|Prince Salman Named Crown Heir of Saudi Arabia|
|Tue, 19 June 2012 08:54|
Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz was named on Monday as the Kingdom’s new Heir Apparent following the death of Crown Prince Naïf on Saturday.
Prince Salman, 76, was appointed Defense Minister after the passing of Prince Sultan, the then Crown Prince and long-serving Defense and Aviation Minister. It was the first ministerial post for Prince Salman who has been the Governor of Riyadh since 1962.
Saudi King Abdullah appointed on Monday his half-brother Prince Salman “Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister” while retaining him as Defense Minister.
Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz was appointed as Interior Minister, a position held by Crown Prince Naïf for over 30 years, state television Al-Ekhbariyah reported.
Prince Salman was widely believed to be the new Heir Apparent because of pragmatism and understanding of powers that dominate Saudi politics.
He is also seen as more moderate than his brother, the late Crown Prince.
Prince Salman belongs to the group of the so-called Sudairi Seven, all sons of the Kingdom’s Founder Abdulaziz al-Saud and wife Hassa bint-Ahmed al-Sudairi. His other brothers included former King Abdullah, and both the late Crown Princes, Sultan and Naïf. He is half-brother to the current King.
Prince Salman’s sons have successful businesses and also own two newspapers: Asharq al-Awsat and Arab News.
Under his leadership, the Defense Ministry announced plans to modernize the Armed Forces and also bought sophisticated fighter jets and other aircraft from both the U.S. and the UK.
In May the Kingdom signed a $3-billion deal with Britain to buy trainer jets for its Air Force and signed a near $30 billion deal and, as recently as Sunday, a German newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia wants to buy 600 to 800 Leopard Battle Tanks from Germany, at least twice the number previously expected.
Source: Al Arabiya: Al-Ekhbariyah – Photo: Reuters