(Associated Press) — Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, the hard-line interior minister who spearheaded Saudi Arabia’s fierce crackdown crushing al-Qaida’s branch in the country after the 9/11 attacks and then rose to become next in line to the throne, has died. He was in his late 70s.
Nayef’s death unexpectedly reopens the question of succession in this crucial U.S. ally and oil powerhouse for the second time in less than a year. The 88-year-old King Abdullah has now outlived two designated successors, despite ailments of his own. Now a new crown prince must be chosen from among his brothers and half-brothers, all the sons of Saudi Arabia’s founder, Abdul-Aziz.