The New Regime of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The new King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ AL SAUD. Salman was deputy governor and governor of Riyadh from 1963 until 2011 or a total of 48 years. He was crowned King last January 23, 2015 following the demise of King Abdullah.
As governor for the province of Riyadh, King Salman managed the transformation of a very conservative town to a state of the art 21st century urban hub with a population of more than seven million. The modernization of Riyadh served as example for the entire kingdom. He also achieved valuable perception about the royal family, dynamics of conventional Arabic culture and the religious institution. Salman had a vital role in preserving family harmony and turned out as an expert in dealing with ethnic as well as religious concerns.
Salman has been described as a realist or down-to-earth person who was capable of settling differences between the old and young generations of leaders. When he assumed the throne, the new king carried with him five decades of experience and tenacity. King Salman was fully aware that socio-economic and political changes are to be expected. However, all these factors should be managed efficiently.
In the political realm, the new monarch made a quick move to rationalize national government policies in terms of formulation, implementation and decision-making. In just 10 days after his ascendancy, King Salman broke up the 14 Royal Councils which used to maintain responsibility of governing Saudi Arabia. He replaced the cumbersome structure with the Council of Political and Security Affairs and Council of Economic and Development Affairs. The first is under Prince Muhammad Bin Nayef who is first in line to succession and Interior Minister. The second is headed by Salman’s son, Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. He is also defense minister and head of Royal Court.
One of the King’s economic priorities is to open Saudi Arabia’s stock market to overseas investors. While Riyadh’s governor, he paved the way for the growth of private sector economy. He also built commercial and industrial zones for purposes of diversification. This became an essential component of economic progress. New policies related to the production of crude oil were meant to boost global market share and leverage with allies as well as non-allies. These guiding principles also challenged those of the United States (hydraulic fracturing), Russian federation and Iran.
Eking Salman also realized that economic change and advancement called for social transformation. That is why he focuses on education as a primary building block for edification into a united government. He knew the incapacity of the Kingdom’s educational system to produce responsible and learned citizens. King Salman designated an educator who was trained in the United States. Azzam Bin Mohammed al-Dhakeel was given the difficult task of enhancing educational opportunities both for men and women.
This closely supervised social change can facilitate proper control of the clerical sector. Under King Salman’s watch, the government will also concentrate on developing religious standards that will be in accordance with development targets. The King is also embarking on streamlining the defense establishment and strengthens his control over the armed forces.
King Salman looks forward to tackle all political and economic issue with deliberate and yet conformist approach. His long-term objective is to formulate an institutional structure for regeneration and change.