Wednesday, June 21

Saudi King appoints son Mohammad Bin Salman as New Crown Prince: UPDATED

A Reuters report published at 1:25am EDT today has an analysis of the elevation of MbS to Crown Prince, although more extensive analyses are sure to follow within the next few hours. While not entirely unexpected, the suddenness of the change, and at this very delicate juncture (given the Qatar situation), and the fact that MbN, the now-former Crown Prince, has been relieved of all his duties suggests a big shakeout in the kingdom -- and while Reuters doesn't say this, perhaps in the military as well.  

As to whether MbN and his faction were against the kingdom laying sanctions on Qatar -- I don't know, but if so that might explain the timing of the shakeout.

Keep in mind the shakeout is happening against the backdrop of the continuing slide in the price of oil.  

From the Reuters report:
...[MbS] has assumed a startling array of powers [even before he was elevated to Crown Prince].
He is Defence Minister, a role that in Saudi Arabia gives its incumbent command of one of the world's biggest arms budgets and makes him ultimately responsible for Saudi Arabia's unprecedented military adventure in Yemen.
He also heads the Council for Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), a group of cabinet ministers who meet weekly and which oversees all elements of policy that touch on the economy or social issues like education, health and housing.
Prince Mohammed chairs the supreme board of Aramco, making him the first member of the ruling family to directly oversee the state oil company, long regarded as the preserve of commoner technocrats.

But perhaps most importantly, he also holds the critical position of gatekeeper to his father, King Salman, who in Saudi Arabia's absolute monarchy retains the final say in any major decision of state.

06:44 - 21.06.2017 (updated 07:07)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has fired crown prince Muhammad Bin Nayef, replacing him with own son Mohammad Bin Salman, according to the king's decree.

Mohammad Bin Salman, 31, the deputy crown prince and Saudi Arabia's defense minister, was named the new crown prince instead of Muhammad Bin Nayef.
The Al-Arabiya broadcaster reported that Muhammad Bin Nayef has also lost the post of the interior minister. The post was filled with Prince Abdelaziz bin Saud bin Nayeff, according to media reports.
The news comes amid the ongoing standoff between a number of Gulf states and Qatar. On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the latter of supporting terrorist organizations and destabilizing the situation in the Middle East.
Yemen, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mauritania and the eastern-based government in divided Libya also announced a break in relations with Doha, while Jordan and Djibouti said they would lower the level of diplomatic contacts with Qatar. Senegal, Chad  and Niger recalled their ambassadors from Doha.

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