SAUDI ARABIA’S GAME OF THRONES – Project Syndicate 

This article by Bernard Haykel published in the project syndicate throws light on Mohammed Bin Salman’s replacing Muhammad Bin Nayif as the crown-prince of Saudi Arabia.Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is the king of Saudi Arabia is 81 years old and has signaled a break in the tradition of crown-prince appointment.

The tradition is that a consensus is built by the leading sons of the Saudi State’s founder, the late king Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) becoming the crown-prince not only shows kings favoritism ( MBS is not the eldest son, but is the favorite son of the king) but also is a result of the work put in by him. MBS was appointed as an adviser to his father in 2009, at that time king Salman was the Governor of Riyadh. Now, becoming the crown prince is not only the biggest achievement of MBS but is also a clear statement that he will become the king, after the death of present king. This transition of position from Nayif to MBS seems to be so smooth because thw caliber MBS has shown in the past, like working soon after Trump’s victory to set up good ties with USA. During the previous president Barack Obama, USA and Saudi’s relationship were at nadir. Trump’s first Presidential visit to UAE shows Salman’s capabilities. Nayif has himself shown his allegiance to MBS being the crown prince. A video clip shows how Nayif is looking forward for Salman’s leadership. 

MBS has clear future plans related to Saudi Arabia. He has distinguished his plans in two broad goals. His first plan, in Saudi 2030, is to reduce dependence on oil reserves beacuse he strongly feels that the oil reserves will prove to be less worthy in the future beacuse of non-renewable resources. He will upfront revenues from the oil sector and will try to utilize the revenues in non-oil sectors. He also plans  privatization of a part of  Saudi Aramco through an IPO in 2018.

His second plan is to create a military force for the state. Since 1945, Saudi Arabia has been depending on the US military protection. 

Bernard Haykel feels that though each of the goals will take a decade to be achieved but MBS’s power base is finally secure and he would undertake all his goals.

To read the article by Bernard Haykel for project syndicate,  CLICK HERE

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