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Saudi King ousts nephew, names son as crown prince

22 Juin 2017

Women, who face some of the world's harshest restrictions in Saudi Arabia, are expected to constitute 30 percent of the workforce by 2030, up from 22 percent now.

Mohammed bin Salman's elevation to first-in-line to the throne comes at the expense of his cousin, the now former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz.

Iran's state TV says the Saudi Arabian monarch's decision to promote his high-profile son to crown prince amounts to a "soft coup".

Until Wednesday, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef looked poised to become Saudi Arabia's next king.

Although Bin Salman has a reputation for interacting in an impulsive and often abrasive manner, particularly with regards to global relations, Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, does not anticipate the newly appointed heir to the Saudi throne rushing to reconfigure the country's current strategy for oil. He's now the heir to the throne of his 81-year-old father.

Here's a look at major royal members in the history of the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom that's a longtime USA ally and top oil producer, and key figures in the latest reshuffle. The young prince reportedly became close to King Abdullah in the monarch's later years, where the relative liberal and his nephew bonded over a shared vision for the kingdom's future.

Prior to the royal decree, Bin Nayef, 57, was in line to the throne; he was also dismissed from his post as the Minister of Interior.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of oil, was dealt a serious blow when oil prices plummeted in 2014. He previously served as an adviser to the interior and defense ministries.

Crown Prince Mohammed has adopted a hard line against Iran, ruling out any dialogue.

The move to appoint him as successor has seen Saudi's stock-market up 3.5% today.

HRH Crown Prince also sent a congratulatory cable to HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defence Minister, on his appointment to his posts, wishing him every success.

Michael Hanna, senior fellow at Washington-based think-tank The Century Foundation, wrote on Twitter that Mohammed bin Nayef's removal also represented "the loss of a long-standing, trusted United States (counter-terrorism) partner". In Washington as well, the outgoing crown prince was the most prominent figure in the relationship, and whose intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation helped make many careers.

He is also thought to have led efforts to court the favours of Donald Trump in the US President's recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

"Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said this is the first time Saudi Arabia has such a young prospective king".

"The more time goes by, the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the (United Arab Emirates)", she said. He had come to pledge his loyalty and give his blessing to Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who bowed to kiss his hand, in a show of respect.

Saudi Arabia accused Doha of supporting Shiite rebels in the eastern Saudi state of Al-Qatif and in Bahrain, in addition to supporting the Houthi group in Yemen, according to the statement, which added that all these groups are backed by Iran.

The move is likely to rattle Iran's leadership, which has been critical of comments by Prince Mohammed last month that the "battle" should be taken into Iran.

Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and by extension the U.S. of having a hand in the deadly terror attacks in the heart of the Iranian capital.