Saudi Arabia Succession Shakeup

This is most interesting, and has caught my full attention.    There are two separate articles posted below.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a series of surprise royal decrees early Wednesday, shaking up the line of princes slated to succeed him to the throne, replacing a number of ministers and further enhancing the power of his own line.

In moves announced on Saudi state television, Salman replaced Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and named the powerful interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as next in line.

He also named his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as deputy crown prince and relieved the long-serving foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, who has shaped the kingdom’s foreign policy for nearly four decades.

Of all the changes, the reordering of the line to the throne is likely to draw the most scrutiny inside the kingdom because of competition between branches of the sprawling royal family for positions leading to the throne.

The removed regent, Prince Muqrin, was close to King Abdullah and named by him as deputy crown prince, a position that had not previously existed.

So far, all of Saudi Arabia’s kings have been sons of the kingdom’s founder, King Abdulaziz. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is the first grandson to be in line for the throne. He is widely respected in the royal family for cracking down on Al Qaeda in the kingdom and has played an active role in foreign policy.

Prince Saud’s departure from the Foreign Ministry is a watershed because he has been in the position for so long.

The reasons for this series of moves will allow for more corporate expertise to guide the kingdom.

The promotion of the king’s son, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, 35, to the position of deputy crown prince – or second-in-line to the throne – looks in part like a reward for his recent work as defence minister overseeing the Saudi-led coalition’s controversial military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Both Mohammed and Bin Nayef, the king’s nephew, are grandsons of the kingdom’s founder monarch, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.

The replacement of the veteran foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, 75, by a younger non-royal, Adel al-Jubeir, who is currently the Saudi ambassador to the US and a long-time Washington insider, strengthens the sense of generational change. By dismissing his half-brother and Abdulaziz’s youngest son, Prince Muqrin, 69, as crown prince, Salman has performed the equivalent, in British terms, of defenestrating Prince Charles and installing Prince William as the Prince of Wales.

At the age of 79, King Salman may not expect his reign to be lengthy – which is one reason for imposing his will and establishing a clear, undisputed succession early on. The changes mark the first time that power has passed beyond the control the numerous sons of Abdulaziz, who died in 1953. However, as when he launched a less extensive reshuffle in January, Salman’s royal decree stressed continuity “on the basis of service to faith, the nation and the people”. This was a sop to Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious establishment, the self-appointed guardians of the status quo and the Sunni Muslim tradition.

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