It is common for Saudi kings to regularly hire and fire senior bureaucrats. However, the latest Cabinet reshuffle reflects something profound and ambitious that has dominated Saudi Arabia since King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud ascended the throne in January 2015: the rise of his son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to the highest echelons of politics and economics in the realm.
The king's May 7 orders for a major shakeup embody his son's Saudi Vision 2030, orchestrated by a global consulting firm to "end Saudi addiction to oil." At no other time in the short history of the deputy crown prince position (the post was invented by the previous ruler, now-deceased King Abdullah) has a prince been entrusted with so many powers and initiatives so quickly. The young deputy crown prince has enjoyed his new powers and has definitely overtaken his cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed now controls defense and meddles in both oil and social engineering.