Risk Management Report - Saudi Arabia
Politics: Established by King Abdelaziz (Ibn Saud) in 1932, the kingdom is the giant of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) in terms of population, territory, oil wealth and its claim to religious authority. An absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia is ruled by King Salman Bin Abdelaziz, Ibn Saud’s sixth son to assume the throne. Salman is viewed as slightly more conservative than the late King Abdullah, whose reign saw some reform of education and the judiciary, and the appointment of women to the Shura Council; at 80, Salman has had at least one stroke and is thought to suffer from age-related mental health issues. Balancing this, he has appointed an experienced and competant crown prince, Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdelaziz (MBN); the prominance of 30-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has attracted most attention for his robust promotion of Saudi interests – notably driving the conflict in Yemen,where it is fighting Houthi rebels it claims are backed by Iran and are allied to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh – and advocacy of potentially radical economic reform.