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1969 Saudi Arabian coup d'état attempt
Part of the Cold War
Date June–July 1969
Location Saudi Arabia
Result Coup failed
Committee for the Liberation of Arabia Saudi Arabia Government of Saudi Arabia

Supported by;
United States United States
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Commanders and leaders
Col. Daoud Roumi
Col. Said al-Omari
Yusuf Tawwil
Saudi Arabia Faisal of Saudi Arabia
200-300 Officers and civilians

The 1969 Saudi Arabian coup d'état attempt was a failed coup d'état planned by numerous high-ranking members of the Royal Saudi Air Force that resulted in King Faisal ordering the arrest of hundreds of military officers, including some generals.[1][2] The arrests were possibly based on a tip from an American intelligence agency,[3] but the extent of the threat. A previous coup attempt had also occurred against King Faisal in 1966.[4]

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1950s and 1960s saw numerous coups d'état in the region. Muammar al-Gaddafi's coup that overthrew the monarchy in oil-rich Libya in 1969 was especially ominous for Saudi Arabia due to the similarity between the two sparsely-populated desert countries.[3] As a result, King Faisal built a sophisticated security apparatus, and cracked down firmly on dissent. As in all affairs, King Faisal justified these policies in Islamic terms. Early in his reign, when faced by demands for a written constitution for the country, King Faisal responded that "our constitution is the Quran."[5]

Plot[edit | edit source]

The plotters controlled some air force planes. Their plan was for these planes to bomb the Royal Palace in Riyadh, to kill the King and the other high ranking Princes who might succeed him. After the King and princes were dead, the plotters planned to announce the formation of the Republic of the Arabian Peninsula.[2]

Many of the conspirators were of Hijazi origin; there was an independent Kingdom of Hejaz, until it was annexed by the Saudis in 1925. Yusuf Tawwil, a Hijazi merchant, an acquaintance of Prince Fahd, and one of the key conspirators, was believed to hold Hijazi separatist beliefs. Others involved in the plot were Najdis or Sunnis from the Eastern Province.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Faisal ibn Abd al Aziz ibn Saud Biography. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Teitelbaum, Joshua, "A Family Affair: Civil-Military Relations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", p. 11.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Vassiliev, p. 371
  4. Judith Caesar,"Dissent in Saudi Arabia" The Christian Science Monitor, August 24, 1990.
  5. Official website of the Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense, [1] Archived 2014-11-06 at the Wayback Machine., quoting from the official Saudi government journal Umm Al-Qura Issue 2193, 20 October 1967.
  6. Abir, Mordechai (1993). Saudi Arabia: Government, Society and the Gulf Crisis. Routledge. p. 58. 

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