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Feature Article

By Senior Analyst Talal Kapoor

The unusual circumstances surrounding the appointment of Muqrin bin Abd al-Aziz to the post of crown prince, and the rapid pace of change since the new monarch, Salman, came to power, raises disturbing questions over succession planning. Did Salman acquiesce in the late king's nomination of Muqrin because he was the best man for the job, or was his support part of a grander design?
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Royal Family News
Defense Minister Meets Arab Security Officials
Defense Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abd al-Aziz held meetings with senior Arab security officials over the weekend to discuss the latest regional developments. The Defense Minister met with Egyptâ??s Chief of Intelligence Khalid Fawzi on Thursday, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Arrives in Sharm al-Shaykh
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud arrived here today, heading the Saudi delegation to the 26th Arab Summit.
Minister of Defense Meets Russian Ambassador
Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abd al-Aziz, the Minister of Defense, Chief of the Royal Court and the Special Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has held a meeting at the Oujah Palace, Dareya, on the outskirts of Riyadh, with the Russian Ambassador to the Kingdom Oleg Ozerov. During the meeting, which took place yesterday, they discussed bilateral relations, the latest regional developments, especially the situation, in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition to redeem Yemen, its dear people from the Houthi aggression and to back legitimacy in Yemen.
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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
Imams in Riyadh bless anti-Houthi campaign
Imams at mosques in Riyadh on Friday welcomed the Saudi-led coalition campaign in Yemen, saying the Houthi rebels had undermined the country's legitimate government and were killing innocent people.
Islam 'forbids unjust excommunication'
Islam forbids Muslims from declaring others non-believers, known as takfir, without backing from the Qurâ??an because this causes unnecessary bloodshed, the Council of Senior Scholars said in a statement on Thursday.
Expanded mataaf to be ready for Haj
he new mataaf (the circumambulation area) in the Grand Mosque will have a capacity to handle 105,000 pilgrims an hour, according to a senior official. Sultan Al-Qurashi, General Director of Projects at the General Presidency of Grand Mosque and Prophetâ??s Mosque Affairs, said the expansion of the Grand Mosque project is in its third and final stage.
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Commentary
The Royal Succession - Dawn Of A New Era?

Immediately following King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz' death, newly crowned King Salman lost no time in rearranging matters to his own liking, dismissing Abdallah's sons and allies from their posts and advancing the interests of his own favorites.
The Oil Price Collapse of 2014: Will Budget Shortfalls Alter The Succession Dynamic?

Is Saudi Arabia's reluctance to take action to stem the collapsing price of oil part of a deliberate strategy to weaken regional foes, or is the Kingdom caught in the unpleasant position of having to weather a short- term economic storm in order to retain market share? Though all evidence points to the latter, the long-term fallout could yet be severe.
King Abdallah: A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing? (Part Two)

Prince Mit'ab bin Abdallah, head of the National Guard, has just returned from a high-profile visit to the United States, underscoring the prominence of the king's sons in public life. Is Abdallah, like King Saud before him, scheming to bypass the succession process and start an alternate line of succession?
The Kingdom's War Against ISIS - Shadows Of The Past?

As Saudi Arabia joins the coalition against the Islamic State after its lightning expansion across Iraq, it must confront its own past, whose shadows still fall across the present.
The Paris Heist: An Embarrassment of Riches?

The daring daylight robbery of a playboy prince in Paris has become an embarrassment not only to France, coming just before the visit of Crown Prince Salman, and on the heels of a number of high-profile robberies, but to the royal families of the Gulf, as the media spotlight shines on their often vulgar and "blingtastic" ways abroad.
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