Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, March 2014
Saudi Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz Named Second-in-Line to Succeed King Abdullah
Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief, second deputy prime minister, and second in succession
Muqrin named deputy crown prince
Arab News, March 28, 2014
Saudi Arabia’s second deputy premier, Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz, has been named deputy crown prince, thus becoming the next in line for the post, the Royal Court announced Thursday in a decree issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The appointment makes Prince Muqrin, the youngest son of the Kingdom’s founder King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, next in line to ascend the Saudi throne after King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.
“Prince Muqrin will be appointed crown prince in the absence of a crown prince and named king of the country in the absence of both the king and the crown prince,” the royal decree said.
King Abdullah emphasized that nobody would be allowed to change the appointment of Prince Muqrin as deputy to the crown prince or replace him since the Allegiance Council has approved his new appointment.
He said both himself and Crown Prince Salman signed a document to
this effect on March 20.
King Abdullah said Prince Muqrin would continue in his present
position as second deputy premier.
Prince Muqrin has held many important positions in the government, including director of intelligence and governor of Hail and Madinah.
Born on Sept. 15, 1945, he graduated with a degree in aeronautics from the Britain’s RAF College in Cranwell in 1968 and also acquired a master’s degree in military sciences. He also served in several positions in the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) until 1980, when he was appointed governor of Hail.
Saudi king appoints deputy crown prince
Prince Muqrin’s appointment cannot be altered in any manner
Gulf News, By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief Published: 20:38 March 27, 2014
Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 68, will be Saudi Arabia’s next crown prince or king, a royal order has said.
Under the order issued by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on Thursday evening, Prince Muqrin, who kept his current post as second deputy premier, was appointed as deputy crown prince.
He will become the next crown prince in case of vacancy or the next king if both the posts of crown prince and king are vacant at the same time, King Abdullah said in a royal order carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
King Abdullah said that Prince Muqrin’s latest appointment could not be altered or replaced in any manner.
The order said that more than three quarters of the members of the commission tasked with choosing the rulers in Saudi Arabia have endorsed the nomination of Prince Muqrin as deputy crown prince.
The youngest surviving son of King Abdul Aziz was last year appointed as the kingdom’s second deputy prime minister, a post that has historically made the incumbent second in line to become king. It was formerly held by late King Fahad, King Abdullah, late Crown Prince Sultan and late Crown Prince Nayef.
The role allowed Prince Muqrin to be in charge of the day-to-day running of the government when both King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who is also first deputy prime minister, were physically unwell or were not in the country.
The appointment paves the way for the third generation of Saudi princes, the grandsons of late founder King Abdul Aziz, to rise up the ranks and take important positions in government.
Only three princes from the third generation currently serve in sensitive positions. They are Prince Saud Al Faisal, who has been foreign minister for almost 40 years, Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef, who has been interior minister since November 2012, and Prince Mitib Bin Abdul Aziz, who is minister of the National Guard.
The king established the Allegiance Council several years ago as a succession mechanism that aims to achieve consensus among senior princes in the ruling family. It is headed by his half brother, Prince Mish’al Bin Abdul Aziz. The council consists of 34 princes.
Prince Muqrin, an air force pilot, joined the Saudi Royal Air Force (RSAF) in 1964 and moved up gradually until he became president of operations and planning for the RSAF.
He was Governor of Hail from 1980 to 1999, when he became Governor of Madinah, a post he kept until 2005 when he was appointed director general of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency.
In July 2012, he was appointed King Abdullah’s advisor and special envoy with the rank of minister.
Prince Muqrin Named Second-in-Line to Succeed King
By Angus McDowall
RIYADH, Thursday, March 27, 2014, 4:18pm EDT
Saudi Arabia's Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief in the conservative Islamic kingdom, has been appointed deputy crown prince, making it likely he will one day become king.
The appointment makes Muqrin, the youngest son of the kingdom's founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud, next in line to succeed King Abdullah in the world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam after his half-brother Crown Prince Salman.
"Prince Muqrin is granted allegiance as deputy crown prince, a crown prince if the position becomes vacant and to be given allegiance as king of the country if both the positions of crown prince and king become vacant at the same time," a royal court statement said.
The announcement gives more assurance to the kingdom's long-term succession process at a time when Riyadh sees itself as being an island of stability amid conflict and political turmoil across the Middle East.
U.S. President Barack Obama visits Riyadh on Friday to meet King Abdullah at a time of frosty relations between the old allies over their differing approaches to the multiple crises afflicting the region.
U.S. Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks appear to show Muqrin as sharing Abdullahs's views that Western countries should take a strong line against Shi'ite Iran, which they see as pursuing an expansionist agenda in Arab countries.
In a 2009 cable, he was quoted telling diplomats that the Shi'ite crescent where the Muslim sect has traditionally held sway was in danger of "becoming a full moon" thanks to Iranian support for its coreligionists at the expense of Sunnis.
In the same cable, which recorded a conversation soon after Obama took office, he said of the new president, "I like his attitude", before adding "he'll meet the facts later... many people are not as good-hearted as he is".
Saudi criticisms of Obama's Middle East policy have revolved around their concerns that the White House has not stood up strongly enough to Iran or its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Muqrin, who trained as a fighter pilot in Britain in his youth, is seen as likely to continue the cautious economic and social reforms begun by King Abdullah, say analysts.
"He reads books. He's into music and art. I think he is from the more moderate school of Saudi politics," said Jamal Khashoggi, head of a television news station owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
King Abdullah turned 90 last year and Crown Prince Salman is 78.
Muqrin already holds the position of second deputy prime minister, a role to which he was appointed a year ago and was traditionally but informally seen as being equivalent to crown prince in waiting.
However, there is no formal line of succession in Saudi Arabia beyond the king and crown prince and some analysts had speculated that it would pass to another member of the ruling family. The role of deputy crown prince is a new creation.
Under rules governing the succession, drawn up by King Abdullah a decade ago, a new monarch is empowered to select an heir himself from within the ruling al-Saud family, so long as an internal council agreed to his choice.
Crown Prince Salman and that family body, the Allegiance Council, have accepted Muqrin as the deputy crown prince, SPA reported, indicating he will automatically become Salman's heir when King Abdullah dies.
Muqrin, a graduate of the British Royal Air Force Academy and former military pilot, was born in 1945 according to the Saudi embassy in Washington. He has also been governor of Hail and Medina provinces and a special adviser to King Abdullah.
By making Muqrin second-in-line to rule, King Abdullah is also delaying the moment when the al-Saud must make the difficult decision over how to move the succession to the next generation of the family.
As Muqrin is younger than some of his nephews who might otherwise qualify to become crown prince or king, his appointment would appear to rule them out of the running.
"It will be instructive in due course to see who follows Muqrin in the eventual line of succession as that is when the shift to the grandsons of King Abdulaziz will have to take place," said Kristian Ulrichsen, Gulf expert at the U.S.-based Baker Institute.
The fact the Allegiance Council formally agreed to the appointment is also significant. Set up by King Abdullah in 2006 to help clarify the kingdom's opaque succession process, it was not formally used in the appointments of either Crown Prince Salman or his predecessor, the late prince Nayef.
(Additional reporting by Sami Aboudi, Yara Bayoumy and Stephen Kalin, Editing by Janet Lawrence and Angus MacSwan)
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