Will Saudi Crown Prince Be Replaced?
I addressed the possibility in two previous articles, explaining multiple examples of Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) reckless overstepping may be his undoing.
His virtually certain responsibility for ordering Jamal Khashoggi’s murder may be the last straw. Has he become damaged goods, unacceptable in the West to succeed his father as regime king?
His reckless actions destabilized the region more than already. His elevation to crown prince displaced his cousin Mohammad bin Nayef, a Western intelligence favorite.
Some of Riyadh’s closest allies believe he’s too reckless and untrustworthy to lead the kingdom. The CIA and Britain’s MI6 may want him replaced, his likely coup de grace if they turned against him.
An exclusive Middle East Eye (MEE) report said dissident prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, king Salman’s younger brother, returned to the kingdom from London – “to mount a challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or find someone who can,” adding:
“He and others in the family have realized that MBS has become toxic,” according to a MEE Saudi source close to prince Ahmad.
“The prince wants to play a role to make these changes, which means either he himself will play a major role in any new arrangement or to help to choose an alternative to MBS.”
He returned to Riyadh “after discussion(s) with US and UK officials,” his safety assured. Both countries “encouraged him to play the role of usurper.”
His status in the ruling family may protect him. When MBS consolidated power in late 2017, he “was not able to touch any sons of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the modern Saudi state, who are regarded as too senior a target for him” to shove aside or eliminate more aggressively, said MEE.
He’s been meeting with other ruling family members living abroad, concerned about a reckless crown prince. He was “encouraged…to usurp his nephew,” according to an MEE source close to the ruling family.
“(T)hree (unnamed) senior princes” support replacing MBS with someone more stable and reliable.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Erdogan practically blamed MBS for ordering Khashoggi’s murder without naming him directly.
Two days of meetings between Saudi chief public prosecutor Saud al-Mujeb and his Istanbul counterpart Irfan Fidan achieved nothing.
Protecting MBS continues, Turkish demands for information it seeks not met. Nor will Riyadh extradite 18 suspects detained in the kingdom for prosecution in Ankara or Istanbul, requested by Turkish authorities.
Dissident Saudi prince Khaled bin Farhan, residing in Germany, “told MEE in May that princes Ahmad and Muqrin bin Abdulaziz could both restore the reputation of the family, which has been destroyed by king Salman’s ‘irrational, erratic and stupid’ rule,” adding:
“ ‘There is so much anger within the royal family,’ ” Prince Khaled said. ‘I took this information and appealed to my uncles Ahmad and Muqrin, who are the sons of Abdulaziz and are highly educated, well versed and able to change things for the better. I can say that we are all behind them and support them.’ ”
Talks between the Saudi chief public prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb, his Istanbul counterpart, and Turkish intelligence continued Tuesday evening.
According to Turkish journalist Abdulkadir Selvi, he refused to answer key questions, stonewalling to protect MBS, adding:
Turkish officials “distrust” him, asking: “Why did the Saudi prosecutor hide the knowledge about the body’s location from his Turkish counterparts? Because he may have visited Turkey not to solve the murder case but to save the crown prince.”
A Tuesday neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post editorial, Khashoggi a contributing columnist when alive, said the following:
“(T)he Saudi government — and its de facto accomplices in the Trump administration — have gone silent, evidently hoping that demands for accountability will fade away now that the story has been pushed from the front pages. That should not be allowed to happen,” adding:
“Experts on Saudi Arabia are virtually unanimous in saying that such (that Khashoggi’s murder) most likely was ordered by” MBS.
“US intelligence intercepts indicated that the crown prince ordered a plot to lure Mr. Khashoggi…to Saudi Arabia from exile so that he could be silenced.”
The Saudis are pretending to investigate what happened while engaging in coverup.
If US and UK intelligence want MBS replaced for being too reckless, unreliable, and untrustworthy, as separate articles suggested, his days as heir to his father’s throne may be numbered.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”