Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman waves as he meets with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 11, 2017. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS
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The young prince named heir to Saudi Arabia's throne has built a reputation as a bold reformer intent on weaning the kingdom off oil and driving a far more aggressive foreign policy to counter the influence of archrival Iran.Mohammad bin Salman, 31, was appointed crown prince by his father King Salman Wednesday, replacing his cousin, who is 26 years his senior.If Prince Mohammad becomes king in his 30s, he would be the youngest monarch of the modern Saudi state.The prince's foreign policy is, meanwhile, reshaping the kingdom's role on the regional and global stage.Both decisions were indicative of a far more confrontational Saudi foreign policy, a break from the consensual style of Gulf Arab policymaking favored by previous generations of dynastic rulers, as the kingdom moved to act aggressively to counter the influence of Iran.Prince Mohammad has had a rapid ascent to power: Little more than two years ago he was almost unknown in the kingdom, but he quickly came to be regarded as the power behind its throne.For many Saudis, the kingdom's new economic and foreign policy directions have become inextricably associated with the prince who has built a strong public profile with media interviews, mainly about his economic ambitions.
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