Yesterday, Saudi King Abdullah passed away from pneumonia at age 90. Various U.S. officials released statements praising the King, whose country has a spotting human rights record.
Secretary of State John Kerry said it was a sad day and praised Abdullah, tweeting
King Abdullah was a man of wisdom & vision. US has lost a friend & Kingdom of #SaudiArabia, Middle East, and world has lost a revered leader— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) January 23, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden will lead the delegation to Saudi Arabia for funeral. Biden said the King's death is a "great loss" and
President Obama also released a statement, praising the King yesterday.
"As our countries worked together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” the president continued in a statement. “As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions. One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy."
Meanwhile, Amnesty International reports that the upcoming installment of flogging for Saudi blogger Raif Badawi will be postponed, as medical officials have judged him not able to "withstand" the latest round of 100 lashes. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes after Saudi clerics were offended by his writings. He is scheduled to get 100 lashes spread out over a 20 week period.