A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, October 28, 2011

Crown Prince Nayef

The designation of Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Nayef as Crown Prince should have come as little surprise, having been signaled years ago, , though the reaction of many Saudi tweeters and bloggers suggests that hope still springs eternal, against all the odds. Nor will many Western countries be terribly enthusiastic. In a country where "reform" is discussing giving women a vote for powerless councils and someday, perhaps, the right to drive a car, Nayef is considered the opposite of a reformer.  Though suspected of sympathies with extremists at times, he has been tough on terrorism in recent years.

A full brother of the late King Fahd and the late Prince Sultan, he is one of the full brothers known to Westerners as the "Sudairi seven," sons of King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz by Hasa bint Muhammad al-Sudairi, and also known as the Al Fahd.

I've said before and will say again that those analysts who claim to understand the inner dynamics of the House of Saud are generally to be treated with suspicion: those who really know aren't talking. Nayef, who at 78 is not even an octogenarian yet, may very well ascend the throne, but the question of when to move to the next generation, itself now aging, is becoming more pressing,

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