Preparations are underway in Saudi Arabia for King Fahd’s funeral today. His death was announced yesterday. While the mood is subdued, there is no official mourning period in line with Saudi Arabia’s strict Wahabi version of Islam. During his 23-year reign King Fahd attempted to strengthen his own Islamic credentials, assuming the title of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the sacred sites at Mecca and Medina. The throne was immediately assumed by Crown Prince Abdullah, who has in effect been running the country since Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995. He is expected to maintain Saudi Arabia’s oil policy and close ties with the West. US officials said King Fahd’s death will have little effect on relations with Washington. During his time as de facto ruler, Abdullah built up a close relationship with President George W Bush and other Western leaders. Meanwhile tributes to the late king flooded in from around the world. President Jacques Chirac said Fahd had defended regional stability while the British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised his “vision and leadership”. The funeral will be shown live on EuroNews this afternoon.