What to Expect from the New Saudi Crown Prince

(National Interest) Bruce Riedel - The selection of Prince Nayef, 78, to succeed Prince Sultan as the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia ushers in the beginning of big changes at the top of the royal family in the midst of the Arab awakening. The new crown prince is very close to the country's Wahhabi clerical establishment and has long been among the most skeptical in the family about reforming the country to allow greater freedom for women, Shia and any form of dissidence. King Abdullah is in poor health, so Nayef may become king sooner rather than later. The powerful post of defense minister must be filled and the odds favor Sultan's eldest son, Khaled, but he is not a certainty. Khaled led Saudi forces last year in a campaign in northern Yemen against rebel Houthi tribes, which was not very successful. Saudi losses were high, and the rebels were never defeated. The writer, a career CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

2011-11-04 00:00:00

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