Editor’s note: This week, Lawfare is running a series of essays on federalist governance in the Middle East. This essay is the third in the series. Read the introductory essay here, the second essay here, and the third essay here.
Chibli Mallat is an international lawyer and law professor. He is the author of "Introduction to Middle Eastern Law" (Oxford University Press 2007, new edition 2019) and "Philosophy of Nonviolence" (Oxford University Press 2015). His latest book on "The Normalization of Saudi Law," is under review at Oxford University Press. He mapped in 1996 'A different type of Arab-Israeli peace' based on federal concepts ("The Middle East into the 21st Century" Garnet 1996).
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Saudi Arabia’s monarchy entered a new era last June when King Salman’s ambitious son Muhammad bin Salman, then just shy of 32, was made crown prince by royal order. MBS, as he is widely known, displaced Muhammad bin Nayef, an influential prince with deep ties to Washington, as next in line to the throne, marking a shift from the aging sons of the country’s founder, ‘Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, to a younger coterie of royals—and skipping the generation in between.