伦敦—自沙特(Al Saud)家族1932年建立由家族名字命名的王国以来,沙特阿拉伯的权力便一直由波诡云谲的宫廷政治左右着。但这场内部斗争从未像现在那样对地区内外产生如此深远的影响。

这个世界最大的统治家族有22,000左右成员,彼此之间的竞争十分激烈——这也是沙特王国创始者、阿卜杜勒·阿齐兹·沙特(Abdul Aziz Al Saud)的安排。他意在确保他的43个儿子可以继续成为统治者。而如今阿卜杜拉(Abdullah)国王的继承策略也是如此。

沙特王子的地位由母亲所属部族以及他和其他男性皇室成员的结盟关系决定。从外部看,权力集团缔结的基础是嫡亲兄弟之间的结盟,其中最著名的便是“苏德里七兄弟”(Sudeiri Seven),他们都是阿卜杜勒·阿齐兹及其妻子西萨·苏德里(Hissah Al Sudeiri)所生。1975年,费萨尔(Faisal)国王被其侄子所刺杀,此后苏德里支系成为沙特王室的主宰者。苏德里兄弟中的老大法赫德(Fahd)执政23年,为沙特王国之最。

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