India Today

What lies ahead in West Asia's game of thrones?

Saudi Arabia's unprecedented purge of the high and mighty among the ruling elite along with Iran's expanding sphere of influence are sparking further tensions in the region.

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's arrest of nearly 200 powerful princes, government officials and businessmen on anti corruption charges has sent shockwaves throughout the kingdom and the Gulf region. The arrests are just the latest though the most daring move by 32 year old bin Salman, known widely by his media acronym MbS, in his meteoric rise to power since his father King Salman ascended the throne in January 2015. In April of that year, MbS was made deputy crown prince, and then further promoted to crown prince in June 2017, replacing the incumbent Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef was reportedly coerced to resign, placed under house arrest and later left the country, ostensibly for medical treatment.

The scope of the most recent purge is unprecedented, massive and risky. It concentrates almost all power in a single individual and destroys the careful system of checks and balances within the royal family that has ensured the stability of the regime for decades. Tremendously powerful princes, such as multi billionaire investor Alwaleed bin Talal, and the heads of the navy and the powerful National Guard have been removed. Given King Salman's advanced

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