CNBC quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab on what kind of transition will likely occur once Crown Prince Salman eventually takes over as king of Saudi Arabia:

The Saudi royal family announced in March that 79-year-old Crown Prince Salman would succeed the king, and experts said those plans have eased most concerns about an impending transition. In fact, Saudi watchers told CNBC that the country’s oil, domestic and geopolitical policies should remain virtually unchanged when Salman takes over.

“This is very predictable,” Bilal Saab, senior fellow for Middle East security at the Atlantic Council, said of the transition. Still, he reflected, “the markets just react in unpredictable ways.”

Although King Abdullah has been perceived as a champion of domestic reform, his departure would not signal the reversal of any of his (relatively) progressive policies, Saab said.


Still, those concerns pale in comparison to the current succession worries in Oman, Saab said. That country’s sultan, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, has no formal successor plan, and political chaos after his death could be problematic for the region, he said.

“This is someone who has a much more influential role, not just in his country, but in the region with the Iranians,” Saab said. “The concerns over succession are much more pronounced in Oman than in Saudi Arabia”

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