Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ahmad b. Abd al-Aziz Out

Earlier this week, Ahmad b. Abd al-Aziz was outed as Saudi Arabia's Minister of the Interior, responsible for keeping public order in the kingdom.  His replacement was Muhammad b. Nayef, son of the former minister and crown prince who died several months ago:
Out went Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, who at 72 had held the job of minister only since June, when his half-brother and predecessor, Prince Nayef, who had filled the post for 37 years, died. In came Nayef’s son, Prince Muhammad, who had long served as his father’s chief assistant at the ministry, in charge of counter-terrorism...
The promotion of Prince Muhammad, a mere stripling at 53, has understandably sparked much speculation. The new interior minister has a reputation for quiet competence that is rare among Saudi princes. His anti-terror squad has successfully curtailed jihadist violence since a spate of attacks in 2003. The prince himself narrowly survived a particularly messy assassination attempt, when al-Qaeda tricked him into meeting a supposedly repentant operative who had concealed a suicide-bomb in his rectum.
This obviously runs contrary to my theory that Ahmad would eventually become crown prince as part of a desire to make descent from the group of princes known as the "Sudairi Seven" the principle of succession for the next generation.  Muhammad is such a prince, but Ahmad's removal suggests he may not be involved.  This does not, however, mean that Muhammad is the next king.  It may simply be that Muhammad is someone seen as better able to keep order, especially in the restive Shi'ite east of the kingdom.



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