Qatar emir congratulates Saudi crown prince

Marsha Scott
June 28, 2017

In elevating his son Prince Mohammed to next in line to the throne, Saudi King Salman approved a strategic realignment with the US under Donald Trump and handed sweeping new powers to the 31-year-old who has been highly critical of regional rival Iran.

Capping a meteoric rise for the 31-year-old that puts him just one step away from the throne, Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday named his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince.

Mohammed's appointment as heir to the throne completes a gradual stripping of power from the ousted crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, who has also been fired as deputy prime minister and interior minister.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was designated as the kingdom's next ruler on June 21.

Always intent on dispelling speculation of internal divisions in the Al Saud ruling dynasty, Saudi television was quick to show that the change in succession was amicable and supported by the family.

"The change is a huge boost to the economic reform programme..."

As Mohammed bin Salman last month said the "battle" should be taken into Iran, analysts expect tensions to increase after his promotion.

Iran at the time called the remarks a direct threat, and after a deadly June 7 terrorist attack in Tehran Iranian officials suggested that Saudi Arabia was implicated.

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

Apart from his role in the Saudi energy policy and economic initiatives to build a future for the monarchy after oil, Mohammed bin Salman is leading the Saudi war on impoverished Yemen.

Senior Wahhabi clerics, whose influence in Saudi society forms part of a covenant with the royal family dating back 250 years, endorse execution by beheading for offences that include apostasy, adultery and sorcery, oppose women driving or working and describe Shi'ites as heretics. May God help you", the former crown prince said, to which his replacement replied: "May God help you.

A royal order said his appointment was endorsed by 31 of 34 members on the Council of Allegiance, which decides on succession issues.

The reasons for the demotions are unclear, but bin Nayef is viewed as being close to the rulers of Qatar, and Saudi Arabia is now leading a campaign to isolate and punish Qatar for its alleged support for extremists and for Riyadh's nemesis, the regime in Tehran.

According to the Qatar News Agency, the emir sent a cable of congratulations to the Saudi leadership "on the occasion of the selection of his royal highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as Crown Prince".

McDonald's KSA, which stands for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a franchise operation which is owned by Riyadh International Catering Company.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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