FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Game of thrones: On the crown prince of Saudi Arabia
Posted:Jun 22, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The rapid rise of Mohammed bin Salman, from one among many princes in the al-Saud royal family to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia within a span of two years, is an unprecedented development in the history of the Kingdom. Little-known outside the palace until January 2015 when his father, Salman bin Abdulaziz, became the monarch, Prince Mohammed has since been the face of Saudi Arabia overseas and of reforms at home. 
 
Appointed Deputy Crown Prince by his father, Prince Mohammed often overshadowed the then powerful Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef. He was directly in charge of the Kingdom’s foreign policy and rolled out an ambitious economic reform agenda last year. Throughout, he had the support of the octogenarian King, even as the Crown Prince, reportedly upset with his cousin sidestepping him, kept a low profile. 
 
On Wednesday, King Salman put an end to all speculation on the succession by ousting Prince Nayef, his nephew, and appointing his son the new Crown Prince. This has practically removed all hurdles for the 31-year-old to ascend the throne once his father retires or dies. With King Salman largely confined to the Palace owing to health reasons and Prince Nayef forcibly retired, the new Crown Prince has already become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.
 
Many regard him as a reformer. He has repeatedly talked about ending Saudi Arabia’s “addiction to oil”. The Vision 2030 plan launched by the Prince last year seeks to end the country’s dependence on oil, reform its finances and encourage private enterprise. He has also talked about women’s rights. At the same time, many others perceive him as a reckless, impulsive royal whose unrealistic ambitions and quest for power could endanger not just the Kingdom but the entire Gulf region. A look at Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy under King Salman lends credence to this criticism. Prince Mohammed was the architect of Riyadh’s bombing campaign in Yemen in the name of fighting Shia Houthi rebels. 
 
The Saudi version is that the Houthis are Iran’s proxies, and letting them consolidate themselves in the Kingdom’s backyard will hurt its interests. 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. The Houthis are still in San’a, Yemen’s capital. Riyadh has also taken a tougher anti-Tehran line in recent years with Prince Mohammed determined to make sure that “the battle is for them in Iran”. 
 
This aggressive foreign policy line was evident in Riyadh’s decision to impose a blockade on Qatar as well. Prince Mohammed’s domestic reform credentials are also yet to be established, as his plans to reorganise the oil economy remain on paper, while social reforms are nowhere near the government’s agenda. Against such a background, the Prince’s elevation will only prompt Saudi Arabia to turn more hawkish on regional policy, while reforms take a back seat. This is bad news for an already volatile region.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Ties between India and Japan are probably at their best ever, Japanese Ambassador to India H.E. Kenji Hiramatsu told India Review & Analysis’ Nilova Roy Chaudhury, as he outlined how the two countries have moved closer. Ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit
 
read-more
India's External Affairs Minister met with Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan and five foreign ministers on September 19 in interactions that mostly focused on bilateral issues.
 
read-more
That regional cooperation in South Asia is lower than optimal levels is well accepted. It is usually ascribed to – the asymmetry in size between India and the rest, conflicts and historical political tensions, a trust deficit, limited transport connectivity, and onerous logistics, among many other factors.
 
read-more
Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said ‘In order to become a more developed country, India has to get people who owe taxes to actually pay them.’ This is one of the major objectives that Modi sought to achieve though demonetization and he has largely succeeded.
 
read-more
The two-day visit to Kashmir by a Congress team headed by Dr Manmohan Singh team has called for restoration  of the dialogue with the separatists to address the ongoing turmoil in the state.
 
read-more
The Communist Party of China (CPC) is expected to amend its constitution at the upcoming national congress.
 
read-more
Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders has urged Myanmar to grant international humanitarian organisations unrestricted and independent access to the conflict-torn Rakhine state to enable provision of humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people.
 
read-more
US President Donald Trump dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "rocket man" when speaking to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in by phone on Sunday, and then posted the nickname on Twitter. Such mockery may have an adverse impact on solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive