What is happening in Saudi Arabia?

What is happening in Saudi Arabia is nothing but change. What has caught everyone by surprise is the pace of it. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has made some striking changes at the highest level of the Saudi Government and its structure. The 32-year-old crown prince is said to be strengthening his hold on the throne and is virtually the ruling person under King Salman who is growing old. The effects of the November 4 events not only changed the equations internally in Saudi but attracted the attention of leaders worldwide.

All these events began from Sunday afternoon when the then serving Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri announced his resignation from Riyadh, the Saudi Capital. A few hours later the news channels began streaming news that a Yemen-brone ballistic missile had been intercepted over Riyadh and this was the point when many high ranking Saudi Princes and businessmen were being sacked and detained under the anti-corruption drove led by Crown Prince Salman. His actions burst the bubble of the royal family being untouchable, unquestionable, elite with absolute power.

Background

In the past few months, the Crown Prince has occupied the center stage n Saudi Arabia after his appointment as the Crown Prince in June 2017. His reform ideas and implementing speed has surprised everyone in the oil-rich country which is a powerful country considering its hold over the middle-east and vast oil reserves.

In October the Crown prince made moves to end the ancient pact between Saudi Wahhabist clerics and the ruling class by demanding a more open and moderate Islam in the country. He has openly led the battle against the fundamentalist forces in Saudi by stripping the infamous Haia religious police os its power and has even lifted the long existed and mocked law against the women which did now allow them to drive. All these liberalizations of laws have enraged many fundamentalist sections in the country.

He has worked actively in diversifying the existing economy and the long dependency of the countries economy on fossil fuels. He has encouraged measures to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, investment and other means to diversify the economy.

Recognizing that an economy wholly reliant on fossil fuel revenues is not sustainable, he has pushed for a modernized economy that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and outside investment.

Who is Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman?

Mohammad Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is popularly known as Prince MBS. He was appointed as Deputy Crown Prince. In June 2017 the then Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Nayef was removed from all positions and this move made Mohammad Bin Salman the Crown Prince Of Saudi Arabia.  He is the first Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia and the youngest Defence Minister in the world. He is quite a powerful the Saudi System and calls shots on behalf of the King who is also his father.

What is his plan?

Vision 2030 was introduced by the crown prince in April 2016, Vision 20130 is a strategic plan and showcases the orientation of Saudi till 20130. It aims at diversification of the Saudi economy and reduces the dependency on fossil fuels, it includes privatization of the economy and developing non-oil revenues through developing IT and promoting tourism in the country. Apart from his plan is to restore the declining Saudi dominance in the oil market by making the competition so high that new players find it hard t enter this sector. E even convinced OPEC to keep the oil prices low so that the competition is as low as possible. His plan worked only for a short period of time as other producers shut operations temporarily and waited for the prices to rise again to which finally Saudi Arabia had to give in.

What exactly happened?

On November 4th, a whopping number of 11 Saudi royal princes and four government ministers had been arrested in lieu of the ongoing crackdown against corruption.

Major faces like Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal who is a major investor in Citigroup, Twitter and other multi-national companies was also arrested. The arrest of Saudi princes and ministers took place ironically in the same hotel where a few days back they were together celebration Saudi advancement in IT and AI. His crackdown is a part of greater move to secure power and build his image as the final authority to whom everyone is answerable. He will take reigns of the Kingdom from his father who is the last of the original visionaries of Saudi Arabia. The rise of Crown Prince was evident when he was appointed as the crown prince over the much more older and experienced brother Mohammed Nin Nayef in June. He also took control of all internal security functions by giving those powers to Presidency of State Security which is directly answerable to him and his father King Salman.

What many suggest is that he will continue his campaign against Yemen and work towards a more liberal Saudi with greater focus on diversification of the economy.

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