Middle East and North Africa, Politics and Government

What’s Behind Crown Prince’s Crackdown in Saudi Arabia – and Where Will It Lead?

Thomas W. Lippman – 11.18.17

Life in Saudi Arabia is very different today from what it was a few weeks ago – not on the streets or in the markets, where activity is normal, but in the way the kingdom does business and governs itself.

With astonishing speed, the headstrong young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has seized control of almost all levers of power in his country and disrupted patterns of governance and commerce that had been in place for decades.

At the age of 32, he has shunted aside all potential rivals, gained control over the armed forces and security services, taken charge of economic planning and oil policy, instituted a more muscular foreign policy and altered the line of succession to the throne. Not since the reign of King Abdul Aziz, who founded the modern kingdom in 1932, has one member of the al-Saud family wielded such uncontested power.

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