King Salman of Saudi Arabia has announced a major cabinet reshuffle that puts in place a new generation to succeed him as head of the kingdom.
The new king has appointed his nephew, Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as Crown Prince, replacing Prince Moqrin bin Abdul Aziz.
His son, Mohammed bin Salman, believed to be in his early 30s, has been made deputy crown prince.
King Salman, 78, came to the throne in January 2015 after the death of his half-brother Abdullah.
Photo Getty Images
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who was thought to be aged about 90, had been on the throne since 2005 and Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader for the 10 years before that.
King Salman has pushed aside allies of the late monarch such as his half-brother Moqrin bin Abdul Aziz, who was Crown Prince.
The rise of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, and Mohammed bin Salman means a new generation is now in line to lead the kingdom for the first time.
The appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is likely to be welcomed by the United States, with whom he has a close relationship.
The kingdom’s veteran security chief, he is known for his strong stance against Islamist militants and narrowly survived an assassination attempt by al-Qaeda in 2009.
The new deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has enjoyed a meteoric rise within the Saudi leadership.
He was appointed defense minister in January, and in the last month has been overseeing the Saudi-led operation in Yemen.
In other appointments, the world’s longest-serving Foreign Minister Saud el Faysal – who has been in his job since 1975 – has been replaced by the Saudi ambassador to the US Adel Jubeir, who is not a member of the royal family.
King Salman has been pushing a more assertive, muscular foreign policy to push back against Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran with the new appointments reinforcing that trend.
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