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Saudi Arabia Rewrites Succession as King Replaces Heir With Son, 31

Saudi Arabia Rewrites Succession as King Replaces Heir With Son, 31”

Weeks after the Iranian regime was infuriated by provocative comments made by the second-in-line to the Saudi throne, the target of that anger was promoted Wednesday to the position of king-in-waiting.

His appointment may make Saudi policy more hawkish against arch-rival Iran and other Gulf rivals such as Qatar, increasing volatility in an already unstable region, analysts say.

Until now, the succession favoured Saudi Arabia's interior minister and security chief, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who has now been stripped of much of his power.

A favorite son of his elderly father, his youth and dynamism have also appealed to many younger Saudis, who constitute the biggest proportion of society and are often eager for change.

The Saudi Tadawul index, the largest in the Middle East, surged 4.12 percent in early afternoon trading after Salman ousted his nephew as crown prince and installed his son Mohammed bin Salman.

Mohammed bin Salman chipped away at his authority but Mohammed bin Nayef's popularity with the previous USA administration of Barack Obama had prevented his ouster, said Stephane Lacroix, associate professor at Sciences Po university in Paris. The king then has the right to choose his own successor and this person doesn't necessarily have to be his son.

After assuming office in January, Trump made it clear that his Middle East partners are Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Lacroix said.

"The strengthening of relations with the Trump administration is the beginning of a new and optimistic time between Saudi Arabia and regional states, including Israel and the Jewish people", Kara (pictured above) said in a statement. "Donald Trump visited Riyadh on his first overseas trip as president and has since visibly tilted in Saudi Arabia's direction in policy toward the rest of the region, most notably in his animosity toward Iran".

U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks showed Mohammed bin Nayef relatively hawkish on Iran, asking USA officials on how best to protect key infrastructure "when at war with Iran". Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, 33, was named the new interior minister tasked with counterterrorism efforts and domestic security. For over two years Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen with impunity, triggering a humanitarian crisis in one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, but without attaining the stated objective of defeating the Houthis.

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.

Intent on dispelling speculation of internal divisions, Saudi television was quick to show the change in succession was amicable and supported by the Al Saud family.



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