Mohammed bin Salman was born in 1985. He obtained a law degree from King Saud University. He served as an adviser to the Council of Ministers for two years in 2007. In 2009, he became special adviser to his father, who was governor of Riyadh at the time. On 23 January 2015, after his father acceded to the throne, he was appointed Minister of Defence. The same year, he was named deputy crown prince. He became Crown Prince and vice-Prime minister on 21 June 2017.
On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the armed group of Houthis in Yemen, triggering a major armed conflict. For three years, Yemen has been ravaged by a war that has already killed more than 10’000 people, half of whom are civilians.
One of Mohammed bin Salman’s first acts as a Minister of Defence was to launch the military campaign in Yemen along with other Arab states.
UN bodies and Human Rights groups have denounced the widespread violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed in Yemen. Alleged violations include deliberately targeting civilians, the use of illegal cluster-munitions, indiscriminate airstrikes and a naval blockade which deprived civilians of access to basic necessities, sexual harassment and torture, including electrocuting and flogging of Saudi citizens.
The alleged role of Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi, who was killed on 2 October 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was also denounced. Saudi authorities deny any involvement of the Crown Prince. Turkish and US intelligence agencies alleged that the murder was premediated and ordered by bin Salman himself.