In an obvious attempt to prevent the kind of anti-government rebellion sweeping across the Middle East, the king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, has proposed increased benefits for his subjects, state television reported.
During the King’s three-month sojourn, huge protests and turmoil have permanently altered the political establishment of his neighboring states.
The royal largesse will include additional funds for pay increases, job-creation, housing, studying abroad, social security as well loan forgiveness. State workers will see their wages rise by 15 percent. The total package is valued at $10.7-billion.
Unlike other Arab countries, Saudi Arabia has been largely devoid of unrest and the king remains a relatively popular leader.
The king is the only pillar of stability in the region now, stated an article in the English-language daily Arab News. He is the assurance of orderly progress... in the Arab world as a whole.
However, the faltering health of the 86-year-old monarch has led to speculation and worry about his plan of succession, since the likely heirs are also at an advanced age. Crown Prince Sultan – the king’s half-brother, has ruled in his absence, but he is also in his eighties and reportedly in poor health.