Mohammed bin Salman Becomes Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia

Mohammed bin Salman Becomes Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia

 Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih remained in their positions, the decree showed. The crown prince, known as MbS, was promoted from defense minister and has become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter and a key US ally in the Middle East. 

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz appointed his son and heir Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom's prime minister and his second son Prince Khalid as defense minister, a royal decree showed on Tuesday. The reshuffle made another son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, energy minister, the old king said in a royal decree, carried by state news agency SPA. 

"The crown prince's HRH, by order of the king, has been overseeing the country's main executive body on a daily basis, and his new role as prime minister is in that context," said the official, who declined to be named. Historically, such delegation of tasks has occurred in the kingdom several times, the official said. Prince Khalid bin Salman, MBS's younger brother, previously served as deputy defense minister. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's new role as prime minister is in line with the king's previous delegation of duties to him, including representing the kingdom on overseas visits and chairing summits hosted by the kingdom, a Saudi official said.

 The 86-year-old king, custodian of Islam's holiest site, became ruler in 2015 after spending more than 2.5 years as crown prince. He has been hospitalized several times over the past two years due to various ailments. The crown prince said the kingdom had increased its self-sufficiency in the military industry to 15% from 2% and planned to reach 50% under the newly appointed defense minister, SPA reported. King Salman will still chair the cabinet meetings he attends, according to the decree. 

After the decree was made, state TV showed the king presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting. Crown Prince Mohammed has radically transformed Saudi Arabia since his rise to power in 2017, leading efforts to diversify the economy away from its dependence on oil, which allows women to drive and limits the power of clerics. 

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in 2018 has tarnished its reputation and strained the kingdom's relations with the United States and other Western allies. His reforms, however, have come with a crackdown on dissent, with activists, royalty, women's rights activists and 
businessmen imprisoned.

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