Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sent a cable of congratulations to the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia yesterday, even though many consider him to be an architect of the Gulf dispute.
The Emir wished Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud “success towards the good of the kingdom under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” QNA reports.
He “further wished more development and growth to the deep fraternal ties between the two brotherly countries,” it added.
— SPAENG (@Spa_Eng) June 21, 2017
Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) is the 31-year-old son of the current king and replaces his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince.
He is popular in Saudi Arabia particularly among its large young demographic, and represents what analysts have called a “new generation” of leadership in the country.
At home, MBS has a reputation as a reformer who wants to open the country up to tourism. He has also introduced live entertainment such as concerts and comedy shows into conservative Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, he supports the right of women to drive.
Abroad, the new crown prince retains his defense minister post. In this capacity, he led the war in Yemen to stop a group allied with Iran from gaining power.
However, the Yemen conflict shows no sign of ending, two years on.
Analysts said MBS has now focused his energies on isolating Qatar for political reasons. But that goal could also end with no clear victory.
“(Boycotting Qatar) has his emerging hallmark of action that is sudden, spectacular but not necessarily strategic,” said Jane Kinninmont, a Middle East expert at Chatham House.
Speaking to Reuters, she added, “It is a maximalist position without a clear endgame.”
For its part, Saudi State TV thanked the Emir for his well wishes, raising hopes that a solution to the ongoing Gulf crisis can still be reached.
— Mohammed Al-Jufairi (@Halawala) June 22, 2017