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 Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, is a former top diplomat who retired as India's Permanent Representative at the United Nations. In his new political avatar, as an important minister in the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Puri told INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS that
 
read-more
Aimed at consolidating cooperation between the armed forces of India and Saudi Arabia and explore new avenues of defence cooperation, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee and Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, visited Saudi Arabia on from 4-8 February 2018, writes Anil Bhut
 
read-more
Campus placement season is here and the news is that graduates from the top campuses in India, especially the IITs, have received six figure pay packets and job offers in the US. However, looking beyond the top 200 engineering schools in India, pay packets are not looking too promising. The reason is the emergence of new engineering sc
 
read-more
Since the NDA government converted the ‘Look East’ Policy to the ‘Act East’ policy, there has been a greater sense of strategic engagement with the ASEAN, writes Gurjit Singh
 
read-more
The UN will be making contacts with Maldives leaders in response to the request by the opposition leaders for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to oversee the all-party talks proposed by that nation's President Abdulla Yameen, Guterres's Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Friday.
 
read-more
Bangladesh is disaster prone country because of its conical shape. The risk of climate change, drought, flood and natural disaster has increased uncertainty of agricultural production, which has also increased the level of food insecurity in the country, writes Minhazur Rahman Rezvi
 
read-more

The Indian government is undertaking a project to enhance and install infrastructures related to trade and customs along its northeastern frontier, that include trading points with Bhutan.

 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Do We Not Bleed?: Reflections of a 21-st Century Pakistani; Author: Mehr Tarar; Publisher: Aleph Book Company; Pages: 240; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

From antiquity, the Muslim faith has been plagued by the portrayal of Muslim men regularly misusing this perceived “right” to divorce their wives instantly by simply uttering “talaq” thrice.

 
Column-image

'Another South Asia!' edited by Dev Nath Pathak makes a critical engagement with the questions about South Asia: What is South Asia? How can one pin down the idea of regionalism in South Asia wherein inter-state relations are often char...

 
Column-image

Book: A Time of Madness; Author: Salman Rashid; Publisher: Aleph; Price: Rs 299; Pages: 127

 
Column-image

Book: Why I Am A Hindu; Author: Shashi Tharoor; Publisher: Aleph Book Company; Pages: 302; Price: Rs 699