A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, May 1, 2015

Saudis Restructure Aramco, Separate it from Oil Ministry

Saudi Arabia continue to make changes announcing it is restructuring Saudi Aramco and making it more independent of the Oil Ministry.

As you'll see at the link, some are speculating that  King Salman may be positioning his son ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Salman, who is Deputy Oil Minister, may be positioning him to succeed oil Minister ‘Ali Na‘imi, who is bout 80. The job is usually held by a technocrat, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Salman has held positions in the ministry for years.

A lot of analysis of this week's reshuffles has centered on talk about family factionalism, a "Sudeiri coup," and the like.  I have long felt there are three rules for understanding Saudi Arabia:
  1. Those who talk about the internal dynamics of the family don't know.
  2. Those who know, conversely, don't talk.
  3. The king is a real King, not a constitutional monarch, and can do what he wants.

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