King Salman of Saudi Arabia shook up the kingdom’s cabinet on Thursday, naming new ministers and security chiefs but keeping the levers of power firmly in the hands of his son and designated heir, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia and its 33-year-old crown prince have been under heavy international scrutiny since a team of Saudi agents killed and dismembered the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.
Western intelligence agencies have concluded that Prince Mohammed knew about and most likely ordered the plot to kill Mr. Khashoggi. And the prince has directed the Saudi military campaign in Yemen that has contributed to a humanitarian crisis and drawn growing opposition in the West.
But the Saudi monarch, almost 83 years old, has shown no signs of lessening his son’s near-total control over the kingdom. The cabinet shake-up on Thursday was no exception, as many of those promoted were close associates of Prince Mohammed. [Continue reading…]