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The Milton Measure

Milton Perspective: Saudi Resident Discusses Prince Salman

by on Thursday, March 9th, 2017

One of the sons of the deceased King Abdullah, Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud — the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia — has been challenging the traditional customs of Saudi Arabia. Second in line for king, Prince Mohammed at 31 years old already defies a norm in Saudi government: old age.

Normally, Prince Mohammed would have never been chosen to be deputy crown prince. However, after the death of the 90 year old king, King Abdullah, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud took charge and drastically changed the Arabian government. He replaced the original crown prince, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, with Prince bin Nayef and appointed Prince Salman as deputy crown prince. Even at such a young age, Prince Salman is already the deputy crown prince, defense minister, head of the council overlooking the Saudi economy, and the leader of a section of Saudi Aramco, a huge oil company that propels most of Saudi Arabia’s economy.

Most likely due to his wielding positions of power, Prince Salman has promised multiple, ambitious ideas for Saudi Arabia. He wants Saudi Arabia to be less dependent on the oil industry. However, because he plans to sell shares of Saudi Aramco, global dependence on oil will probably not change… Still, Prince Salman wants to change Saudi Arabia’s economy and his people’s traditional lifestyle.

According to The New York Times, Hoda al-Helaissi, an advisor of the Shura council, said “The country for too long has been looking through the lenses of the older generation, and we need to look at who is going to carry the torch to the next generation.” Prince Salman aims to encourage younger generations to enter the work market earlier.

Prince Salman also has shown an interest in propelling Saudi women from a social standpoint. The former king, King Abdullah, was the first to attempt to shift the country’s view of gender roles. The Guardian reported that Abdullah appointed the first woman in the council of ministers, invested in a co-ed university, and advocated for a lift of the ban outlawing women’s driving, although the traditionalists of Saudi Arabia forbade that ruling. Although The New York Times predicted that the current king, King Salman, will not continue Abdullah’s previous initiatives, Prince Salman has voiced opinions in support of women and their limited rights in Saudi’s conservative society.

An Independent article claims the Prince Salman supports women’s rights but believes that Saudi society is not ready for progression. He said, about the ban on women driving, “Women driving is not a religious issue as much as it is an issue that relates to the community itself that either accepts it or refuses it.”

Although Prince Salman advocates for women’s rights, he also said, “A large percentage of Saudi women are used to the fact of staying at home. They’re not used to being working women.” Still, many Saudi women have voiced their frustrations of being chained to their guardian, a man who decides their every action, whether it be traveling, education, or even opening new bank accounts.

While his standpoints are considerably progressive, Prince Salman recently led a Saudi-driven war in Yemen to remove Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies from the capital of Yemen, according to The New York Times. Because of his complete lack of military experience, Prince Salman, in his naivety, killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, pushed Yemen off the cliff of famine, and cost the Saudi government billions of dollars. This event led many people within the government and within the masses to wonder if Prince Salman’s age was linked to this bold and perhaps reckless act.

Despite these concerning events, Prince Salman shows promise for reform. He demands less economic dependence on the oil industry and an increase of women and younger citizens in the workforce. Despite his belief that Saudi society cannot handle powerful women and despite his lack of military experience, Prince Salman holds the potential to create progress. Hopefully, he can use his power to benefit Saudi Arabia’s social, economic, and military future.

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Posted by on Mar 9 2017. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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