Saudi King Salman hospitalized in Riyadh

The 84-year-old monarch suffered from gallbladder inflammation, according to a statement from the royal court.

al-monitor Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud stands during the arrival of US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015. Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images.

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saudi royal family, king salman, saudi succession, saudi-iraqi relations, mbs, mohammed bin salman

Jul 20, 2020

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has been admitted to the hospital over an inflamed gallbladder, the royal court said Monday, further fueling speculation about the aging monarch’s health. 

King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh administered "some medical tests due to cholecystitis,” read a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. No further information about the 84-year-old king's condition was given. 

Salman, the custodian of Islam's holiest sites, has ruled Saudi Arabia since January 2015 following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. With the king’s health said to be in decline, his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has taken on an increasingly greater role in day-to-day affairs. 

Often called MBS, the 34-year-old heir to the throne and de facto ruler has sought to portray himself on the world stage as a modernizer. While MBS has granted women more rights and introduced various reforms, his ruthless and continued crackdown on critics, including an unprecedented purge of Saudi elites and arrests of female activists, has undercut the reputation he so carefully cultivated. 

Both MBS and the king were scheduled to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Monday. The new Iraqi leader’s trip to the kingdom has been postponed, the Saudi foreign minister tweeted. 

"In recognition of the importance of the visit and a desire to make it succeed, our wise leadership in coordination with our brothers in Iraq has decided to postpone the visit," wrote Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

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