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Feature Article

By Senior Analyst Talal Kapoor

The Deputy Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, although facing pressure on multiple fronts, has skillfully outmanouevred his adversaries by backing them into a corner. By making himself indispensable, he forces potential challengers to his place in the succession to accept an outcome they would not otherwise have chosen.
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Royal Family News
Governor of Makkah Receives Condolers
Prince Khalid al-Faysal bin Abd al-Aziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' adviser and governor of Makkah region, this evening received at his home in Jiddah for a third day a number of officials of the GCC countries, princes, ministers and members of the diplomatic corps of Arab, Islamic and friendly countries who offered condolences on the death of Prince Muhammad bin Faysal bin Abd al-Aziz.
Prince al-Walid bin Talal's Unpaid Utility Bill Electrifies Twitter
A controversy over a Saudi billionaire's unpaid utility bill has seen Twitter light up - with the matter becoming a trending topic in the Kingdom
Governor of Makkah Performs Funeral Prayer on Prince Muhammad al-Faysal
Prince Khalid al-Faysal bin Abd al-Aziz, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Region, performed following Afternoon Prayer (Asr), at the Grand Mosque, funeral prayer on Prince Muhammad al-Faysal bin Abd al-Aziz, who passed away.
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Saudi Business News
Universities under probe for financial discrepancies
Saudi Gazette report JEDDAH mdash; The Ministry of Education has uncovered financial discrepancies at some universities reaching millions of riyals and has formed a specialized committee to investigate the possible violations, Al-Watan daily reported. A source at the ministry reported that undocumented and unauth
Water supplied to Najran villages polluted, residents claim
nbsp; Saudi Gazette report nbsp; NAJRAN mdash; Residents of villages and small towns in Najran Province claim their water supplies are polluted and requested the Najran General Directorate of Water to fulfill its promise of providing potable water to the region, Al-Watan daily reported.
Haia chief stands by his predecessor
The new head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has ordered an investigation into offensive videos and photos posted on social media against his predecessor, A
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Islamic Community News
Saudi Arabia's religious authority says cinemas, song concerts harmful
Saudi Arabia's top religious authority has called cinemas and singing concerts harmful and corrupting, in a move that could complicate government efforts to introduce cultural reforms to the conservative kingdom. The comments by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, published on his website, said cinemas and round-the-clock entertainment could open the door to "atheistic or rotten" foreign films and encourage the mixing of the sexes.
Grand mufti backs conscription
Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Asheikh supports the idea of mandatory conscription that would see Saudi youths participate in military service. The grand mufti also wants legislation enacted requiring youths to be drafted into compulsory military training programs for a certain period of time.
Top Saudi cleric 'will not deliver' traditional sermon
Saudi Arabia's top cleric will not deliver a traditional Hajj sermon to pilgrims for the first time in 35 years, reports say. The speech from Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the grand mufti, marks the peak of the Muslim pilgrimage, which this year falls on Sunday.
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Commentary
OPEC Deal: Tactical Retreat or Admission of Failure?

At first sight, the recent deal to cut oil production among OPEC members appears to be an admission by Saudi Arabia that its strategy to maximize the flow of crude and suppress prices has been a failure. Does backing down now represent a long-term shift in outlook, or did an improving economic outlook allow some breathing room?
A Royal Execution: Politics Or Principle?

News that Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir had been executed for murder elicited widespread praise from within the Kingdom for the equal treatment under the law the royal's punishment represented. But was the high-profile act a response to a growing realization by the royal family that the turbulent pace of change may be putting the social compact under increasing stress?
Parisian Affairs - A Cautionary Tale?

As the deputy crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, travels the world showcasing his ambitious plans for the Kingdom's future, his sister's escapades in France cast an unfavorable light on the royal family. Does the apparent contradiction between words and action highlight a flaw in the prince's vision?
Vision 2030: A Dangerous Game?

The Deputy Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, has staked his future on the outcome of an ambitious blueprint for economic transformation, a plan whose success hinges, paradoxically, on crude oil prices - the lifeblood of the Kingdom and the source of royal wealth - remaining permanently suppressed. Will a resurgence in energy markets spell doom for Muhammad's vision?
Women's Rights Initiatives: An Olympic Endeavor?

Princess Rima bint Bandar has recently emerged as the accidental champion of women's rights in the Kingdom. Will her prominence allow for a candid discussion on the place of women in society, or is her appointment to oversee women's sport simply a token gesture to deflect criticism?
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