Sep 27, 2022 - World

Saudi king names Mohammed bin Salman as prime minister

Mohammed bin Salman

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued a royal decree on Tuesday appointing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as prime minister.

Why it matters: The decree formalizes MBS’ status as the Saudi head of government after he acted as the de facto prime minister for several years.

  • King Salman had previously officially been as prime minister.
  • Tuesday's move also continues to lay the ground for a possible succession process in Saudi Arabia.

Driving the news: The decree was published by the Saudi official news agency as part of a broader announcement on a reshuffle in the Saudi government.

  • Prince Khalid Bin Salman, the king’s son and MBS’ younger brother, was promoted to defense minister.
  • Khalid was the Saudi ambassador to Washington when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in 2018. He left the post several months later in the aftermath of the killing, and was appointed deputy minister of defense.

Between the lines: The Saudi king's announcement comes several days after a visit by three of Biden’s senior advisers to Jeddah for a meeting with the crown prince.

  • The advisers included Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, Amos Hochstein, the special presidential coordinator for international energy security and infrastructure investment, and Tim Lenderking, special envoy for Yemen, according to a National Security Council spokesperson.
  • “The visit addressed ways of building on President Biden’s participation in the historic Jeddah Summit last July, including energy security, bolstering the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), and ending the conflict in Yemen," the spokesperson added.
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