Saudi King names son new crown prince

The prince replaces Mohammed bin Nayef, his cousin, who was also removed from his post as interior minister, where he oversaw domestic security and the kingdom's counter-terrorism policy. Salman stripped Mohammed bin Nayef of the title of crown prince and ousted him from his powerful position of interior minister.

He was later appointed as the kingdom's defense minister, becoming the world's youngest defense minister.

"I don't think that was necessarily his intention", Joseph W. Westphal, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President Obama, told the magazine.

Bin Salman's visit to the US earlier this year paved the way for President Donald Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, portrayed by the kingdom as an endorsement of its leadership role in the region.

Mohammed bin Salman's ascent to being one step away from the throne was seen as symbolic recognition on behalf of the king to Saudi Arabia's youthful population, more than half of which is under 25 years old.

Saudis expressed honest thanks and gratitude to former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz for his efforts to serve his country. All in all, the Saudi-led offensive has caused some 10,000 civilian deaths over more than two years of conflict.

Mohammed bin Salman's new promotion to crown prince was approved by 31 out of 34 members of the council.

According to royal decree, Prince Bandar bin Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Prince Abdulrahman Al-Rabian, Prince Turki Bin Mohammed Bin Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rahman Al Rabian and Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sudairi have been appointed as advisors to the Royal Court.

No reason was stated for the sudden change.

The newly crowned prince has been a vocal advocate against Iran.

Prince Salman visited the US in March, where he had lunch at the White House with US President Donald Trump. That visit to Washington helped lay the foundation for Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia in May, which marked the president's first overseas visit and which was promoted heavily by the kingdom as proof of its weight in the region and wider Muslim world.

He also empowered the rapid ascent of his son, Mohammed bin Salman. The king previously served as a governor of Riyadh and as a defense minister, during which he oversaw ending Saudi troops into Bahrain to put down its 2011 Arab Spring protests.

"The rise of MBS will also likely mean even more hawkish foreign policy moves from Saudi Arabia and more intensified efforts to confront Iran", wrote Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC.

The two countries are bitter regional rivals, and severed diplomatic ties past year. "His critics have called him rash, inexperienced and power-hungry", the New York Times writes of the new crown prince. He also vowed to take "the battle" to Iran.

Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia leads a coalition which has fought alongside the Yemeni government against Shiite rebels who control the capital Sanaa. They back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen and they support political rivals in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq.

  • Leroy Wright