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October 7th, 2004
The Saudi Question
Who's Who: The House of Saud: Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

Prince Khalid is best known as the commander of the joint Arab forces during the first Gulf War. Though he’s had an impressive military career, some journalists insist that Prince Khalid was actually a figurehead leader who took his cues from U.S. general, Norman Schwarzkopf. Khalid himself painted a more dynamic picture of his role during the conflict in his memoir DESERT WARRIOR: A PERSONAL VIEW OF THE GULF WAR, the first book published by a member of the royal family.

Prince Khalid tendered his resignation soon after the end of the Gulf War, a move that lead to a flurry of speculation concerning the inner workings of the House of Saud. One explanation for his resignation held that Khalid was a victim of his own ambition. It was rumored that after the end of hostilities, Khalid made a request to King Fahd that he be promoted to the rank of military chief of staff. Khalid’s self-promotion and high visibility (he was trailed by a documentary film crew during the Gulf War) may have been distasteful to some high-ranking royal family members, and King Fahd may have balked at the young prince’s brazen request. Furthermore, leadership positions within the House of Saud are secured through close personal relationships, and Khalid’s connections to King Fahd were not perceived as strong.

Since his resignation, Khalid has largely kept out of the press. Though he now works for his father, Prince Sultan, as deputy minister of defense, it remains to be seen how Khalid will fare once he and his peers begin jockeying for power.

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