Saudi king names new heir to throne


Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man on Wed­nes­day named his pow­er­ful in­te­rior min­is­ter as heir in a gen­er­a­tional shift that also saw one of his sons pro­moted to sec­ond in line to the throne.

A royal de­cree re­moved Crown Prince Mo­qren bin Ab­dul Aziz bin Saud, 69, as heir and re­placed him with Prince Mo­hammed bin Nayef, 55, who led a crack­down on al-Qaida in the oil-rich king­dom a decade ago.

Riyadh also changed its for­eign min- is­ter in the sec­ond ma­jor gov­ern­ment shakeup since King Sal­man in­her­ited power in Jan­uary.

The an­nounce­ment comes a day af­ter Saudi Ara­bia said it ar­rested 93 ji­hadists since the end of 2014, most of them linked to the Is­lamic State group, and had foiled sev­eral plots to carry out at­tacks across the king­dom.

Ac­cen­tu­at­ing the move to a more youth­ful lead­er­ship, Sal­man, 79, also pro­moted one of his sons, Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, to be deputy crown prince.

It was the first time a crown prince was re­lieved of his duty in the king­dom’s his­tory.

Mo­qren’s re­moval leaves Mo­hammed bin Nayef as the first of the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion, or grand­sons of Ab­dul Aziz, in line to lead the con­ser­va­tive Is­lamic king­dom.

Mo­hammed bin Nayef’s ap­point­ment fur­ther so­lid­i­fies con­trol of Sal­man’s Su­dayri branch of the royal fam­ily. Their in­flu­ence had waned un­der Ab­dul­lah.

Mo­qren had no min­is­te­rial port­fo­lio and his re­place­ment is not much of a sur­prise, the diplo­matic source said.

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