In Brief

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince: The man who will be king

King Salman makes son Mohammed bin Salman next in line to the throne

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has made his son, Mohammed bin Salman, next in line to the throne.

Mohammed has replaced his cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince, "removing any doubt of how succession plans will unfold following the reign of King Salman, now 81", says Bloomberg.

Described as a "surprise reshuffle" by CNN, the move is a sign Salman is "further empowering a young, activist leader at a time when the kingdom is struggling with low oil prices, a rivalry with Iran and conflicts across the Middle East", says the New York Times.

The Crown Prince is "often charming in person, but analysts say his rapid rise has also created friction within the ruling family and made Saudi policy less predictable than in recent decades", says Reuters.  

Who is Prince Mohammed? 

Widely known by his initials MbS, Mohammed is Salman's youngest son and a favourite among his 13 children.

According to the Daily Telegraph, he "is an ambitious and aggressive reformer who hopes to transform his country's economy and lead it to a more assertive position on the world stage".

Like many Saudis of his generation, adds the paper, the Crown Prince is in favour of somewhat easing Saudi Arabia's strict social laws and "also sees a broader role for women in Saudi society".

What will change?

Bloomberg says the move suggests a "harder foreign policy line for Saudi Arabia in a region fraught with instability". 

Prince Mohammed played a key role in the recent diplomatic offensive against Qatar, as well as pressing ahead with the war in Yemen.

He has also taken a hard line on Iran, saying in a television interview last month that dialogue with the Shiite power was impossible because it sought to take control of the Islamic world.

"We are a primary target for the Iranian regime," he told the New York Times, accusing Tehran of seeking to take over Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia, which is home to Mecca and Medina. 

"We won't wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we'll work so that the battle is for them in Iran."

"The elevation of Mohammed Bin Salman to the Crown Prince will likely mean minimal change to oil production policy but could bring more aggressive foreign policy moves that bring back the political risk premium," said a research note published by RBC Capital Markets.

Recommended

Putin and Russia’s territorial ambitions
A large column of Russian military vehicles and troops move in the direction of the Crimean capital of Simferopol in February 2014
Getting to grips with . . .

Putin and Russia’s territorial ambitions

‘Cabinet angry at defending Johnson again’
Today’s newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Cabinet angry at defending Johnson again’

No. 10 tells Peter Andre: siestas wouldn’t work here
Peter Andre on stage
Tall Tales

No. 10 tells Peter Andre: siestas wouldn’t work here

Grey squirrels could run up £37m tree bill
A grey squirrel
Tall Tales

Grey squirrels could run up £37m tree bill

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

What happened to Logan Mwangi?
Tributes left to Logan Mwangi
Today’s big question

What happened to Logan Mwangi?

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

The Week Footer Banner