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Photos: Qaddafi's end

Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters hold what they claim to be the gold-plated gun of ousted Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi at the site where the latter was allegedly captured in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte on October 20, 2011. A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) commander had told AFP that Kadhafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded.

 

Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters gather outside large concrete pipes where ousted Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi was allegedly captured in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte on October 20, 2011. An NTC commander had told AFP that Kadhafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded.

 

A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter looks through a large concrete pipe where ousted Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi was allegedly captured, with a dead loyalist gunmen in the foreground, in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte on October 20, 2011. A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) commander had told AFP that Kadhafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded. Arabic graffiti in blue reads: 'This is the place of Kadhafi, the rat.. God is the greatest.'

 

An image captured off a cellular phone camera shows the arrest of Libya's strongman Moamer Kadhafi in Sirte on October 20, 2011. A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) commander had told AFP that Kadhafi was captured as his hometown Sirte was falling, adding that the ousted strongman was badly wounded.

PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

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What gerontocracy looks like

The image above is from the Saudi Press Agency's official website, and shows King Abdullah convalescing after back surgery - his third in less than a year.

The men sitting around his bed represent the upper echelons of the Saudi royal family. From left to right, the pictures shows four of the king's brothers: Prince Bandar, who is seen as something  of a recluse; Prince Mishal, the chairman of the Allegiance Council; Prince Mitab, who served as minister of municipal affairs before resigning for health reasons; and the hale and hearty Prince Nayef, who appears to be the only one of this bunch able to get around without a cane or wheelchair. Nayef is currently serving as interior minister, and is second in line for the throne.

Though nary a gray hair appears on these royals' heads, the current generation of Saudi leaders' ability to guide events in the kingdom is clearly coming to a close. At a time when Saudi Arabia is contending with a resurgent Iran, domestic uprisings throughout the Arab world, and messy interventions in the Yemen and Bahrain, a leadership change will undoubtedly be felt across the Middle East.

And, of course, it's not only the Persian Gulf that must brace for the effects of Saudi Arabia's graying leadership (presumably, at least, beneath the dye). "The fate of the global economy is in the hands of these guys," FP managing editor Blake Hounshell tweeted. Scary thought.

(Many thanks go to Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow Simon Henderson, the author of "After King Abdullah: Succession In Saudi Arabia," for pointing out this photo.)