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Saudi Interior Minister Mohammad bin Nayef, perhaps the most powerful younger prince in the ruling Al-Saud family, is shaping Riyadh's new emphasis on protecting the kingdom from a fresh wave of Islamist militancy inspired by the war in Syria.Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and National Security Agency director Keith Alexander all sat down with the 54-year-old, a veteran of Saudi Arabia's fight against Al-Qaeda.This month, King Abdullah decreed prison terms of 3-20 years for Saudis who go abroad to fight.So Mohammad, who has built trust with U.S. security officials over a decade of cooperation against Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, is playing a bigger role.Saudi Arabia still hopes to convince the United States to adopt a more muscular approach on Syria that would be able to counter both Assad and the rebel groups closest to Al-Qaeda.Mohammad narrowly survived that attack and was named interior minister in November 2012, inheriting a role held by his hard-line father, the late Crown Prince Nayef, for 37 years.
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