Saudi King Salman announces new heir in generational shifts

Saudi Arabia's King Salman appoints his powerful interior minister as heir to throne and his son as second in line, along with series of generational shifts that replaced the world’s longest serving foreign minister

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz appointed Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef as his new heir on Wednesday and made his son, Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, second-in-line to succeed.

In the first three months of his ruling, Abdulaziz made what could only be described as “historic and transitional” decisions, starting from his military let coalition intervening in Yemen last March, to the generational government shifts announced early today.

Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman is only 30 years old, his naming as deputy crown prince locks the heir run for decades to come.

Current heir Prince Mohammed bin Nayef served as Ministry of interior since 2012 and headed the kingdom's security forces for a decade before that, a period in which he faced an al Qaeda uprising in Saudi Arabia and developed close ties with the United States.

Nayef is now 55, studied in Lewis and Clark University in the US, trained in the Scotland Yard and received FBI security courses.

Prince Nayef replaced Prince Muqren bin Abdul Aziz, who is the son of a non-royal Yemeni mother.

King Salman has publicly announced that Prince Muqren was replaced upon his own request, “Prince Muqren sent me a written request asking for his exemption of being the crown prince,” said King Salman to Saudi state TV.

“Prince Nayef will always be greatly regarded and we will always value his opinion,” added the King.

A few hours after the dramatic reshuffle, King Salman ordered on Wednesday a one-month salary bonus for all military and security personnel to convey his "appreciation of their efforts", the official SPA news agency announced in reference to the Saudı military efforts in the “Decisive Storm,” targeting Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes on Yemen have not stopped since last March after the end of the operation, most recently an airport runway was destroyed in Sanaa this morning, according to Reuters.

Saudi General Assiri said Iranian planes were ignoring direct orders to turn back or change destination, so the runway was destroyed and made unfit to receive any aircrafts of any kind.

TRTWorld and agencies