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Feature Article

By Senior Analyst Talal Kapoor

Challenges to the leadership structure during times of crisis are a persistent feature of Al Saud rule, but does a clampdown on expressions of royal dissent represent in all cases the response to a threat to the established order and warn of an impending crisis? Or are there situations where intolerance for opposition is simply the result of the need to mop up any remaining bits of resistance in the aftermath of great upheaval?
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Commentary
The Incredible Shrinking Prince: The Fall Of Muhammad bin Salman?

The Kingdom's Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince, under the gun for the lack of military success in Yemen and the target of princely ire for the way he has leapfrogged others in the line of succession, has seen his public profile shrink dramatically in recent weeks. Meanwhile, his cousin Mit'ab bin Abdallah, Minister of the National Guard and once thought to be a strong contender for the position Muhammad now occupies, is recapturing the media spotlight. Are major changes afoot in the Kingdom?
The Rise of Muhammad bin Salman: Saviour or Bogeyman?

As the Deputy Crown Prince raises his profile and captures the spotlight, he is maligned both in the regional and western press as inexperienced and reckless - the architect of the Kingdom's impending downfall, owing his position solely to his father's grace. But is the truth more nuanced?
Royal Dissension - Without Precedent Or Playing By The Rules? (Part Two)

With rumors of an impending coup against King Salman, apparently inspired by resentment at the unprecedented influence of his son Muhammad, it is worthwhile looking at the issue of succession and leadership challenge within the historical context of the first two Saudi states. Part Two examines parallels to the current crisis within the framework of internal family dissension and external threats to the regime. The final part of this series will look at family political rivalries in the context of the modern era.
A Manifesto For Change: Reactionary Or A New Way Forward?

In response to rumors of an impending coup by disgruntled princes, the Kingdom's leadership released a manifesto outlining a wide-ranging programme of change, signalling a fresh approach in areas as diverse as economic development and women's rights. The considered and deliberate plans beg the question - just who is opposing the current leaders?
Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Breakdown in Discipline?

Reports of Saudi royals in legal trouble have been making headlines, adding to Al Saud embarrassment over reports of family dissension and an internal power struggle. Princes behaving badly is not a recent development, but in the age of mass media, reports of their transgressions can no longer be swept under the carpet.
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