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34-Year-Old Saudi Crown Prince Consolidates His Power

  • Security forces arrested more princes, officials last week
  • Kingdom dumped consensus politics under Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.Photographer: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

When Saudi Arabia was ruled by an aged King Abdullah, half-brother of the current monarch, there was uncertainty about who would emerge as next in line to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter. That’s no longer an issue.

With the consolidation of power by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 34-year-old son of King Salman, 84, there’s no doubt about who’s tapped to become king. But the crackdown by the prince on his own relatives and other Saudi elites, coupled with last week’s decision to start an oil-price war with Russia, underscores broader concerns about the country’s stability.