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Saudi King ousts nephew, names son as crown prince

"He could be there for 50 years", said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. He has been the driving force behind all the major changes Saudi Arabia has witnessed over the past two years.

Mohammed is also defence minister with overall responsibility for the kingdom's military intervention in Yemen.

Analysts said the change ends uncertainty over succession and empowers Prince Mohammed bin Salman to move faster with his plan to reduce the kingdom's dependence on oil, which includes the partial privatisation of state oil company Aramco.

The surprise announcement marks the first time since Saudi Arabia's first ruler, King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, that a Saudi monarch has designated his son rather than a brother as his heir apparent.

With creating the hashtag "Mohammad bin Salman Coup", Mujtahid also said the king's recent decision to remove bin Nayef has sparked harsh outrage among the Saudi family members.

This family tree of the kingdom's royal family shows that the latest development marks a generational shift in the kingdom's dynasty.

Mohammed Bin Nayef, who is a nephew of King Salman, was dismissed from his positions as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

"We won't wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia". The royal decree did not nominate a new deputy crown prince.

More than half of the population of Saudi Arabia is under 25-years-old and 70 percent are under 35, representing a large potential consumer market, but also a massive challenge for the government to keep up with job creation and affordable housing.

A snapshot of the crown prince's many titles reveals just how vast his portfolio is.

That the royal succession in the world's top oil exporter is closely scrutinized only makes the rapidity of MbS's rise to power, and the speed with which his better known cousins were brushed aside, more astonishing.

Arab leaders, including Oman's Sultan Qaboos, Jordan's King Abdullah, Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, congratulated Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his appointment, according to state media. For an older generation, Saudi television coverage was highly orchestrated, with repeated footage of Nayef, the deposed crown prince, pledging allegiance to his successor. Dubbed by Washington insiders as "the prince of counterterrorism", he developed a ground-breaking program that rehabilitates individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes. And it came as Saudi Arabia was already grappling with low oil prices, and intensifying hostilities both with Iran and in its own circle of Sunni Arab states.

In the first meeting between Trump and MbS at the White House in March, the two leaders noted the importance of "confronting Iran's destabilizing regional activities". Trump has made statements siding with Saudi Arabia on the Qatar crisis. Saudi Arabia promoted the visit as proof of its weight in the region and wider Muslim world.



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