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Four years into Salman's reign, Saudi Arabia more unpredictable than ever

Saudi Arabia seems to have taken a number of wrong turns since Salman took the throne four years ago; can he make the decisions to get the country back on track?
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not pictured) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 14, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS - RC1EB8EB4070
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Four years ago this month, Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud ascended to the throne of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His reign has changed the kingdom profoundly: It is more repressive than ever, more unpredictable than ever and likely less stable than at any time in a half century. The kingdom is in the midst of important and challenging transformations.

Salman was governor of Riyadh province for a half century before his half-brother, King Abdullah, made him crown prince. As the chief of the capital, Salman oversaw its transformation from a remote desert town to a modern city and the centerpiece of the country. He did so with the careful cultivation of the Wahhabi clerical establishment. He also was the policeman of the royal family, most of whose members lived in his jurisdiction.

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