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Latest development in Saudi Arabia: king opens path for son - COMMENT

Latest development in Saudi Arabia: king opens path for son - COMMENT
The process may cost king Salman, heir apparent their lives

Baku. 7 November. REPORT.AZ/ A day before Saudi Arabia Supreme Anti-Corruption Committee has arrested 11 princes, four ministers and 39 former officials. Although detained people are not named, they are accused of illegal weapon sales, signing fake contracts, money laundering and corruption.

The newly established committee that carried out the arrest is headed by Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The committee has the authority to arrest, issue travel bans of those it finds corrupt. Saudi Arabia Supreme Anti-Corruption Committee was established on November 4 by the decree of King Salman. The same day King Salman removed National Guard Minister and Naval Forces Commander from their posts.

On November 5, senior Saudi prince Mansour bin Muqrin and several high ranking officials have been killed in a helicopter crash. The accident occurred on the border of Saudi Arabia with Yemen. According to preliminary data, nine people were on board. Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was the deputy governor of Asir province. The cause for the crash is not known yet. But it’s also not ruled out that the crash has a connection with recent developments in the kingdom.

What happens in Saudi Arabia? Recently news about the arrest, murder and execution of princes in Saudi Arabia came to spotlight.

It is not ruled out that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in fact heads these issues. Because society in the Saudi Arabia is not used to such events. Or there was a coup in the King’s palace? Let’s have a look what had happened in the region for last five years:

The events that followed Hosni Mubarak’s oust in Egypt shook the head of states who believed the situation in the Near East will never change.

What happened in Iraq and Syria made them to reflect on thesis “it won’t last such a way”. Successful cleaning the country from ISIS terrorists forced the head of such states to take concrete measures. Saudi Arabia has all of the aforesaid.

The late King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was one of those monarchs who looked worried of Arab Spring. Arab Spring shook off this country so that the kingdom even had to welcome the oust of Mohamed Morsi who came to power through elections in Egypt. To make a view in the society about reforms the king took some steps. But for such country as Saudi Arabia that required revolutionary reforms, it was not enough. Perhaps king was willing to carry out more reforms but in January 23, 2015, he passed away and all his plans left unfinished. Many people thought the situation in the kingdom will get worse. But monarch change in the country was carried out in a calm way. King Abdullah’s half-brother, crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was crowned as the new King.

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was born on December 31, 1935 in Riyadh. Following the death of King Abdulla, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the age of 80 was crowned as the new king of Saudi Arabia. Apart from country’s society the region and the world was interested in the work to be done by king Salman. Unlike his brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is regarded more liberal and closer to West.

The first thing he did was announcing the crown prince. For this reason, instead of his brother’s son crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef Al Saud, the king made his 31-year-old son heir apparent to the throne.

31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia Allegiance Council, which has powers over the succession issue, selected Mohammad Bin Salman as the kingdom’s crown prince. With king’s decree, change has been made to Article 50 of the Constitution on the selection of the king of Saudi Arabia. The article “rule passes to the sons of the founding King, Abd al-Aziz Bin Abd al-Rahman Al Sa'ud” was replaced with article ““rule passes to the sons and grandsons of the founding King, Abd al-Aziz Bin Abd al-Rahman Al Sa'ud."

Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was also appointed as first deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, he keeps the post of minister of defense.

In accordance with royal decree, Muhammad bin Nayef Al Saud was not only relieved from his Crown Prince title. He was also dismissed from the posts of first deputy prime minister and minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia.

It’s is necessary to point out that Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, minister of defense prince Mohammad bin Salman met with US President Donald Trump in March 14, 2017. He also met with officials of U.S Secretary of Defense and discussed bilateral relations and the situation in the region.

It is said that behind the policy pursued by king Salman stands his heir apparent. He is considered the initiator of war in Yemen and embargo on Qatar also an economic reformist. At the same time new heir apparent is said to have friendship relations with US ambassador to UAE. There are plenty of obstacles for heir apparent to become the king. It is known that most of the sons of king Abdulaziz are oil billionaires. The fortune and number of companies owned by the king Salman is unknown. Currently twelve sons of Abdulaziz are alive. Saudi royal members reached 7000 people, There are more than 4000 princes. Certainly each of them is considered as a candidate to become a king. It means in order for Muhammad to become a king other princes must be in an off side position.

It can be suggested that king Salman takes these measures for his heir apparent son. In other words, the path is being made for Muhammad to become a king and the obstacles that will hinder him in the future to rule the state need to be eliminated. King Salman suffers from Alzheimer's disease and due to his health he experiences problems to rule the state. Nevertheless, his main task is to keep the existing stability in the country. In addition, in the face of prince Muhammad new king needs to have greater influence. One of them in the first hand to bring order in the palace. In that direction process has already started. Amid the current situation in the region one of the important issues is to have an influence in the society and acceptance by royal segments. Last week prince Muhammad announced that he will invest $ 500 billion to develop business zone. He said promotion of moderate Islam will be the key to his modernizing dream for his country. He told reporters that 70% of Saudi population is below age of 30: “Youth wants to live a life in which our religion translates to tolerance, to our traditions of kindness.”

In addition, the heir apparent promised to eliminate in the short time the remains of extremism: “The government also plans to make investments in entertaining sector. Organization of concerts have been resumed. Cinema theaters are expected to open. We are returning to what we were before - a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions, traditions and people around the globe. We want to live a normal life. A life in which our religion translates to tolerance, to our traditions of kindness.”

Despite the resistance of conservative religious believers, crown prince announced that next year he will lift ban on women driving.

“70% of Saudi population is below age of 30. We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today.”

In September, women were for the first time allowed to attend the National Day celebrations in King Fahd stadium in Riyadh. In 2018, for the first time in the history of the kingdom women will be allowed to attend all sport events. Families will be allowed to enter the stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam cities. This is the next step that expands the rights of Saudi women who lived under gender discrimination law.

Saudi Arabia sport officials said preparing special sections in three selected stadiums from early next year in another step toward opening public spaces to women. As part of preparations the stadiums will have restaurants, cafes and TV monitors. Earlier only men were allowed to enter stadiums.

Despite these reforms, women who follow ultra conservative Wahhabi sect of Islam still continue to live in Saudi Arabia under strict restrictions. According to that, the women should follow strict clothes regulations and avoid communicating with strange men. If they want to travel, work and use medical services they must have a written permission of their guardian. There are three UN members in the world named as dynasty states: Principality of Liechtenstein, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is going through major changes. There are very serious problems in this country. Will 32-year-old crown prince and 82-year-old king cope with them? It’s necessary to take into account that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considered one of the religious and cultural centers in the world. This country is also one of the biggest oil producers in the world. Multiple social, cultural, national, religious rights of the society still have not been ensured. The current authority needs to struggle in several directions: Against those who oppose the reforms, pro-Iranian forces, religious extremists, terrorists, separatists trying to violate territorial integrity of the country, Arab states that want to downgrade kingdom’s influence and its opponents in oil market and so on.

Therefore, crown prince Mohammad bin Salman and his team is expected to carry out revolutionary reforms in coming years. This process may cost king Salman, heir apparent, reform supporters their lives and lead to the end of the kingdom. Nevertheless, there is no other way than reforms for existence of Saudi Arabia in the future. This is formula of its existence.

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