A King Loyal to Family and Country: King Salman Known For A Number Of Years Now As The ''Prince Of Loyalty''
26 February 2015
By Tariq Alhomayed
In 2010, while Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz—then Prince Salman—was
leaving a dinner reception held for him in Norway by the country's minister
for higher education, a crowd of people, including Norwegians and members of
the Arab and Muslim communities in Norway, gathered outside where the event
took place in order to greet him.
As King Salman was waving to the cheering and applauding crowd, two young men
shouted, ''Prince Salman, Prince Salman!'' to get his attention. He
immediately stopped and turned to see who they were and they quickly headed
toward his car, whereupon they were stopped by his security entourage. But
the then-Prince Salman asked his bodyguards to let the two men be, and they
were both able to greet him and shake his hand. ''I'm from Somalia, I just
wanted to shake hands with you,'' one of them said, as King Salman took his
hand and greeted him warmly. ''I'm an Iraqi, welcome Your Majesty,'' the
other said, whereupon King Salman replied by saying that he hoped the
situation in Iraq would improve, to cheers and applause from the crowd.
This incident shows us King Salman as a consummate statesman even before he
took on any official position—as he would later do when becoming Minister of
Defense and Crown Prince. King Salman is a pillar of the Saudi state who has,
from the era of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the modern state of
Saudi Arabia, until the present day, been at the side of all the country's
kings. During this period, he was tasked with political missions and was
active throughout the region and even beyond. Throughout all the time I have
had the honor of accompanying His Majesty on various occasions—for almost
nine years now—he has always spoken with the utmost respect about his brother
kings, and it is clear there is nothing he hates more than ingratitude.
For this reason, King Salman has been known for a number of years now in
Saudi Arabia as the ''Prince of Loyalty,'' a title he most definitely merits
through his unflinching loyalty to his brother kings and princes. He was even
at the side of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, may God rest his soul, throughout
his illness, not leaving his bedside until the time came and his soul
And so today we have before us King Salman, the King of Loyalty. Through his
desire to develop, reform and refine his country, Saudi Arabia, he called on
Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz to become Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime
Minister. He has also taken the Kingdom to a new era, appointing for the
first time one of its founder King Abdulaziz's grandsons as heir to the
throne: Prince Muhammad Bin Naif is now Deputy Crown Prince and Second Deputy
Prime Minister, the first outside the sons of King Abdulaziz to be named in
the line of succession.
King Salman's loyalty to his family is proof of his loyalty to this Kingdom
and his belief in protecting and continually developing it for future
generations. How can he not be, when he sees himself as a protector of the
Kingdom's history, when he regularly and proudly regales others with the
story of how the Kingdom was founded, as I and others have seen on many
occasions? Indeed, the world knows that King Salman—the well-informed
intellectual, the tireless man of the people—is a consummate statesman,
experienced in the political sphere and possessing a clear vision. Because of
this the world is optimistic after his ascension to the throne, with full
expectations that Saudi Arabia will continue on its course as a regional and
world leader throughout his Kingship.
Tariq Alhomayed is the
Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that
position. He holds a BA degree in Media studies from King Abdul Aziz
University in Jeddah, and has also completed his Introductory courses towards
a Master's degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is
based in London.