The Saudi prince Mohammed Bin Salman played the role of master of ceremonies at the “Davos of the Desert” in Riyadh (29-31 October). After sidelining the heir to the throne in the purge of 2017, King Salman’s son started to place his men.
If he favours the tribe of the Soudaïris – that of his grandmother – “MBS” also surrounds itself with a technocratic and nationalist elite.
Badr Ben Abdallah Ben Mohammed Ben Farhan Al Saud
Appointed Minister of Culture in 2018, a position created for him. Influential in the business community. Would act as an intermediary for MBS to acquire works of art, the culture allowing the prince to get closer to Western capitals, especially Rome and Paris.
Abdallah Ben Bandar Ben Abdelaziz
In 2018, MBS appointed him head of the National Guard. A key position, with the security sector as a pillar of Saudi diplomacy in East Africa and the Arab world. Headed an NGO, King Salman Youth Center: a “civil society” profile that the Crown Prince appreciates.
Turki Al Sheikh
Advisor to the King since 2015. Active on Twitter and in “international communication” for MBS. Influential in the sports sector. Announced in 2019, from Morocco, that the Arab Cup of Champions Clubs would be called Mohammed-VI.
Saudi Al Qahtanu
His media relations advisor. Fond of Arabic poetry and Islamic sciences. Following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in which he is suspected of being involved, he was officially dismissed. Very discreet, he is still as close to MBS as ever
This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.
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