Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudis pledged their allegiance on Wednesday to new Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who were both appointed by royal decree.
The decisions to appoint the new princes came as part of 25 royal decrees issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, announced at dawn on Tuesday.
King Salman named Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, who was previously Deputy Crown Prince, to replace Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, who was relieved of his post “upon his request,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Current Defense Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was named as the new Deputy Crown Prince to replace Prince Mohammed Bin Naif.
Prince Muqrin was among members of the royal family, as well as the numerous Saudi dignitaries, business leaders, religious figures and members of the public, who came to pledge their allegiance to the new princes in a traditional formal ceremony known as the Baya’a. Among those in attendance was Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh.
Reacting to the news US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Wednesday: “We will continue to maintain our close, productive relationship as we work together to address a number of serious challenges.”
“Our strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia is longstanding under multiple administrations, many different kings, and this will certainly continue. We’re confident that we will continue to enjoy a close and productive relationship with Saudi leaders,” she added.
Harf said numerous US officials have already worked closely with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and CIA Director John Brennan.
New Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif is known in Saudi Arabia as the “Scourge of Terrorists” due to his efforts at the Interior Ministry battling terror groups such as Al-Qaeda.