Joseph Bahout is a visiting scholar in Carnegie’s Middle East program. In May he wrote a perceptive article for Diwan in which he discussed how a series of royal decrees issued at the time by King Salman appeared to pave the way for the rise of his son Mohammed bin Salman to the position of crown prince. On June 21, that is precisely what happened, when the king removed the previous crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, and named Mohammed bin Salman in his place.

While Mohammed bin Nayef’s removal must have been bitterly disappointing, the royal family put up a unified front, with the ousted prince pledging allegiance to his up-and-coming relative. Mohammed bin Salman’s elevation came in the midst of a flurry of other princely appointments, very likely to help the new crown prince consolidate his authority and maintain balance between the different branches of the royal family. To discuss all these issues, Diwan interviewed Bahout in Washington, D.C. on June 21.

* The interview was organized and filmed by Carnegie Web Coordinator Ghida Tayara.