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Who’s next in line for Saudi throne? Don’t ask

Speculating about Saudi royal succession can result in confusion — and jail time.
(L-R) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi King Salman, and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stand together as Saudi Arabia's cabinet agrees to implement a broad reform plan known as Vision 2030 in Riyadh, April 25, 2016. To match Insight SAUDI-PLAN/PRINCE  Saudi Press Agency/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS.    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.  - RTX2CU2M

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is currently presiding over two hawkish princes he appointed in 2015 to run the kingdom. Since then, many observers have tried to pierce a hole in the iron curtain drawn around Saudi royal succession and rivalries to understand or at least predict the logic of royal succession and the potential competition it generates.

The rise to power of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already been noted. He apparently has eclipsed his cousin Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, recently reported to be ill and near death. The deputy crown prince is said to be determined to procure more power to secure his position as future king while his father is still alive.

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