Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince tours UK, US instead of King Salman

Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince tours UK, US instead of King Salman

Today, Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) arrives in London before heading to the US for meetings with political leaders and investors.

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Photo: Getty

Today, Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) arrives in London before heading to the US for meetings with political leaders and investors. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince will first visit PM Theresa May to discuss terrorism, extremism and the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

MbS draws attention for spearheading his Vision 2030 reform plans centred around dismantling the ultra-conservative Wahhabi clerical elite’s influence on the House of Saud. Since becoming crown prince in 2017, MbS has severed ties with Qatar, allowed women to drive and reeled in Saudi Arabia’s religious police.

Notably, it is the crown prince embarking on this mission, not 82-year-old King Salman, who is responsible for overseeing his son’s ascension to power, most recently by shuffling top military personnel. This move gives MbS even more control in Saudi affairs, especially in the endeavour to lead the coalition against Iran’s growing presence in the region. Given Britain’s imperative role in Saudi Arabia’s arms supply and President Donald Trump’s antagonism of Iran, the prince’s visits to these key allies are essential to bolstering his international support network as Saudi Arabia’s emerging face of power and change.

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