Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
During the early hours of the Wednesday morning, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ordered a major Cabinet revamp. The changes included many top government’s official assignments, most notably the naming of Prince Mohammed bin Naif as crown prince and deputy premier; and Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince, second in line to the throne, in addition to his position as minister of defense and president of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs. Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel Al-Jubeir is now the foreign minister in place of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, who served on the job for nearly four decades. This is the first time that the post of the foreign minister is being headed by someone outside of the royal Saudi family. The assignment of Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the first time a grandson of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman, is in line to rule. That is the question many analysts has kept asking for decades as how the country is going to transfer power to the second generation. This might seem puzzle for the outsiders, but the Saudis knew it will be handled smoothly and transparently. Many stories did the round about obstacles that might face Saudi Arabia’s royal family when the time comes to seeing the younger generations at the helm, but as expected it was done smoothly and it was another normal day in the Kingdom. We often read a lot of analyses about the royal succession that are written by western and Arab political commentators and which reflect the lack of knowledge about the royal family and their relations with the Saudis in general. It is true the latest reshuffle is massive, but since the Kingdom is heading toward several social, political and economic reforms, these changes were but required. For outside observers however these changes come at a time when Saudi Arabia is continuing it road to prosperity and showing greater signs of stability despite a sea of violent unrest in the immediate surroundings. The nation led a 10-country coalition to flush out Houthi rebels to pull Yemen out from a tunnel of chaos and possible civil war. Yet Saudis never felt there was a war going on close to their southern borders. The daily life went on unaffected. From day one of the Decisive Storm, it was clear that the public was behind the government’s decision to protect its integrity and pull its neighbor from a devastating internal chaos. There was a strong solidarity between all threads of the Saudi society and all joined hands with the military in its sincere efforts to help Yemen. Saudi Arabia is now considered as one of the most stable and prosperous countries in the world. And the royal succession is never a worry for the Saudis and ironically this issue is talked about in the foreign press because what goes inside the Kingdom matters to the world. The world has seen thousands of Saudis who converged to the Saudi capital city of Riyadh to show their allegiance to the king, crown prince and deputy crown prince in the long known traditional way (Baya’h). Saudi Arabia has indicated that it will stay the course in in its foreign policy and will continue with its massive projects and developmental works in the country. The Saudis through the generous government allocated budgets for education and health care indicates that the government of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is always caring for the Saudis. The Saudi people since the establishment of the Kingdom in 1932 had always been behind the ruling family and will continue to do so to safe keep the security, stability and prosperity of the country. Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. The Smooth Transfer of Power reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.