|Left to Right: Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz,|
King Abdullah and late Crown PrinceSultan bin Abdul Aziz who died last year.
Media reports say a number of high ranking US political and security officials have recently visited Riyadh to follow the political developments in the country.
Saudi Arabia's ruler King Abdullah, 87, and Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, 79, both suffer poor health. The key ministerial and security posts are also occupied by the sons of the kingdom's founder King Abdul Aziz, all of whom are in their 70s or 80s with health problems.
It is believed that Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal, Director General of intelligence agency (Al Estekhbarat Al A'amah) Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz and the chairman of National Security Council Bandar bin Sultan are now running the country.
Nayef is currently in Switzerland for medical tests. It is believed that Nayef, who is also the interior minister, is suffering from diabetes, bone disease and cancer.
King Abdullah has also undergone several surgeries in recent years.
The advanced age and failing health of King Abdullah and of his half-brothers in line to the throne have raised concerns about the future of the oil-rich country in the face of anti-government protests over the persisting brutal crackdown on the Saudi people.