Saudi king 'losing mental ability'
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
Saudi Arabia's ailing monarch has reportedly experienced a major setback in his recovery process, showing signs of mental deterioration.Citing Western intelligence sources, the US daily World Tribune said on Friday that the 86-year-old Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud was suffering from back and heart ailments as well as signs of dementia.
The king has been recovering from two operations in the United States in late 2010.
The news came after last Thursday's rumors about his death, which was only followed by an increase in the price of oil.
Saudi opposition sources announced that Abdullah has died on February 9 at his home in Morocco. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal, however, said on the following day that the monarch was in 'excellent shape.'
The intelligence sources said Abdullah's medical condition had deteriorated sharply over the last few days. "He has suffered a major medical setback," said one intelligence source, stressing that he was not in danger of imminent death.
King Abdullah tried to rally US support for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's continued stay in power despite a popular Revolution in Egypt, urging the removal of the 30-year-long Egyptian leader's regime.
There are unconfirmed reports that he began fitting while talking on the phone with US President Barack Obama regarding the fate of Mubarak, who is a close friend of King Abdullah.
"These efforts certainly didn't help his health and probably harmed recovery," the source said.
Mubarak handed power over to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces on Friday, giving in to 18 straight days of pro-democracy demonstrations.
After the victory of the Egyptian Revolution, similar demonstrations began in Arab countries including, Saudi Arabia's neighbors Yemen and Jordan.