Saudi King Becomes Second Aging Gulf Leader to be Hospitalized
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, 84, has been hospitalized with a gall bladder inflammation, the state news agency SPA reported on Monday. He joins on the region’s sick list Kuwait’s emir, 91-year-old Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabar al-Sabah, who underwent surgery for an unspecified ailment on Sunday, having been hospitalized the day before. Both lead countries that rely almost exclusively on carbon energy resources for income and suffer from spiraling debt due to historically low oil prices, mostly due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has hit both nations hard. Salman’s health is closely monitored by analysts. He apparently will be the last leader among the sons of the founder of Saudi Arabia, which is one of the world’s largest oil-producers and boasts one of the region’s largest economies. Waiting in the wings is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who, in playing a major role in running the kingdom, has already generated numerous controversies. They include his handling of the war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, his policies on domestic human rights, a recent economic war with Russia that contributed to the deep dip in oil prices, and the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.