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The new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the half-brother of King Abdullah, who died in his early 90s from complications from pneumonia, is expected to rule with a more Wahhabist-oriented religious bent and concentrate on limiting cautious political reforms started by Abdullah. Salman is also expected to devote his energies to increasing Saudi national security.
Salman’s devotion to Saudi security is hypocritical at best due to his past support for Al Qaeda, including some of the individuals implicated in the 9/11 attack on the United States.
In 2006, Saudi democratic opposition leaders in Britain fingered Salman, the then-governor of Riyadh province, as providing material assistance to Al Qaeda forces operating in Afghanistan before and after 9/11. The opposition revealed that Al Qaeda members routinely traveled through Riyadh on their way to Pakistan and then to Taliban-ruled regions of Afghanistan. These Saudi insiders also reported that Salman’s governor’s office arranged for cash payments, hotels, and air fares for the Al Qaeda members.