[QODLink]
Middle East

Saudi Prince Muqrin named second-in-line

Ex-intelligence chief, 68, trained as a fighter pilot in UK in his youth and is currently second deputy prime minister.

Last updated: 27 Mar 2014 20:53
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz is the youngest son of the kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud [AFP]

Saudi Arabia's Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief in the kingdom, has been appointed deputy crown prince, making it likely he will one day become king.

The appointment makes Muqrin, the 68-year-old youngest son of the kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud, next in line to succeed 90-year-old King Abdullah in the world's top oil exporter after his half-brother Crown Prince Salman.

Muqrin already holds the position of second deputy prime minister, a role to which he was appointed a year ago and was traditionally but informally seen as being equivalent to crown prince in waiting.

The decision, announced in a royal decree, comes as a source close to the circle of power told the AFP news agency that current 79-year-old Crown Prince Salman was sick and "may decide not to claim the throne" because of his ill health.

"Prince Muqrin is granted allegiance as deputy crown prince, a crown prince if the position becomes vacant and to be given allegiance as king of the country if both the positions of crown prince and king become vacant at the same time," a royal court statement said.

Muqrin, who trained as a fighter pilot in Britain in his youth, is seen as likely to continue the cautious economic and social reforms begun by King Abdullah, say analysts.

US President Barack Obama will visit Riyadh on Friday to meet King Abdullah at a time of frosty relations between the old allies over their differing approaches to the multiple crises afflicting the region.

US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks appear to show Muqrin as sharing Abdullah's views that Western countries should take a strong line against Shia Iran, which they see as pursuing an expansionist agenda in Arab countries.

Saudi criticisms of Obama's Middle East policy have revolved around their concerns that the White House has not stood up strongly enough to Iran or its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

319

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.