King Salman’s accession

King Salman dispatches Al-Abdullah, hands more power to Mohammed Bin Salman

Saudi Arabia’s new king did not wait long to restructure institutions and bring fresh faces into government, in changes which have given yet more influence to his son Mohammed and strengthened the position of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. King Salman also promised money to his subjects, in a display of traditional Al-Saud largesse.

This 10-page special report, originally published within GSN Issue 986, analyses the winners and losers in King Salman's new government, the new balance of power within the Al-Saud and the likely impact on domestic, energy and foreign policies – including GCC relations, and policies towards US, Syria, Iran and Yemen.
Published 5 February 2015.

Pages: 10
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In this report

Salman reshuffles government, disbands supreme councils

King Salman Bin Abdelaziz’s 29 January decrees outlined significant changes to government, including the return of ministers from the Al Al-Sheikh, the amalgamation of the ministries of education and higher education, and the introduction of 11 new faces to government. GSN analyses the changes, including profiles of new government ministers.
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The rise of Mohammed Bin Salman

King Salman’s son Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has been propelled into the limelight by his father’s accession to the throne. He has been gaining in power and influence for some time, but until now has had no formal government role; suddenly, he finds himself minister of defence, chief of the Royal Court, special adviser to the king, president of the newly formed Council of Economic and Development Affairs and a member of the parallel Council of Political and Security Affairs.
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The changing fortunes of the Al-Abdullah

Among the clearest losers in King Salman’s 29 January decrees were the sons of the late King Abdullah. Abdullah had placed several of his sons in important positions in the past two years, and the speed at which King Salman removed them was surprisingly bold.
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Condolences for King Abdullah

Dignitaries from around the world came to Saudi Arabia in the days following King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz’s death, to pay their respects and greet the new leadership (see our special issue).As is customary, the funeral prayers were performed hours after his death, in the afternoon of 23 January at Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.
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Obama meets King Salman

US President Barack Obama flew into Riyadh with a large delegation on 27 January, to meet the new Saudi king, Salman Bin Abdelaziz, and offer condolences on the death of his predecessor Abdullah. Obama, who had called King Salman from Air Force One on 24 January to express his sympathies, cut short a visit to India to go to Riyadh for a few hours, during which he observed various protocols and held a meeting with the king.
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Oil policy expected to remain consistent

It is a safe guess to assume that the overall direction of Saudi energy policy will rest unchanged, in the veteran hands of petroleum and mineral resources minister Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, policy planners steeped in Saudi Aramco’s values and a Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources where the king’s son Prince Abdelaziz Bin Salman is an established player. Within this constellation of energy policy-making, institutional changes have, though, changed the princely pecking order – with Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS)’s dazzling rise reflected in his chairmanship of the new Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), which seems likely to play a role in approving decisions made in energy, finance and other sectors.
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Bahrain's Economic Performance

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Gulf boundaries and hydrocarbons infrastructure

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The Gulf region: economy and society

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Iraqi Kurdistan hydrocarbons infrastructure map

Revised in January 2015, this map provides a detailed overview of hydrocarbons infrastructure in the Kurdistan area of Iraq.

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