Eldon Rutter on Ibn Saud
Eldon Rutter on Ibn Saud
"His personal ambition is boundless, but is tempered by great discretion and caution. He is a relentless enemy while opposition lasts, but in the hour of victory is one of the most humane Arabs in history. As for his system of rule he keeps his own counsel even among his relatives, and essentially his rule is absolute."

"The following afternoon we met King Ibn Saud in the council chamber. He was all I had expected, standing before us, magnificent in his Arab robes. Despite the cane he was now forced to use, he appeared statuesque, even taller than his reported six feet six inches and broad of shoulder and chest. His voice was unforgettably deep and resonant as he shook hands with us and acknowledged each introduction. His eyes were thoughtful behind steel-rimmed spectacles, and his smile reminded me of Badawi’s description of it as sincere, wide, and friendly."

"The King’s face was wide and interesting, his expression often remote as he absently stroked his chin whiskers, waiting for the translator to finish. His manner was gracious and informal, and he put us at our ease, as my Arab friend had assured me he would. At the same time, his personal magnetism seemed almost to cast a spell over the entire room. I had an impression of immense, leashed power beneath that bland, bearded countenance, and it seemed to me that of all his candor and kindliness, he must remain something of a mystery, this Lion of the Desert, to outsiders like us from the other side of the world."

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