King, Saudi Arabia
The absolute monarch of the desert kingdom controls 20% of the world’s known oil reserves and guards Islam’s holiest cities. The Arab Spring didn’t shake the ruling family’s control of the kingdom, but out-of-control youth unemployment remains a threat. Aging Abdullah lost his second heir apparent in 2 years when his brother, Crown Prince Nayef, died in June; he’s been replaced by another brother, 76-year-old Crown Prince Salman, the former governor of Riyadh.
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