>> Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman shook Saudi Arabia when he ordered the arrest of 11 princes as well as ministers and tycoons, part of a ruthless transformation of the state. Reuters Steven Kalin in Riyadh tells us more about the young price behind the purge.>> Crown prince Mohammed rose from new obscurity about three years ago.
He's the son of King Salman, who was the governor of Riyadh for many years. But he wasn't really well known. He wasn't a powerful figure within the family. After his father became king in 2015, Prince Muhammad became an adviser in the Royal Court. And soon after he was appointed as Deputy Crown Prince.
His picture is now all over the country. He's become very popular, especially with the young people in Saudi, who make up the majority of the population. In a place where for so many years the rulers of the country have been in their 60s or 70s and their 80s.
Now, here is a man who is just in his early 30s and almost full control of the country. He's taken a much more aggressive and vicious stands in regional politics and global politics. He's matched a war against Yemen, there's been a serious of boycotts against Qatar. Which he's accused of supporting terrorism and he's also taking on Iran head first.
Saudi Arabia seems to be looking for ways to counter Iranian influence across the region. Whether that is trying to improve relations with Iraq, where Iran already has a lot of influence, or most recently in Lebanon. Prince Muhammed has also strengthened the relations with the United States, a historic ally of Saudi Arabia.
Ties with Washington were frail under former President Obama who pursued a nuclear deal with Iran. Prince Muhammed's younger brother has been appointed Ambassador to Washington, which is a very high profile position. And as we understand, there's a sort of a direct channel between Riyadh and Washington which goes between Prince Mohammed and Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser.
Prince Mohammed is trying to reform an economy that has been dependent on oil for decades. He's trying to improve the private sector, getting more Saudis into the workforce. He's also trying to overhaul Saudi society. There had been a ban on women driving, which will be lifted next year.
And they're increasingly more involved in the workforce and in the public sphere.