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S. Arabia After  Abdullah
International

S. Arabia After Abdullah

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah lifted oil prices on Friday, an increase likely to be short-lived. However the new King Salman, the late king's half-brother, pledged continuity hours after accession to the throne and moved swiftly to appoint heirs and ministers.
King Salman, 79, vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors. "We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment," he said in a speech broadcast on state television.
The new king named another of King Abdullah's half-brothers, Muqrin, who is in his late 60s, as the new crown prince. Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, was appointed deputy crown prince, making him second in line to the throne. King Salman's son Mohammed bin Salman was appointed as defense minister. Other ministers, including foreign, oil and finance, were kept in place.
Brent crude rose to a high of $49.80, up $1.28 a barrel before easing to $49.25, after the Saudi royal court announced the death statement, as West Texas Intermediate futures were little changed, having advanced 3.1 percent.
According to analysts, oil prices were expected to react to the king’s death, but the global market is unlikely to remain unsettled as King Salman said he would maintain his predecessor’s policies.

  Challenges
Saudi Arabia under King Salman faces a number of challenges: ensuring the succession passes smoothly within the ruling family and the ongoing threat from extremists, both at home and across its borders.
Saudi Arabia is now situated between the Islamic State (IS) group to the north and al-Qaeda in Yemen to the south. The government also faces a growing unemployment problem: About half the population is under 25 and there are nowhere near enough meaningful jobs for young Saudis.

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