Meet Saudi Arabia's PM Mohammed bin Salman aka 'Mr Everything'
Dubai, Sep 28: Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a visionary yet controversial personality, has been appointed Prime Minister on Tuesday by royal decree.
The Crown Prince, who is heir to the throne held by King Salman, already wields wide powers and is seen as the kingdom's day-to-day leader.
The 37-year-old crown prince, who is widely known by the acronym MBS, will replace the King as the Prime Minister while Prince Khalid bin Salman will become Defence Minister, according to a report in Gulf News.
Who is Prince Mohammed bin Salman?
Mohammed bin Salman was born on August 31, 1985. He is the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Fahda, one of his father's four wives. He was brought up with his mother at Riyadh Palace and five brothers. Notably, he is one of the hundreds of grandchildren of the country's founder King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.
Prince Mohammed, who holds a bachelor's degree in law from King Saud University, is married to Sara bint Mashour Al Saud and they have five children (three boys and two girls). It is interesting to note that unlike other Saudi royals, he has only one wife.
His Journey in Politics
After completing his graduation, he worked in private sector before becoming a special adviser to his father, who was the then Governor of Riyadh.
Once the King came to power in 2015, Salman was made Defence Minister, but soon he became a de facto ruler as he handled many portfolios. That earned him the monicker "Mr Everything." In fact, his meteoric rise began at the cost of his cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as he replaced him to become the heir to the throne in 2017.
A workaholic, who takes inspiration from Winston Churchill and Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War', has big ambitions and brought in lot of reforms as a de factor Prime Minister.
From reopening cinemas to allowing women to drive, his initiates have won appreciation from various quarters. Not to forget, Saudi Arabia has staged a Formula One Grand Prix, professional wrestling, rave festival, operas, film festival and heavyweight boxing, the credit for which largely goes to him.
He also batted for a "moderate" Saudi Arabia and envisions an economy less dependent on oil. "All we are doing is going back to what we were -- a moderate Islam that is open to all religions and open to the world. Seventy per cent of the Saudi population is under 30 and, honestly, we will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with extremist ideas. We will destroy them today," he had once said.
On the flip side, from plotting his way to power to jailing his critics, he has his own share of controversies. His crackdown on dissent met with a lot of criticism in the western media.
The detentions of royal family's most influential members, Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, the youngest brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince and interior minister, did not go well with those who considered him as a progressive and a moderate man, considering his decision to ease restrictions on women's rights.
The gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October 2018, tarnished his image, globally.
He was accused of approving of an operation to capture or kill dissident journalist.