King Salman's first year: The trio who led change in Saudi Arabia
The three leaders who steered Saudi Arabia's year of foreign policy changes and economic reforms
Saturday marks one year since Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz took the throne, after the passing of his half-brother King Abdullah.
Here’s an overview of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman - the three leaders who steered Saudi Arabia's year of foreign policy changes and economic reforms.
- Seventh monarch to rule the kingdom founded by his father Abdulaziz Ibn Saud in 1932.
- Holds the post of prime minister and the title of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
- Served for five decades in charge of Riyadh and its surroundings, overseeing the capital’s emergence as a bustling modern metropolis.
- Named defense minister in 2011.
- Named crown prince in 2012.
- Father of a daughter and 10 sons, including Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Other notable sons are Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, named assistant petroleum minister in 2004, and Prince Sultan bin Salman. Prince Sultan was the first Arab to travel in space when he joined a U.S. space shuttle mission in 1985. He now heads the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef:
- Next in line to the throne.
- Holds the posts of interior minister and deputy prime minister.
- Studied political science in the United States and received “advanced law enforcement and counter-terrorism” training in the U.S. and Britain.
- Has worked in the interior ministry since 1999, initially under his father, overseeing a crackdown on Al-Qaeda, which attacked security officers and foreigners between 2003 and 2007.
- Named interior minister in 2012 upon his father’s death.
- Widely respected in the West for his efforts to combat violent extremism. U.S. President Barack Obama last year spoke of his “great admiration” for the Saudi crown prince.
- Survived with only light injuries an assassination attempt by Al-Qaeda in 2009.
- Married with two daughters, he enjoys swimming, horse riding and hunting, his biography says.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman:
- Second in line to the throne.
- Holds the posts of: minister of defense; second deputy prime minister; special adviser to the king; head of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs; chairman of the body overseeing Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest crude oil producer.
- Holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in law from King Saud University.
- Served as special adviser to his father when he was Riyadh governor and then crown prince.
- Obama last year described the deputy crown prince of being “wise beyond his years.”
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