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Saudi palace intrigue sparks speculation

Saudi King Salman's unprecedented personnel changes and other moves have many wondering what might come next from the House of Saud.

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (L) arrives with his uncle King Salman (R) to greet U.S. President Barack Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, January 27, 2015. King Salman's appointment of his nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, as Deputy Crown Prince makes him 2nd in the line of succession and he becomes the first grandson of the kingdom's founding monarch to take an established place in the line of succession. Picture taken January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (SA

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's unprecedented changes in the Saudi line of succession that benefit his son is raising questions about what might come next in the royal family. A traditional and conservative institution, the House of Saud has seen more personnel changes in the last 100 days than at any previous time. These shifts come as Salman pursues the most assertive foreign policy in recent Saudi history, projecting military power as no king has tried since the 1930s.

Without warning, Salman removed the sitting crown prince, Muqrin, his half brother, and promoted the third in line, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, his nephew, to No. 2. Salman made his own son, Mohammed bin Salman, the new No. 3 despite a lack of experience as a senior policymaker. Muqrin has since publicly proclaimed his allegiance to the new team, but without providing any explanation for his removal.

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