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Who is the New Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdelaziz?

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Prince Muqrin bin Abdelaziz Ibn Saudwas is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He was born 15 September 1945, a 69-year-old, RAF-trained fighter pilot and former intelligence chief.
Like Kings Salman and Abdullah, Murqin is a son of Saudi Arabia’s founder, Abdelaziz Ibn Saud. But he is believed to be the last son capable of becoming king. In future, the key challenge for the ruling family will be picking a successor from the next generation among the numerous grandsons of the first Saudi monarch Ibn Saud.

A member of House of Saud, he was director general of Saudi intelligence from 2005 to 2012. In July 2012, Muqrin was appointed King Abdullah’s advisor and special envoy with the rank of minister. On 1 February 2013, King Abdullah named him as second deputy prime minister, being the fifth Saudi royal to hold this position. This post was previously held by King Fahd, King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan, and Crown Prince Nayef.[ On 27 March 2014, he was named deputy crown prince making him second in the line of succession behind his brother Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Today, On 23 January 2015, upon King Abdullah’s death and the accession of King Salman, Muqrin became crown prince, and first deputy prime minister.

He is the 35th and the youngest surviving son of King Abdulaziz. His mother was from Yemen, Baraka Al Yamaniyah, who was the eighteenth spouse of King Abdulaziz.

Education
Prince Muqrin studied at the Riyadh Model Institute. He, then, went to Britain’s RAF College in Cranwell and graduated with a degree in aeronautics at the rank of flight lieutenant in 1968. He also received a diploma, equivalent to a master’s degree, from the General Staff course in the US in 1974.

Career
Muqrin bin Abdulaziz was an air force pilot. In 1964, he joined the Saudi royal air force (RSAF). He was named commander of the RSAF’s 2nd air squadron in 1970. He had served in several positions in the RSAF from 1973 to 1977 before being appointed the adjutant to the director of air operations. He then was elevated to president of operations and planning for the RSAF.

Governorship
On 18 March 1980, King Khalid appointed Prince Muqrin as governor of Hail and his tenure lasted until 1999. On 24 November 1999, he was appointed governor of Madinah Province as a successor to his late brother, Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz. King Fahd later ordered him to modernize the city in response to a wave of anti-government and anti-royalty demonstrations during Hajj.

Prince Muqrin developed the education and health care services offered in remote regions. Considered a traditionalist, Prince Muqrin worked to promote traditional values during his appointments as governor. He remained in office until October 2005.

Director General of Intelligence

On 22 October 2005, King Abdullah appointed Prince Muqrin as director general of Saudi intelligence agency. His appointment occurred nine months after the resignation of the former director general Prince Nawwaf.

Prince Muqrin organized a conference on combating internet militancy, particularly used by al Qaeda in 2007 He further declared that the Saudi Intelligence would set a website to inform citizens about threats to security. He also stated that the organization would be restructured to combat with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(AQAP) .He successfully expelled Islamist militants from Saudi Arabia.

On 19 July 2012, Prince Muqrin was relieved from his post and replaced by Bandar bin Sultan. It was argued by media that Prince Muqrin had been criticized during his term due to his approach towards some sensitive issues. On the other hand, Prince Muqrin was named advisor at the rank of minister and a special envoy to King Abdullah the same day.His responsibility was stated to be the affairs in southeast Asia.

Activities
Prince Muqrin played an active role in Pakistani politics during his term at the Saudi intelligence agency. After Pervez Musharraf’s 1999 military coup on Nawaz Sharif, the Saudi government arranged a ten-year agreement with Pervez Musharraf to accept Nawaz Sharif as an exile Because of Benazir Bhutto’s early return from exile and the upcoming 2008 elections, Sharif attempted to return to Pakistan in 2007 against the advice of Prince Muqrin.However, Sharif was quickly deported from Pakistan and was greeted by Muqrin bin Abdulaziz at the Jeddah airport. Prince Muqrin was also involved in political reconciliation efforts in Pakistan.

On the other hand, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal were reported to be in favor of pushing the Western sanctions against Iran instead of an American military action as King Abdullah insisted. However, Prince Muqrin also argued that Iran’s interference in internal Gulf affairs, especially Iran’s move in regard to nuclear arms, had very negative effects on the region and therefore, might cause an arms race among the Gulf states.

Second deputy prime minister
Prince Muqrin was appointed second deputy prime minister by King Abdullah on 1 February 2013, although he was not seen as a potential contender for the post by analysts. This post, which had been vacant since October 2011, is regarded as second in line to the Saudi throne.

Deputy crown prince
Prince Muqrin was named deputy crown prince by King Abdullah on 27 March 2014, placing him next in line to succeed King Abdullah after his half-brother, Crown Prince Salman, the current monarch. On Prince Muqrin’s nomination, according to Reuters, more assurance was given to the kingdom’s long-term succession process, proving prophetic with the efficient change of power with the death of King Abdullah and the accession of Salman on 23 January 2015.

Influence
Muqrin bin Abdulaziz was considered to be one of the King Abdullah’s long-time allies. Despite his inexperience, Prince Muqrin’s star increased quickly after his appointment as general director of Saudi intelligence presidency, because he became a versatile point man for King Abdullah.

Muqrin bin Abdulaziz is said to be much appreciated by the Saudi public because he has never been known for corruption or other negative activities.

On January 23, 2015, upon the death of King Abdullah and accession of King Salman, Muqrin became crown prince, placing him first in line to the throne. In this role now as a Crown Prince Muqrin was expected to handle daily running of the country whenever King Salman is out of the country or could not deal with the daily administrative affairs due to health concerns.

Views
Muqrin bin Abdulaziz is believed by many to be a liberal within the family.However, letter exchanges regarding the Shia in the Eastern province illustrated an interesting opposition between him and late Crown Prince Nayef. The letters discussed how a situation involving Shia instigation in the Eastern Province should have been handled. In these exchanges, Prince Muqrin argued for a much stronger and harsher approach, but was vetoed by the late Crown Prince.

Personal life
Prince Muqrin is married to Abta bint Hamoud Al Rashid. She was president of the Women’s Council when Prince Muqrin was Madinah governor.

He has 14 children. His daughters are; Mudahawi, Layla, Mishail, Abta, Nuf, Lamiya, Jawahir, and Sara. His sons are; Fahd, Abdul Aziz, Faysal, Turki, Mansur, and Bandur.[47] Prince Turki founded a real-estate company in Turkey. He is a pilot and CEO of Rabigh Wings Aviation Academy in Jeddah.[48] Prince Turki is also board member of the Saudi Aviation Club.

Muqrin bin Abdulaziz is said to enjoy astronomy, literature and Arabic poetry and has a large library containing thousands of books.

Prince Muqrin purchased four real estate properties about 7,700 square meters in Dlebta, Lebanon, following the approval of the cabinet in 2012 and the publishing of the listed sale in the official gazette. Dlebta’s residents objected to the deal and filed a complaint with the relevant authorities.

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