Saudi Arabia Rewrites Succession as King Replaces Heir With Son, 31

“A lot of people are happy that a younger generation is coming to power, but those who are upset are the older generation, no doubt about it, who are not to used to this kind of dramatic change,” said Joseph A. Kechichian, a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, who has extensive contacts inside the family. “Even if people are uncomfortable, at the end of the day this is a monarchical decision, and people will either have to accept the new arrangement or they will essentially have to keep their mouths shut.”

The young prince, known as M.B.S., emerged from obscurity after his 81-year-old father ascended to the throne in January 2015. He has since accumulated vast powers, serving as defense minister, overseeing the state oil monopoly, working to overhaul the Saudi economy and building ties with foreign leaders, including President Trump.

His supporters praise him as working hard to fulfill a hopeful vision for the kingdom’s future, especially for its large youth population. His critics call him power hungry, and fear that his inexperience has embroiled Saudi Arabia in costly problems with no clear exits, like the war in neighboring Yemen.

Since the death of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Al Saud, in 1953, control of the absolute monarchy has been passed between his sons, a system that raised questions about the future as the brothers grew older and began dying.

After ascending the throne, King Salman addressed the issue by naming Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince, the first time a member of the third generation was put in the line of succession.

Now, the royal reordering has ended the career of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who served as interior minister and was widely respected by Saudis and their foreign allies for dismantling Al Qaeda’s networks in the kingdom after a string of deadly bombings a decade ago.

King Salman’s decrees on Wednesday removed…

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