Fanack Home / Saudi Arabia / History of Saudi Arabia from Past to Present / King Khalid

King Khalid

King Faisal was succeeded by his half brother and Crown Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz (born 1913). Suffering from heart disease, from the beginning of his reign he worked closely together with his half brother and Crown Prince Fahd bin Abdulaziz (born 1923). However, in important decisions the King had the final say.

King Khalid
King Khalid

During his reign, the Saudi economy boomed due to ever increasing oil revenues. There was a special focus on agriculture, while the foundations were laid for the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu – nowadays important centres of economic activity. The Kingdom’s Third Development Plan with a planned budget of USD 250 billion was implemented starting in May 1980. Saudi Arabia took a strong position against the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. It broke off its diplomatic relations with Egypt and joined economic sanctions against the country. Much to the chagrin of its US ally – the sponsor of the Camp David Accords.

A year later, in 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Iran caused a huge upset. It not only shook up the Persian Gulf region and beyond, it was also feared that it would have political consequences for Saudi Arabia’s oppressed and deprived Shiite community. Acts of resistance remained however limited.

Seizure of the Mecca Mosque

A more imminent threat was posed in November 1979 after five hundred radical Saudi Wahhabi armed rebels took over the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca in an act of resistance against the Saudi leadership, whom they accused of straying from the right path. It took the Saudi security forces, assisted by French military specialists, two weeks (20 November 20 to 4 December 1979) to retake the Mosque. The surviving rebels were tried and beheaded.

After the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran War in 1980, Saudi Arabia realigned itself with its Western allies and played an important role in supporting Iraq – financially as well as logistically.

King Khalid died of an heart attack on 13 June 1982 at the age of 69.

Further Reading

Saudi Arabia was established in 1932 by King Abdulaziz Al Saud – usually referred to as Ibn Saud – after thirty year...
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has its roots in the early civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula, which played an important...
The siege of the Grand Mosque came as a huge shock to the political system, both in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. A...

We would like to ask you something …

Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.

The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.

In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.

To run such a website is very expensive. With a small donation, you can make a huge impact. And it only takes a minute. Thank you.