The new heir to the Saudi kingdom is a man with vast ambitions, but it is his international aspirations that are causing the most concern

The sudden elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of crown prince and heir apparent to his father, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, is a welcome surprise for many Saudis. It is also a matter of deep concern for some of the kingdom’s neighbours, notably Iran, which is locked in a region-wide power struggle with its Arab arch-rival that increasingly risks sucking in the US and Russia.

For younger Saudis frustrated by the kingdom’s hidebound traditionalism and inflexible religious laws, Prince Mohammed is seen as a reform-minded new broom who could sweep the country to a brighter, more open future. For critics at home and abroad, he is a dangerous and inexperienced firebrand who could undermine stability and lead Saudi Arabia to unintentional disaster.

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