Saudi king names son as heir instead of nephew


"I look forward to working with Prince Mohammed bin Salman to deepen our close bilateral ties in the years ahead, building on the constructive meetings we had in Saudi Arabia earlier this year".

Saudi boys pose in front of a huge billboard showing in the centre, King Salman, with Mohammed bin Salman to the right, and the replaced Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, left, in Taif, Saudi Arabia. This is according to a role decree which was quoted by state media. He has also become popular among some of Saudi Arabia's youth, who make up the bulk of the population, for pursuing changes that have opened the deeply conservative country to entertainment and greater foreign investments as part of an economic overhaul, including plans to list a percentage of the state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco.

The prince, known as MBS, already oversees a vast portfolio as defense minister.

Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton, said the king's decision was aimed at avoiding a power struggle between his son and Mohammed bin Nayef by setting the line of succession out clearly.

This would be the first time a next-in-line Saudi king won't be a direct descendant of Ibn Saud since Mohammed bin Salman is the son of the current king.

This seem to be a move to rapidly consolidate power which is seen to be more quick than expected giving allays vivid indication of will be at the helm of the kingdom for decades. He has pledged allegiance to the new crown prince and his younger cousin, Salman. Saudi Arabia's stock market was up by more than 3.5 per cent in midday trading after the appointment. Mishaal al Saud is the CEO of that company. The Council is comprised of senior princes who gather in secret and vote to pick the king and crown prince from among themselves.

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"I am content", Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said.

Tikit did not exclude that Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud will follow the policy of the U.S. and the UAE, which declared "war" against political Islam. Accession to throne process in Saudi Arabia is purely its internal matter but it sparks interest in the world in general and in the Islamic world in particular because of the prominent place that the Kingdom has in world affairs and the Muslim Ummah.

He is also believed to be a driving force behind the Gulf kingdom's more recent and aggressive anti-Iran stance and blockade of Qatar.

Salman had already set a precedent for removal of a crown prince when, in April 2015, he appointed Mohammed bin Nayef and fired Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud, an appointee of King Abdullah.

Shia dominated Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia accuse each other of fomenting tension in the Middle East, where the two arch rivals back opposite sides in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.