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Live Rostrum Who's Who 2022

Muhammad bin Salman

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

At the early age of 36, Muhammad bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, holds the roles of First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Défense, and President of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. The CIA also identified him as the person who ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Muhammad Bin Salman was quite unknown in the political and diplomatic circles of Saudi Arabia until 2015. He held many powerful and influential positions after his father acceded the throne in 2015. His first-ever position was minister of defense and he was also appointed as the Secretary-General of the Royal Court. After being selected as the chair of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, he was granted the authority of Saudi Aramco by royal order. Post the dismissal of Prince Muhammad Bin Al Nayef from all positions, he was declared the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

As defense minister, the young crown prince had to deal with critical military challenges to which Saudi Arabia is now committed. He is well recognized for his quick airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen. The Saudis also assist Bahrain’s monarchy as well as anti-Assad groups in Syria. His appointment as Crown Prince coincided with rising geopolitical tensions among Gulf Cooperation Council members and the severing of diplomatic ties with Qatar, which escalated into a full-fledged embargo before being lifted in January 2021.

The Crown Prince has been linked to several significant changes in the Kingdom, including allowing women to drive, obtain passports, and travel independently, the reopening of cinemas and the holding of pop concerts, a crackdown on corruption which included arresting different princes and the proposal to list Saudi Aramco on the stock exchange, to name a few.

As Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, the crown prince unveiled “Vision 2030,” a blueprint for Saudi Arabia’s long-term development. The ambitious plan aims to reconstruct Saudi Arabia’s economy by establishing the kingdom as a global investment powerhouse and weaning the country off its dependency on oil as its principal source of revenue. It also intends to boost government efficiency and foster a “tolerant, wealthy, and stable Saudi Arabia that gives everyone a chance.”

On the 2nd of October 2018, a renowned Saudi opposition journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi had many enemies in high places since he was forced into exile from Saudi Arabia in 2017 because of his critiques of authoritarian leadership and foreign policy. Although the Saudi government first denied any involvement in the murder, they were eventually compelled to confess that its officials were engaged, albeit they did not go as far as the CIA, which declared that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

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