Mohammed bin Salman

Mohammed bin Salman, 1985–, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, b. Riyadh. The son of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, he received a law degree from King Saud Univ. (2007) and then worked in government and for several of the royal family's businesses and foundations. In 2015, after his father became king, he was placed in charge of the state oil company, the national investment fund, the country's economic policy, and the defense ministry; in the latter post he oversaw the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen's civil war. He also has worked to liberalize some of the country's restrictive customs and laws and for diversification of the oil-dependent economy.

In 2017 Mohammed was named crown prince, displacing the heir apparent Mohammed bin Nayef. He consolidated his control over Saudi security forces and the government, and was seen as the country's de facto ruler, responsible for leading an economic embargo against Qatar in retaliation for allegedly destabilizing the region and for attempting to force Lebanon's Prime Minister Hariri to resign in order to discredit Hezbollah. He had several hundred wealthy Saudis, including royal family members, detained on corruption charges; many were released after financial settlements totaling billions of dollars. The country also moved increasing harshly against dissidents at home and abroad; the premeditated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in İstanbul damaged the prince and country's reputation. He later said he took full responsibility for the killing, but denied ordering it; the UN found credible evidence of his involvement, and in 2021 the US government released a report directly tying him to the crime.

See B. Hubbard, The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman (2020).

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