Saudi King changes line of succession
The royal family in Saudi Arabia is facing major changes: ageing King Salman has passed over the first in line to the throne and named his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince. The new heir is already defence minister and deputy prime minister. What changes will the young heir to the throne bring?
Reformer and hawk all in one
As regards domestic policy Mohammed bin Salman's rise is promising but it could be problematic when it comes to foreign policy, Hospodářské noviny notes:
“The crown prince was at the head of a team that worked out a new vision for Saudi Arabia until 2030. The plan foresees a few privatisations and shifts some of the emphasis away from oil in a bid to prevent the country from collapsing in the post-oil era. The document contains terms like modernisation and sustainable development. ... However the naming of the new crown prince also has a foreign policy dimension. ... With his move, the old king has made it clear that in future the monarchy will be ruled by a hawk who will be the first to draw the sword in conflicts with Iran.”
House of Saud's authority no longer sacrosanct
The heir to the throne would do better to reform his country than exacerbate the conflict with Iran, Il Sole 24 Ore urges:
“As he said in his interview on the TV channel Al Arabiya, the young crown prince believes that 'the war must be fought in Iran before it reaches Saudi Arabia'. ... However, the truth is that the Saudis have been pushed into a corner, and the conflict has increasingly penetrated their own, Sunni ranks. The Koran and the holy city of Mecca, which Riyadh watches over, give the country's absolute monarchy its authority, but the monarchy seems to be losing its sacrosanct status. A war against Iran is less likely to save Saudi Arabia than true reforms - provided, that is, that the regime is at all reformable.”