Saudi Arabia's controversial crown prince named prime minister

Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as the oil-wealthy monarchy's de-facto ruler, has been named prime minister.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been named the country's prime minister.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been named the country's prime minister.  © REUTERS

King Salman has appointed Mohammed as the prime minister, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported Tuesday evening, citing a royal decree.

However, the monarch, aged 86, will continue to chair Cabinet meetings, according to the decree.

In a second decree, the king reshuffled the government line-up, appointing his son Prince Khalid as defense minister, a post previously held by the crown prince.

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Crown Prince Mohammed (37) is credited with introducing massive reforms into the ultra-conservative kingdom, but his image has suffered since the 2018 murder of dissident Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Riyadh's consulate in Turkey.

Mohammed, also referred to as MBS, has been blamed by US intelligence for ordering Khashoggi's murder.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied the heir apparent was involved in the murder, which triggered a global outcry.

But the US has made efforts to ease tensions with MBS in recent months. President Joe Biden, who once vowed to make Saudi Arabia a pariah, visited the Gulf country in July and met with Mohammed, sparking criticism from progressives.

That month, MBS visited Greece and France, marking his first trip to European Union countries since Khashoggi’s murder.

The visits came as the West searches for solutions to soaring energy prices as they turn away from Russian fossil fuels in response to Moscow's war in Ukraine.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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