New York: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman announced that his son, thirty-one-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Al Jazeera), will replace the prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as next in line to inherit the throne. The new crown prince, who will continue in his role as defense minister, was also named deputy prime minister. Mohammed bin Salman led the Vision 2030 development project, which seeks to diversify the country’s economy away from oil dependence and relax some of the kingdom’s religious restrictions. Mohammed bin Nayef served as interior minister and was viewed positively by foreign allies (NYT) for his work dismantling al-Qaeda networks inside the country. Eighty-one-year-old King Salman is reportedly not in good health (BBC). (Council on Foreign Relations, New York, USA)
“The young royal has courted foreign leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, and the world’s top executives as he has sought to strengthen ties with allies and lure investment to back his reform plans,” Simeon Kerr writes for the Financial Times.
“[Saudi Arabia] has weathered a major downturn in global oil prices and reduction of state revenues, managed what could have been a contentious royal succession, and prosecuted a costly military intervention in neighboring Yemen without facing major domestic blowback,” write Council on Foreign Relations (CFR’s) Paul B. Stares and Helia Ighani.
“Notwithstanding Trump’s harsher comments, the Saudis see in the new president an opportunity to enhance their relationship with the United States and repair the rift created by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s championing of the Iran nuclear agreement,” Madawi al-Rasheed writes for Foreign Affairs.