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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Press bids farewell to King Fahd
Newspapers in the Middle East examine the legacy of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia following his death earlier this week.

Some commentators lament the passing of a man they believe had a positive impact in the region. Others argue that with the old guard still in charge in the person of Abdullah, there will be little chance of real social and political reform.

And an Israeli editorial blames him for the rise of Islamic extremism.

King Fahd's departure does not turn a new page in the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The tranquil and smooth transfer of power affirms that continuity is one of the main features of the Kingdom.

Commentary in London-based pan-Arab al-Hayat

The departure of King Fahd is a moment of sadness. It is also a moment that has brought reassurance after power was transferred in record time. The feeling of stability and continuity for the people was necessary for trust and reassurance. The Saudis have lost their leader but their ship will sail amidst all these violent regional and international waves with determination to develop, build and complete the reform projects.

Commentary in London-based pan-Arab al-Sharq al-Awsat

He has left behind a record of achievements at the local and international level that has embedded him in the history, memory and existence of every Arab and Muslim.

Egypt's al-Ahram

He managed to achieve a qualitative leap in the economic and social life [of Saudi Arabia]... During the reign of King Fahd, God bless his soul, Saudi Arabia provided assistance to Arab states and to the Palestinian people, to enable them face the Israeli occupation and terrorism.

Syria's al-Thawrah

King Fahd has passed away as an individual, but he leaves a long record of gifts that will remain with us in the form of modern cities and the astonishing expansion of the two holy mosques.

Saudi Arabia's al-Riyadh

He was the shepherd of the process of reconstruction who scored unprecedented economic achievements. The nation has lost King Fahd, God bless his soul, but it has not lost his method, and his achievements which will remain.

Saudi Arabia's al-Watan

The custodian of the two holy mosques King Fahd Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, God bless his soul, has passed away. He has left in the hearts of his people a memory that will not pass away - a memory of a historic leader who managed to firmly establish his nation and homeland among the nations. He managed to save his people from the storms that have engulfed other nations. He created a nation led by well-developed and deeply rooted institutions.

Saudi Arabia's Ukaz

After a long struggle with disease, the Saudi monarch King Fahd has departed, leaving behind cultural, political and economic achievements. In the Palestinian sphere, we remember his initiative in the mid 80s which was the first real attempt to take peace initiatives away from the realm of fantasy to that of reality.

Palestinian al-Quds

After the cold war, America's diplomacy in the Middle East changed. Attacking Afghanistan and Iraq and establishing liberal governments in these two Islamic countries prove that the time of Fahd and Saddam has come to an end.

Iran's Sharq

Even though analysts describe the ascension of King Abdullah to the Saudi throne as a positive development, they are of the strong view that he will experience an eventful and tense reign. His biggest challenge will be to find a balance between the excessive traditionalism of Saudi society and the 21st Century need to modernize.

Iran News

The controls of the government in Saudi Arabia will remain in the hands of the first generation for some more time to come. Old, conservative and especially closed to social reforms.

Turkey's Sabah

He was... the world leader most responsible for creating the monstrous world of militant Islamism. Fahd's creation has come to plague not only the West but, like a Frankenstein run amuck, the Arab world, including his own kingdom.

Israel's Jerusalem Post

Alongside the family disputes that could in future undermine the stability of the Saudi regime, the kingdom is also having to deal with two severe fundamental problems - the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, coupled with unemployment; and the reform being demanded by liberal circles influenced by the United States. Thus far, Abdullah has done relatively well in manoeuvring around these pressures, but with the line to the throne becoming ever shorter, he may find himself facing a few more rebels from within his own house.

Commentary in Israel's Haaretz

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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