The report said the Saudi king "cuts an increasingly pathetic figure"
and "sees danger all around him." Henderson cited disagreements between
Abdullah and U.S. President Barack Obama on such issues as the Shi'ite
revolt in Bahrain and the rebellions in Libya and Syria.
"The man King Abdullah would like to see go to hell is Libya's Moammar
Gadhafi, who once tried to assassinate him — but Obama will not oblige,"
the report said. "In neighboring Bahrain, King Abdullah views the majority
Shiites as being untermenschen at best, Iranian agents at worst. Now, the
king sees Syrian President Bashar Assad under increasing threat. The Saudi
leader has a soft spot for Syria."
As a result, the report said, U.S.-Saudi relations have reached a crisis
point. Saudi Arabia was said to have reduced crude oil production in March amid the lack of output from Libya.
On April 12, Abdullah was said to have aired his differences with U.S.
National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. The report said their meeting was
attended by Saudi National Security Council secretary-general Prince Bandar
Bin Sultan, a former ambassador to Washington.
Bandar was identified as a new confidante of Abdullah and sent on
missions to China, India and Pakistan this year. The report said Bandar's high
profile could signal the king's intent to restore the NSC chief as the next
Saudi ambassador to Washington.
Henderson said Abdullah cut short his convalescence in Morocco despite
opposition from his physicians. The Saudi king was said to have been alarmed
by the Arab revolt in the Middle East as well as the growing threat from Iran.
"His notional successor, Crown Prince Sultan, is a vegetable, his
appearance genial but his mind is shot to shreds," the report said.
The most likely successor of Abdullah has been identified as Deputy
Prime Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz. Henderson said that Nayef, also
interior minister, has left Saudi Arabia for a secret location.
"The most likely next king is Interior Minister Prince Nayef, who runs
the kingdom on a day-to-day basis but is currently vacationing abroad at an
undisclosed destination, apparently sure of his power base within the House
of Saud and the backing of the kingdom's religious conservatives," the
report, titled "Is the House of Saud dumping Obama?" said.