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In less than six months since the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, the new king has made changes in the kingdom's leadership.Salman bin Abdul-Aziz has removed Abdullah's choice for crown prince in favor of a younger prince, replaced the world's longest serving foreign minister, streamlined decision-making, and created two powerful committees to oversee defense and economic issues. He has also promoted his 29-year-old son to be minister of defense and gave Prince Mohammad bin Salman command of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. When Iran sponsored a terrorist attack on U.S. Air Force barracks in Khobar in 1996, for example, Abdullah was careful not to let the attack escalate into a war with Iran. He managed the difficult days after the 9/11 attacks, when the U.S.-Saudi relationship was at risk of unraveling after reports that 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudis – then quietly opposed President George W. Bush's war in Iraq, which Abdullah worried would only strengthen Iran's influence in Iraq. Abdullah outlived two crown princes, Sultan and Nayef, and had appointed his half-brother Prince Muqrin to be third in line behind Salman.King Salman initially put Muqrin in the crown prince's position when Abdullah died, but then for reasons never explained removed him and put Mohammad bin Nayef in the job. King Salman rallied Saudi Arabia's traditional allies behind the war.
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