Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, First Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia and the youngest minister of defense in the world. Prince Mohammad also chief of the House of Saudi Royal Court and Chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. He was appointed as Crown Prince in June 2017.
Â· Early life:
Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud was born on 31 August 1985 in Jeddah. He is the son of King Salman from his third spouse Fahda Bint Falah bin Sultan bin Hathleen. Prince Mohammad holds a bachelor's degree in law from King Saud University.
After graduation from University, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman spent several years in the private sector before becoming the personal aide of his father. He worked as a consultant for the Experts Commission, working for the Saudi Cabinet.
On 15 December 2009, Mohammad Bin Salman entered politics as a special advisor to his father when the latter was the governor of Riyadh Province. At this time, the prince began to collect titles and senior positions such as secretary-general of the Riyadh Competitive Council, special advisor to the chairman of the board for the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives, and a member of the board of trustees for Albir Society in the Riyadh region.
In October 2011, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz died, and the King Salman began his ascent to power by becoming second deputy prime minister and defense minister in November 2011 and choosing Mohammad bin Salman his private advisor.
Â· Chief of the Court:
In June 2012, Crown Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud died and Prince Mohammad moved up into the number two position in the hierarchy, as his father became the new Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister. He soon began remaking the court in his own image.
On 2 March 2013, the chief of the Crown Prince court Prince Saud Bin Nayef was appointed governor of the Eastern Province and Prince Mohammad succeeded him in the post. He was also given the rank of minister. On 25 April 2014, Prince Mohammad was appointed as state minister.
Â· Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince:
On 23 January 2015, King Abdullah died and Salman took the throne and Prince Mohammad was appointed as Minister of Defense. He was also named as the secretary general of the Royal Court on the same date. In addition, he retained his post as the minister of the state.
The first major event in his tenure as defense minister was Operation Decisive Storm, part of the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, an operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen in 2015. While Prince Mohammad sold the war as a quick win on Houthi rebels in Yemen and a way to put Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back in power, however, it became a long war of attrition.
In Syria, in early 2015, Saudi Arabia supported the creation of The Army of Conquest mainly made up of the Al-Qaeda affiliate - Al-Nusra Front - and the ideologically similar Ahrar al-Sham.
Muhammad bin Nayef and Prince Mohammad respectively became Crown Prince and Deputy Crown Prince.
In late 2015, Prince Mohammad bin Salman attended a meeting between King Salman and U.S.
President Barack Obama. Prince bin Salman announced an anti-terrorist military alliance of Islamic Countries in December 2015. On 4 January 2016, Prince Mohammad gave his first on-the-record interview, while talking to The Economist.
As defense minister, Prince Mohammad has been heavily involved in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
Although all agreed that the kingdom had to respond when the Houthis seized the Yemeni capital and forced the government into exile, Prince Bin Salman took the lead, launching the war in March 2015.
Mohammad bin Salman was appointed Crown Prince on 21 June 2017, following his father's decision to depose Muhammad Bin Nayef, making him heir apparent to the throne.
Political and Economic reforms:
On 29 January 2015, Prince Mohammad was named as the chair of the newly established Council for Economic and Development Affairs, replacing the disbanded Supreme Economic Commission. Prince bin Salman was given control over Saudi Aramco by Royal decree 48 hours after being appointed Deputy Crown Prince.
Prince bin Salman's stated concern in 2015-2016 was to reform Saudi's economy towards a more diversified and privatized structure. His reform blueprint, "Vision 2030" details goals and measures in various fields, from developing non-oil revenues and privatization of the economy to e-government and sustainable development. In an interview with Al Arabia he also shared his idea for "Green Cards" for non-Saudi foreigners.
Prince Mohammad Bin Salman's biggest bet was his plan to restore the Saudi kingdom's dominance in global oil markets by driving the new competition into bankruptcy, by keeping the oil price low enough for a long enough period. Saudi Arabia persuaded OPEC to do the same.
In Saudi Arabia, Bin Salman enjoys advantages including an ability to connect with the kingdom's youthful population "in ways the older generation cannot," said James Dorsey, a senior fellow for the Middle East and North Africa at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. "Fulfilling expectations, particularly in terms of social and economic prospects, is the key.
Mohammad Bin Salman established himself as the chairman of the Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Foundation, which aims to help disadvantaged youth. The foundation was a partner of the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum for Change in 2015. The foundation focuses on the country's youth and provides different means of fostering talent, creative potential, and innovation in a healthy environment that offers opportunities in arts and sciences. The foundation pursues these goals by establishing programs and partnering with local and global organizations. It intends to develop intellectual capability in youth, as well as unlock the potential of all Saudi citizen.