King Salman of Saudi Arabia continues to surprise, shaking up the line of succession yet again. The decision to remove Prince Muqrin as Crown Prince and name the former Deputy Crown Prince, Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef, as next in line, further strengthens the powerful Interior Minister, while the King's own son, Defense Minister Muhammad bin Salman, was named Deputy Crown Prince, confirming that the leadership is being passed to the generation of the grandsons. By strengthening the power of the Interior and Defense ministers, the King also reinforces them at a time some have raised doubts about Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen.
In yet another surprise, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was relieved "at his own request," reportedly for health reasons. Saud al-Faisal, at 75, has been Foreign Minister for 40 years, the world's longest-serving. In another break with tradition, the new Foreign Minister will be Ambassador to Washington ‘Adel al-Jubeir, who is not a member of the Royal Family, but who has close ties to the United States.
In a Kingdom which traditionally changes slowly and with great caution, Salman has moved speedily and decisively in the months since he took the throne. These changes also appear to strengthen Saudi Arabia's activist new foreign and security policies in Yemen and regionally.