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June 21, 2017 11:47 am

Saudi King Appoints Son as Crown Prince in Move With Possible Implications for Israel

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Mohammed bin Salman, the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has promoted his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, to crown prince, making him next in line to be king. The move reportedly may have implications for Israeli-Saudi ties and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Prince Salman, who had been serving as defense minister, replaces the previous crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, a nephew of King Salman.

The move comes as Saudi Arabia is dealing with low oil prices, its rivalry with Iran, a dispute with Qatar, and civil wars in Yemen and Syria. As defense minister, Prince Salman sought to boost ties with the US as well as to overhaul and diversify the Saudi economy, which is heavily dependent on oil.

Israel, meanwhile, is reportedly in talks to establish economic ties with Saudi Arabia. According to Arab and American sources, the two sides are discussing allowing Israeli businesses to operate in the Arab Gulf as well as letting Israel’s El Al airline to fly over Saudi airspace, the London Times reported. Mohammed bin Salman has been in talks with Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, about improving Saudi ties with Israel as a step toward Israeli-Palestinian peace, the report added.

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