Saudi Arabia’s King Salman today made his son Mohammad bin Salman his successor, removing his nephew as the Crown Prince. With this, King Salman not only made his succession plan clear but also gave the 31-year old Mohammad bin Salman almost unprecedented powers in the world’s leading oil exporting nation. A royal decree today also removed King Salman’s 57-year-old nephew Crown Prime Mohammaed bin Nayef. Before the elevation, Mohammad bin Salman was the deputy crown prince and he also hold the defence portfolio of the country.
Recently, Prince Salman was in news for allegedly calling Pakistan a “slave country” of Saudi Arabia. A Pakistani journalist had shared a purported letter by Prince Salman in Arabic in which he had allegedly used such words against Pakistan. However, the claim was found to be fake as the letter had a Tehran dateline and there was nothing in it saying Pakistan was slave of Saudi Arabia, reported thequint.com.
— SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) June 21, 2017
According to a report by aljazeera.com, very little was known to Saudis and people outside about the young prince before his father Salman became the king in January 2015. Prior to this, Prince Salman was in-charge of his father’s royal court when Salman was the Crown Prince.
Prince Salman is known to have high ambitions, including an overhaul of Saudi economy by reducing its reliance on oil. Last year Mohammed bin Salman, or “MBS” as he is widely known, had announced several changes aimed at ending the kingdom’s reliance to oil. This was a part of his campaign to tackle systemic challenges that the kingdom has previously failed to address, according to Reuters.
— SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) June 20, 2017
MBS heads the Council for Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), a group of cabinet ministers who meet weekly and oversees all elements of policy that touch on the economy or social issues like education, health and housing. The Prince also chairs the supreme board of Aramco, making him the first member of the ruling family to directly oversee the state oil company.
As a defence minister, MBS faced criticism for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen. It has been alleged that the Saudi forces have killed a number of civilians in the war that was launched two years ago.
Prince Salman is also not in favour of any dialogue with rival Iran. Both countries are engaged in a kind of virtual race for the control of the Islamic world. Their rivalry has also led to many proxy wars in West Asia.