneological information on over 5,000 members of the Saudi Arabian Royal family.
  • The Saudi Business Directory includes over 150,000 records of Saudi businesses with 79,000+ phone numbers, 50,000+ addresses,  40,000+ fax numbers, and 35,000+ company officers.  You can search the directory by commercial sector, city, or company name.  Advanced tools allow you to search for company officers, and download listings for bulk mailing and faxing. 
  • The Islamic Directory focuses on the important institutions and individuals that comprise Saudi Arabia's Muslim community. The directory includes biographic information on about 1,500 scholars and shaykhs.
Feature Article

Changing Family Dynamics: End of an Interlude?

As traditional assumptions about the place of consensus, seniority and compromise in domestic family politics are cast aside in the face of new realities, any discussion of succession must take into account the evolving dynamics. The more recent history of the Al Saud, in fact, and the impression drawn of of stability, practicality, and quiet competence, may, in the larger scheme, prove more the exception than the rule.

by Senior Analyst Talal Kapoor

The surprise elevation of Muhammad bin Salman, the king's son, to the position of crown prince is only the latest shock in a near-constant stream of head-turning episodes to take place in the secretive Kingdom. Where formerly the rate of social and political change was glacial, the pace now takes even seasoned observers by surprise. Hardly has the news of the latest upheaval had time to sink in, when a new round of turbulence strikes. Muhammad has been cast as an impetuous and brash, if brilliant, young upstart, unashamedly ambitious and unafraid to trample on anyone in his way. Few had him on their radar, though it was obvious from the favor shown by his father King Salman that Muhammad was on his way. From the beginning, he made a splash, launching into what has become an extended military campaign in Yemen and taking on an unprecedented amount of work across all sectors of government, whilst still overseeing, for all practical purposes, who had access to Salman. It came as no surprise that he ruffled more than a few feathers among the family, many of whom had been more than comfortable with the status quo. But his quick rise to prominence, then heir apparent, cemented his position and left naysayers to fume in silence.

Clearly, old paradigms no longer apply in succession matters. In theory, such a career trajectory as his was always possible; in practice there were always enough counterweights, in the form of disapproving family elders, competing factions, and the overall desire to preserve family unison and harmony, to prevent any one prince from concentrating too much power in his hands. King Saud, in the 1950s, famously attempted to set up a parallel line of succession through the strategic positioning of his sons, but was quickly shot down. Yet, the present system itself, with co-opted family branches and former rivals working towards a common goal, is a relatively new phenomenon, and a more encompassing view of the family history shows the decades in the aftermath of the Kingdom's founder, Ibn Saud, to have been something of an anomaly.

The early years of the First and Second Saudi States of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a story of murder, betrayal and darkest palace intrigue, set against the general backdrop of a less gentle time and the peculiar cultural environment of the bedouin tribes. The family was in almost constant conflict with the Ottoman empire, and faced challenges by rivals like the Al Rashid at home. Finally, after decades of internecine war, a pivotal moment came with the capture of Riyadh in 1902 by the young Abd al-Aziz (later known to the West as Ibn Saud), in an act of recklessness that saw him lead an impossibly ill-equipped and outnumbered band of men across the city walls in a charge on the garrison. According to legend, Ibn Saud himself rushed the garrison commander, nearly losing his life in the process. The ensuing years saw a gradual consolidation of Al Saud control in the Nafud area around Riyadh, but not without constant battles against both internal and family foes. The Ikhwan, a spearhead military force instrumental in his early success, were later crushed ruthlessly when they proved unmanageable. And a rival family branch, the Saud al-Kabir, was a constant thorn in his side, but Ibn Saud eventually found peace through co-optation (a marriage alliance through his sister Nura), bringing the competing line into the larger orbit of family rule.

Co-optation had been used as a means of bringing peace and family cooperation before, but none used it as effectively as Ibn Saud. The mechanisms he set out to ensure a smooth succession after his death were founded on the principle that various family divisions and petty rivalries were always to be put aside in the interests of the greater good, that being the perpetuation of family rule. Under later kings, the concept was given further precision and codified, but the essence remained the same.

Related articles: The End of Consensus: Uncharted Terrain?
For access to the rest of this article, as well as the Datarabia archive, subscribe to the Royal Family Directory. Subscribe
Page 2: shifting sands and changing fortunes
Royal Family News
Governor of Riyadh Region Performs Funeral Prayer on Soul of Prince Bandar bin Fahd
Prince Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman bin Abd al-Aziz, Acting Governor of Riyadh Region, performed here today following Asr prayer the funeral prayer on the soul of late Prince Bandar bin Fahd bin Sa'd at the Imam Turki bin Abdallah Mosque in Riyadh.

Prince Bandar bin Fahd Passes Away
The Royal Court today announced that Prince Bandar bin Fahd bin Sa'd has passed away. In a statement, the Royal Court said the funeral prayers for his soul will be performed on Thursday 25/11/1438 H. corresponding to August 17, 2017, after Asr (afternoon) regular prayers at Imam Turki bin Abdallah mosque in Riyadh.

Saudi King Orders Qatar Border Open to Haj Pilgrims
Riyadh:Saudi Arabiaâ??s King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz has ordered that the border with Qatar be reopened to allow pilgrims to carry out their annual hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, official state media said Thursday. The decision represents the first step forward since a diplomatic crisis began when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5.

Saudi Business News
King Salman's Jordan Visit in Pictures
In this album, Jordanian honor guards parade in a ceremony honoring King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. During the ceremony, Jordan's King Abdal

Universities under probe for financial discrepancies
Saudi Gazette report JEDDAH mdash; The Ministry of Education has uncovered financial discrepancies at some universities reaching millions of riyals and has formed a specialized committee to investigate the possible violations, Al-Watan daily reported. A source at the ministry reported that undocumented and unauth

Water supplied to Najran villages polluted, residents claim
nbsp; Saudi Gazette report nbsp; NAJRAN mdash; Residents of villages and small towns in Najran Province claim their water supplies are polluted and requested the Najran General Directorate of Water to fulfill its promise of providing potable water to the region, Al-Watan daily reported.

Islamic Community News
Saudi Arabia's religious authority says cinemas, song concerts harmful
Saudi Arabia's top religious authority has called cinemas and singing concerts harmful and corrupting, in a move that could complicate government efforts to introduce cultural reforms to the conservative kingdom. The comments by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, published on his website, said cinemas and round-the-clock entertainment could open the door to "atheistic or rotten" foreign films and encourage the mixing of the sexes.

Grand mufti backs conscription
Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Asheikh supports the idea of mandatory conscription that would see Saudi youths participate in military service. The grand mufti also wants legislation enacted requiring youths to be drafted into compulsory military training programs for a certain period of time.

Top Saudi cleric 'will not deliver' traditional sermon
Saudi Arabia's top cleric will not deliver a traditional Hajj sermon to pilgrims for the first time in 35 years, reports say. The speech from Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the grand mufti, marks the peak of the Muslim pilgrimage, which this year falls on Sunday.

Saudi Business Directory
Gain unlimited access to the data that can take your business to the next level:

  • 150,000 Saudi Businesses!
  • 5,000 Email Addresses!
  • Generate Custom Mail Lists!
  • News and Commentary Archives!

Succession Shock - The Trump Effect?

The King has replaced Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayif with his own son, Muhammad, the deputy crown prince and defense minister, in a move which, though not entirely unexpected, represents a seismic shift in the succession dynamic. Now, the position of deputy crown prince remains vacant - will Salman abdicate in favor of his son, and who will be next in line?

The End of Consensus: Uncharted Terrain?

The rapid promotion of King Salman's son, Muhammad, highlights a fundamental contrast between the king and his predecessor. In the matter of succession, owing to his position within the royal family and a different outlook resulting from that advantage, Salman can afford to downplay the role of consensus and effect a radical break from the past.

The Death of Prince Mish'al - Demise of the Allegiance Committee?

With the death of Prince Mish'al, Chairman of the Allegiance Commission - the formal entity established to decide succession matters - King Salman has an opportunity to reconstitute the body and restore its relevancy at a time of great uncertainty over the role of his favorite son, the controversial Muhammad, who serves as deputy crown prince. It is a course of action Salman is unlikely to take.

Hazards Ahead For Muhammad bin Salman: Trump To The Rescue?

The star of the deputy crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, will rise now that the Americans have thrown their weight behind Saudi efforts to reign in Iranian regional influence. President Trump, an unlikely ally, may ensure that Muhammad's place in the succession is secure.

An Asian Tour: Opportunity At Home?

King Salman's Asian tour left the Crown Prince in charge of affairs as his deputy. But while the king's visit to Indonesia garnered worldwide attention for the displays of wealth and the size of his retinue, Muhammad bin Nayif was presented with a golden opportunity to raise his profile at home.