(AA) – A few months after taking the helm of Saudi Arabia’s prestigious Defense Ministry, Prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz – son of King Salman – has become the youngest member of the royal family to be the second-in-line to the Saudi throne.
In a major reshuffle announced with the break of dawn, King Salman named Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Nayef as his heir apparent, becoming the first grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the kingdom, to serve as crown prince.
The monarch also promoted his son Prince Mohamed, the incumbent defense minister, as new Deputy Crown Prince and second deputy premier, making him second-in-line to the throne. He also kept his prestigious post as defense minister.
Prince Mohamed, 30, has become the youngest member of the royal family to serve as deputy crown prince, a post created by late King Abdullah in 2014.
The post was earlier held by Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohamed bin Nayef.
Prince Mohamed is already leading the war against Yemen’s Shiite Houthi group.
He oversaw the first airstrike on Houthi positions late last month from the Saudi air force operations command center.
At 30, Prince Mohamed is the world’s youngest defense minister, and the youngest person to ever have held the post in Saudi Arabia.
Late Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz was appointed to the post at 31, retaining it for half a century until his death in 2011.
Prince Mohamed is also the first grandson of late King Abdulaziz to hold the country’s sensitive defense portfolio.
On Jan. 29, King Salman issued a raft of royal decrees through which he annulled 12 committees and councils, including the National Security Council and the Supreme Economic Council.
The decrees ordered the formation of two new councils – the Council of Political and Security Affairs and the Council of Economic and Development Affairs – to be headed by Mohamed bin Nayef and Mohamed bin Salman respectively.
The newly-established councils are the main bodies tasked with setting the kingdom’s policies on the political and economic fronts. Both are headed by second-generation descendants of the founder of Saudi Arabia.
Born on Aug. 31, 1985, Prince Mohamed bin Salman was educated in capital Riyadh, obtaining a law degree from King Saud University.
Following his graduation, he established several businesses before joining the government in 2007 as an advisor to the emir of Riyadh province.
Prince Mohamed also served as secretary-general of the Riyadh Competitiveness Center and as advisor to the chairman of the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives.
Via royal decree, he was appointed supervisor of the office of the Defense Ministry in 2013, and, one year later, as minister of state and cabinet member, in addition to his other duties.
Prince Mohamed is also responsible for several social and charitable initiatives, including the Misk Charity Foundation, the stated aim of which is to encourage creativity in the Saudi community and support “emerging projects.”