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Game of thrones: On the crown prince of Saudi Arabia

Mohammed bin Salman’s elevation as Crown Prince could herald a more hawkish Saudi line

The rapid rise of Mohammed bin Salman, from one among many princes in the al-Saud royal family to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia within a span of two years, is an unprecedented development in the history of the Kingdom. Little-known outside the palace until January 2015 when his father, Salman bin Abdulaziz, became the monarch, Prince Mohammed has since been the face of Saudi Arabia overseas and of reforms at home. Appointed Deputy Crown Prince by his father, Prince Mohammed often overshadowed the then powerful Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef. He was directly in charge of the Kingdom’s foreign policy and rolled out an ambitious economic reform agenda last year. Throughout, he had the support of the octogenarian King, even as the Crown Prince, reportedly upset with his cousin sidestepping him, kept a low profile. On Wednesday, King Salman put an end to all speculation on the succession by ousting Prince Nayef, his nephew, and appointing his son the new Crown Prince. This has practically removed all hurdles for the 31-year-old to ascend the throne once his father retires or dies. With King Salman largely confined to the Palace owing to health reasons and Prince Nayef forcibly retired, the new Crown Prince has already become the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Many regard him as a reformer. He has repeatedly talked about ending Saudi Arabia’s “addiction to oil”. The Vision 2030 plan launched by the Prince last year seeks to end the country’s dependence on oil, reform its finances and encourage private enterprise. He has also talked about women’s rights. At the same time, many others perceive him as a reckless, impulsive royal whose unrealistic ambitions and quest for power could endanger not just the Kingdom but the entire Gulf region. A look at Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy under King Salman lends credence to this criticism. Prince Mohammed was the architect of Riyadh’s bombing campaign in Yemen in the name of fighting Shia Houthi rebels. The Saudi version is that the Houthis are Iran’s proxies, and letting them consolidate themselves in the Kingdom’s backyard will hurt its interests. For over two years Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen with impunity, triggering a humanitarian crisis in one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, but without attaining the stated objective of defeating the Houthis. The Houthis are still in San’a, Yemen’s capital. Riyadh has also taken a tougher anti-Tehran line in recent years with Prince Mohammed determined to make sure that “the battle is for them in Iran”. This aggressive foreign policy line was evident in Riyadh’s decision to impose a blockade on Qatar as well. Prince Mohammed’s domestic reform credentials are also yet to be established, as his plans to reorganise the oil economy remain on paper, while social reforms are nowhere near the government’s agenda. Against such a background, the Prince’s elevation will only prompt Saudi Arabia to turn more hawkish on regional policy, while reforms take a back seat. This is bad news for an already volatile region. Source : THE HINDU

IMPORTANT WORDS FROM ARTICLE & THEIR MEANING

1) Unprecedented (अभूतपूर्व) - Un-preci-den-ted
Meaning - never done or known before - Adjective
Synonyms - unparalleled, unequalled
Antonyms - normal, common
Example - The air crash caused an unprecedented number of deaths.

2) Speculation (सट्टा) - Spe-kue-lay-shun
Meaning - the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence - Noun
Synonyms - conjecture, thesis
Antonyms - reality, truth
Example - Since the doctor had never seen such unusual symptoms, he could only speculate on the cause of the patient’s illness.

3) Reckless (लापरवाह) - Reck-less
Meaning - heedless of danger or the consequences of one's actions; rash or impetuous - Adjective
Synonyms - careless, heedless
Antonyms - cautious, prudent
Example - He had always been reckless with money.

4) Impulsive (आवेगशील) - Im-pul-sive
Meaning - acting or done without forethought - Adjective
Synonyms - abrupt, hasty
Antonyms - calm, sensible
Example - The impulsive woman regretted getting into the stranger’s car.

5) Credence (प्रत्यय) - Kre-den-se
Meaning - belief in or acceptance of something as true - Noun
Synonyms - acceptance, belief
Antonyms - denial, distrust
Example - Because the experiment had been performed over a hundred times, a great deal of credence was given to the results.

6) Impunity (दण्ड मुक्ति) - Im-pew-nity
Meaning - exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action - Noun
Synonyms - immunity, exception
Antonyms - denial, veto
Example - Because the internet is basically a lawless civilization, many people commit crimes online with impunity.

7) Volatile (परिवर्तनशील) - Vo-la-tile
Meaning - (of a substance) easily evaporated at normal temperatures - Adjective
(of a person) liable to display rapid changes of emotion
Synonyms - tense, strained
Antonyms - certain, constant
Example - Sending the police inside will only make the hostage situation more volatile.

8) Surpass (मात कर देना) - Sir-passMeaning - exceed, be greater than - Verb
Synonyms - excel, exceed
Antonyms - fail, loose
Example (English) - India's population could surpass China's population around 2024.
Example (Hindi) - भारत की आबादी 2024 के आसपास चीन की आबादी को मात कर सकती है।

Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension question, try to answer the following -
  • Why the prince has repeatedly talked about ending Saudi Arabia’s “addiction to oil”?
  • Suggest a new title for the article?
Given below are some words to check your vocabulary you can make sentences with those words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.
  • Reformer
  • Perceive
  • Evident
  • Ascend
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