Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz (äbdŏlˈlä ĭbˈən ăbdŏlˈ ăzēzˈ) [key], 1924–, king of Saudi Arabia (2005–), b. Riyadh. Like his predecessor, King Fahd, he is a son of Saudi Arabia's founder, Ibn Saud, but by a different wife. In 1962 he was appointed deputy defense minister and also commander of the Saudi National Guard, a post he still holds. Named second deputy prime minister in 1975, he became crown prince and first deputy prime minister on Fahd's accession to the throne in 1982. Since the 1970s he has worked to modernize the kingdom's economy and been active as a diplomat. After the king suffered a stroke in 1995, Abdullah became Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler. A traditionalist, Arab nationalist, and active supporter of the Wahhabi form of Islam, he nonetheless has introduced a number of cautious governmental reforms and cracked down on militants following terrorist attacks in 2003. Abdullah has also sought to balance strong ties with other Arab and Muslim countries with good relations with the United States and European nations.
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