Saudi sacks Crown Prince

The new crown prince has also served in a concurrent capacity as defense minister and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.

Salman, often referred to by his initials "MBS", has leapfrogged the king's nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, who has been unexpectedly demoted.

Like his father, Prince Salman visited Russia, France, Egypt, Jordan, the United States and even North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to represent the Kingdom.

The warm ties forged between Riyadh and Washington under the Trump administration may have helped accelerate Mohammed bin Salman's ascension as crown prince.

Bin Nayef, meanwhile, has maintained a low profile since his accession to the number-two post in Saudi Arabia and the contrast between his quiet attitude and his cousin's high profile has been widely commented on at home and overseas, the Brookings Institution said in a 2016.

The new crown prince doubled down on the combative stance in comments made to state television in May, when he framed the tensions with Tehran in sectarian terms and vowed to "take the battle" to Iran. The move was announced by royal decree just after midnight, stunning the Saudi establishment.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already met several world leaders.

The current king ascended to the head of the House of Saud in 2015 following the death of Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, both men being sons of the founder of the Saudi dynasty - King Abdul-Aziz, known as Ibn Saud.

Despite his ambitions, the prince has faced criticism for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which he oversees as defense minister. He's now the heir to the throne of his 81-year-old father.

By royal decree, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was named the successor to the Saudi Arabian Kingdom on Wednesday.

Prince Mohammed's promotion gives further assurance that key reforms - including a plan to sell a stake in national oil giant Saudi Aramco, and austerity measures to close a budget deficit caused by shrunken oil revenues - will continue.

The former crown prince was also fired from his post as interior minister, the decree said. Among them was Prince Khaled, the crown prince's 28-year-old younger brother, who was made ambassador to the United States and a half-brother who was named minister of state for energy.

The agency confirmed that 31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia's Allegiance Council chose Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom's crown prince.

Outside Saudi Arabia, that rapid advance and the sudden changes to longstanding policies on regional affairs, energy and its economy have prompted unease, adding an unpredictable edge to a kingdom that allies long regarded as a known quantity. "The outcome would create more pressure on the Saudi currency and stock market in the coming time".

  • Leroy Wright