Saudi Arab

Fear of Uprising: Saudi King offers benefits

saudi_king_tensThe popular uprising in Middle East and North African Muslim countries has compelled the Saudi Arabia monarchical regime to announce the increase benefits to the citizens of the Royal Kingdom.

According to the Shiite News Correspondent, The Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has announced increased benefits for his citizens, as he  heads home after months abroad getting medical treatment.

There will be extra funds for housing, studying abroad and social security, according to state television.

King Abdullah has been away from the country for three months, during which time mass protests have changed the political landscape of the Middle East.There have been few demonstrations in Saudi Arabia.

The streets in Riyadh have been decorated with national flags for the return of the king. The 86-year-old left for New York on 22 November and had two operations in New York to repair spinal vertebrae and a herniated disc.

After a period of convalescence at his New York home, the king flew to Morocco on 22 January and has been recuperating there ever since.

By that time, Tunisia’s president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had become the first leader in the region to be ousted after weeks of mass protests – and he had fled to Saudi Arabia.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak was the next to go.

Health speculation

King Abdullah’s health has been the subject of intense speculation, especially since the men tipped to succeed him are also elderly.

His half-brother Crown Prince Sultan – who is also in his eighties and has been in poor health – has been in charge in his absence.

The state on Saudi Arabia’s eastern border has seen over a week of protests and the Bahraini authorities were criticised internationally for their initial crackdown on demonstrators.

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