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Saudi Arabia’s next King secures power by confining Uncle to palace
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- According to officials, the Saudi prince removed as second-in-line to the throne last week, Mohammed bin Nayef, has been confined to his palace in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
- The move is reportedly a bid to ensure no challenge to his 31-year-old successor, the modernizing face of Saudi Arabia and son of ageing King Salman, Mohammed bin Salman, four former and current Saudi and U.S. officials told the New York Times.
- The restrictions on his movements came after the reshuffle on Wednesday but it is unclear how long they will last. In the reshuffle, King Salman also replaced Nayef as Interior Minister with 33-year-old Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud.
- But Riyadh has been at pains to show a united front after the shake-up, showing the new crown prince, commonly known by his moniker “MbS,” kissing the hand of the very uncle he was replacing. Nayef also pledged allegiance to his nephew in a public show of support after the decision.
- Bin Salman is viewed as an ambitious figure with international prestige, one who has carried out state visits to meet the likes of U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump in Washington and Vladimir Putin in Moscow in place of his elderly father.
- Bin Salman, who diplomats refer to as “Mr. Everything” because of his power, is leading a reformist program known as Vision 2030, aiming to appease the frustrations of a population of which over half are under 25 years old. It seeks social and economic change while diversifying the country’s economy away from oil.