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Prince Muqrin and the Question Of Saudi Succession

The appointment by Saudi King Abdullah of his half-brother Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz to the key position of second deputy prime minister raises new questions about who will succeed the Saudi monarch and the next generation of Saudi rulers, writes Thomas Lippman.
Saudi's intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz, brother of Saudi's King Abdullah, gestures during a news conference in Riyadh November 24, 2007.   REUTERS/ Ali Jarekji (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR33OJ3

Just when it seemed that the aging rulers of Saudi Arabia were finally preparing to transfer power to the next generation of princes, King Abdullah has postponed the inevitable yet again by appointing his half -brother Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz to the key position of  second deputy prime minister.

The relatively youthful Muqrin, born in 1945, becomes a leading candidate — perhaps the leading candidate — to succeed the 89-year-old monarch. Just six months ago, Muqrin appeared to have been excluded from the line of succession when he was relieved of his position as director of intelligence, one of the most critical jobs in the kingdom, and was left without any executive position.

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