Published: Thu, June 22, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

KSA: Mohammed bin Nayef relegated, Mohammed bin Salman becomes Crown Prince

KSA: Mohammed bin Nayef relegated, Mohammed bin Salman becomes Crown Prince

Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, congratulated King Salman and Prince Mohammad in a cable to the Saudi leadership and called for "brotherly relations" between the two countries.

The reshuffle on Wednesday (21 June) is seen by some as a significant move that can bring about economic changes in the Kingdom, which is highly dependant on oil revenues.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, removing the country's counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the royal line of succession.

Both decisions were indicative of a far more confrontational Saudi foreign policy, a break from the consensual style of Gulf Arab policymaking favoured by previous generations of dynastic rulers, as the Sunni Muslim kingdom moved to act aggressively to counter the influence of Shi'ite power Iran. The prince obtained a Bachelor's degree in Law and worked in the private sector until 2009, when he started working as a special consultant to his father who, at the time, was the governor of Riyadh Province. Two years later, at at the age of 30, he became the Kingdom's minister of defence after his father became the new king.

But at 51, the "Prince of Darkness", a moniker he won through his tight control of Saudi Arabia's spy services, does not appear a man ready for retirement.

Prince Mohammed has had a rapid ascent to power: little more than two years ago he was nearly unknown in the kingdom, but he quickly came to be regarded as the power behind its throne.

Jury still deliberating in case of officer who shot Castile
Yanez claimed that Castile was reaching for his gun, although prosecution argued that Yanez acted too hastily in the exchange. Dayton drew criticism in the days after the shooting for suggesting that Castile might not have been shot if he was white.

He is the main champion of the kingdom's Vision 2030 reform plan which aims to bring social and economic change to the oil-dependent economy of a country where women's rights are among the most restricted in the world. He will continue in his position as defence minister as well as become deputy prime minister in the new role.

It was long expected by many Saudi watchers and citizens alike that the headstrong and power-hungry Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, as he is known, would likely ascend to heir, but the pace at which it has happened, and the timing, seems to have taken many aback.

There have been serious doubts about the effectiveness of aggressive policies under Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi stock market is up over 4 percent after news that King Salman has placed his 31-year-old son next in line to the throne. Another key appointment announced on Wednesday was that of of Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef (34), who was chosen to succeed his uncle as interior minister.

Mohammed bin Nayef had strong personal support from the security forces and intelligence apparatus, said Jane Kinninmont, a Middle East expert at Chatham House. Now it's clear, it's straightforward. "That kind of clarity lowers the risk, there's no question as to who's going to be in charge". King Salman clearly hopes it will end talk of a succession struggle and pave the way for a smooth transition of power when he dies.

Over the weekend, the king had issued a decree restructuring Saudi Arabia's system for prosecutions that stripped Mohammed bin Nayef of longstanding powers overseeing criminal investigations, and instead ordered that a newly-named Office of Public Prosecution and prosecutor report directly to the monarch.

Like this: