The Crown Prince of Saudi is Mohammed bin Salman, who is the son of current King of Saudi Arabia King Salman, and grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud.
Mohammed bin Salman, often referred to as MBS in the US and UK, was appointed as the Crown Prince by his father King Salman Bin Abdulaziz on June 21 last year, and named as his father’s successor, much to the displeasure of his rival Princes.
Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud was born on 31 August 1985. He is the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, from the King’s third wife, Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan bin Hathleen.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the eldest of his mother’s children; while he has many half brothers and sisters to the King’s many other wives, his full siblings include Turki bin Salman, former chairman of SRMG, and Khalid bin Salman. Prince Mohammed graduated from King Saud University where he earned his Bachelor’s in Law.
The ambitious Prince’s rather recent ascendancy began On 23 January 2015, when his uncle, King Abdullah died, and his father King Salman took the throne. Upon King Salman’s succession, he appointed his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as Minister of Defense and Secretary General of the Royal Court.
The Yemen situation rapidly became a major issue for the newly appointed Minister of Defence, with Houthi Rebels taking control of the northern regions of Yemen in toward the end of 2014 – this was shortly followed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and his cabinet announcing their resignation. One of the first actions of the newly appointed Defence Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, was to organize and mobilize a pan-GCC coalition to intervene with air strikes in Yemen, following a spate of suicide bombings in Sanaa. and impose a naval blockade.
In April 2015 Prince Mohammed bin Salman became the Deputy Crown Prince, as appointed by his father King Salman’s royal decree. After just over a year of occupying this position Mohammed was promoted to the number 2 spot of Crown Prince.
On the day he Mohammed bin Salman became Crown Prince, US President Donald Trump called Riyadh to “congratulate him on his recent promotion”. President Trump and MBS agreed close cooperation on security and economic matters, the two leaders also discussed the need to eliminate support for terrorism in the region, the recent issues with Qatar, and the need to secure peace in Palestinians. Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post that without the US’s cultural and military influence that Saudi Arabia “would have ended up like North Korea”.
It is widely regarded that Mohammed bin Salman is now the unofficial ruler of Saudi Arabia, and the most powerful member of the Saudi Royal Family. The Crown Prince has recently been embroiled in scandal around the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was allegedly murder in Istanbul at the Saudi Consulate in early October. The killing, while not directly linked to MBS, has cast further doubt on the young Prince’s ability to make sound judgements. Only a year ago a large “anti-corruption” purge raised international suspicion that the Prince was “eliminating rivals” through a series of arrests and imprisonments. Several leading members of the Saudi Royal Family, including Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd, still remain missing and are suspected dead.
The Crown Prince is also Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, and has invested heavily in both Uber and Lucid Motors. More recently MBS spearheaded the Royal Family’s investment in the Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF with a $500 million dollar investment.