A handout file picture released by the Saudi Press Agency on March 26, 2015 shows Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman and Second Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef. AFP PHOTO/SPA/HO
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Saudi King Salman appointed a new heir and made his young son second in line to rule Wednesday, a major shift in power towards two princes who have overseen a more assertive stance at a time of almost unprecedented regional turmoil.By making Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, crown prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, 30, deputy crown prince, King Salman has effectively decided the line of succession for decades to come in the world's top oil exporter.The appointment of Mohammed bin Nayef, who has better ties to the American establishment than any other prince, may help alleviate such concerns, along with the appointment of Jubeir, who also enjoys close ties with figures throughout Washington.While Mohammed bin Nayef is a familiar figure both inside the kingdom and in the West for his role in quashing an Al-Qaeda uprising and leading Saudi policy in Syria, his successor as second in line to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, is comparatively unknown.It also ends concerns about a line of increasingly frail, aged kings after Salman, who is 80 this year, replaced the 90 year old Abdullah.
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