Salman Bin AbdulAziz
On January 22nd, 2015, following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the country had a new leader, Salman Bin AbdulAziz, or King Salman. In this article, we shall discuss King Salman, his role in the Saudi Arabian government, and as well as his policies since coming to power.
King Salman is the current head of state of Saudi Arabia. He came to power in January of 2015. However, before holding the top political position in Saudi Arabia, Salman Bin AbdulAziz held the positions of Defense Minister for Saudi Arabia, as well as the position of Deputy Prime Minister. However, before these national posts, he was the governor of Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia (CNN, 2015). As reports state “Under his governorship the Saudi capital has developed from a mid-size oasis town into a major urban metropolis with a population of more than 5 million. He served as Deputy Governor of Riyadh from March 1954 to April 1955, and Governor of Riyadh from April 1955 to December 1960 and again from February 1963 to Nov. 5, 2011” (Calabrese, 2015). Thus, according to analysts, Salman set Riyadh on a great economic transformation (CNN, 2015). Furthermore, some analysts have stated that he did so with strong leadership, and without corruption, something that has been helpful for Salman in the eyes of citizens (CNN, 2015).
Policies Following Salman as King of Saudi Arabia
Almost immediately after coming to power, King Salman put loyalists in top political posts, a move that seems to shore up his support at head of state. For example, on Friday January 23rd, 2015, he called for “[T]he appointments of his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as defence chief, head of the royal court and special adviser, and of Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as second in line to the throne, coincided with King Salman’s first public remarks as king” (Yahoo, 2015). Thus, it seems that he is thinking ahead to when power will be transitioned again from Salman to his family. Along with these moves, Moqren Bin AbdulAziz is the Deputy Crown Prince, and would be the next Saudi Leader after King Salman (Yahoo, 2015).
However, Ian Timberlake (2015) reported that shortly after coming to power Salman Bin AbdulAziz “further cemented his hold on power, with a sweeping shakeup that saw two sons of the late King Abdullah fired, and the heads of intelligence and other key agencies replaced alongside a cabinet shuffle. Top officials from the Ports Authority, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the conservative Islamic kingdom’s religious police were among those let go.” Namely, “SPA said Salman “issued a royal order today, relieving Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Chief of General Intelligence, of his post.” General Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Humaidan became the new intelligence chief, holding cabinet rank” (Timberlake, 2015) Furthermore, “A separate decree said Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of Abdullah, was removed from his posts as Secretary General of the National Security Council and adviser to the king” (Timberlake, 2015). Moreover, “Two sons of the late monarch were also fired: Prince Mishaal, governor of the Mecca region, and Prince Turki, who governed the capital Riyadh” (Timberlake, 2015).
Along with purging some members of the Saudi Royal family from power, he also made a move to attract good will with Saudi citizens, giving financial bonuses (in the way of two months salary) to those serving in the military and in the Saudi civil government ranks. He also did this for students and those on pensions in Saudi Arabia (Timberlake, 2015).
Calabrese, J. (2015). King Salman: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know. Heavy.com. Available Online: http://heavy.com/news/2015/01/salman-new-king-saudi-arabia-crown-prince-defense-minister-wife-married-children-sons/
CNN (2015). Who is Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman? Friday January 23, 2015. Available Online: http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/23/middleeast/who-is-saudi-arabia-king-salman/index.html
Timberlake, I. (2015). New King Announces Major Government Shake-up. AFP and Yahoo News. January 30th, 2015. Available Online: http://news.yahoo.com/saudi-king-announces-major-government-shake-royal-decrees-220346263.html
Yahoo (2015). Saudi King Salman Cements Power With Appointments. January 23rd, 2015. Available Online: http://news.yahoo.com/king-salman-pledges-no-change-saudi-direction-093749369.html