FILE - In this May 14, 2012 file photo, Prince Mohammed bin Salman waits for Gulf Arab leaders ahead of the opening of Gulf Cooperation Council summit, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Saudi Arabia's King Salman has appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, removing the country's counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the royal line of succession. In a series of royal decrees issued Wednesday, June 21, 2017 and carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the monarch stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was first in line to the throne, from his title as crown prince and from his post as the country's powerful interior minister overseeing security. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

The Latest: Expert says Saudi succession signals big changes

June 21, 2017 - 1:38 am

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The Latest on Saudi Arabia's King Salman appointing his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince (all times local):

8:40 a.m.

An analyst who studies the Gulf says the appointment of Saudi King Salman's son as crown prince could have a big effect on the kingdom.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a Seattle-based research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, says the appointment of Mohammed bin Salman could set Saudi policy for decades just due to his young age.

Ulrichsen tells The Associated Press that Mohammed bin Salman's appointment also removes the challenge of having an increasingly elderly set of royals rule the kingdom.

However, the analyst says the speed at which the new crown prince has pushed his assertive policies, including the war in Yemen and an effort to privatize part of the kingdom's state-run oil company, has unnerved some within the royal family.

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7:35 a.m.

Saudi King Salman has issued an order for high-ranking royals to pledge their allegiance to his son, 31-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, at a ceremony in Mecca.

The order, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, said the meeting would take place after a special prayer Wednesday night amid the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Mecca is home to Islam's holiest site, the cube-shaped Kaaba.

The order comes immediately after King Salman issued series of royal decrees stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was first in line to the throne, from his title as crown prince and from his post as the country's powerful interior minister overseeing security.

The newly announced Crown Prince Mohammed, who also serves as defense minister and oversees a vast economic portfolio, had previously been second in line to the throne.

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7:20 a.m.

Saudi state television says 31 of 34 royals supported Saudi Arabia's King Salman appointing his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince.

State television flashed the news across its broadcasts early Wednesday morning.

That came after a series of royal decrees stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was first in line to the throne, from his title as crown prince and from his post as the country's powerful interior minister overseeing security.

The newly announced Crown Prince Mohammed, who also serves as defense minister and oversees a vast economic portfolio, had previously been second in line to the throne.

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6:55 a.m.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, removing the country's counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the royal line of succession.

In a series of royal decrees issued Wednesday and carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the monarch stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was first in line to the throne, from his title as crown prince and from his post as the country's powerful interior minister overseeing security.

The newly announced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also serves as defense minister and oversees a vast economic portfolio, had previously been second in line to the throne, though royal watchers had long suspected his quick rise to power might accelerate his inheriting of the throne.

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