By Mahdi Azizi

MbS and the risky adventure of seizing the throne

March 13, 2020 - 12:29

TEHRAN - Informed diplomatic sources have described the continued detentions by bin Salman in Saudi Arabia as the last move by the crown prince to capture the throne.

Saudi Arabia’s developments, which began on Friday, have been the center of attention of experts and analysts as they will shape Saudi Arabia’s future. Considering there are not much news about mysterious Saudi Arabia and the war of power in the country, it seems that a great deal of change is going to happen. This issue reveals many domestic secrets of the House of Saud over the past few days. 

The developments in Saudi Arabia came as U.S. media outlets reported on Friday the detention of two Saudi princes, stating that the Saudi court has said that they were engaged in a coup.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper and Bloomberg News have reported that the Saudi King’s brother Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef have been charged with "treason" and" plotting a coup" and are now in custody. 

Citing the arrest of the two Saudis, Bloomberg News quoted Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group consultancy as saying, “The Saudi leadership’s challenges have snowballed in recent days. Recent developments may have made King Salman and Prince Mohammed’s branch of the royal family more sensitive to risks of a coup”.

Bloomberg also reported that Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and Mohammed bin Nayef were arrested while they were on a land trip together. According to the reports, Ahmad bin Abdulaziz and Mohammed bin Nayef have been charged with "treason" and are being held in a desert military camp.

The arrest of the two prominent princes comes at a time when bin Salman has made unprecedented unilateral decisions in recent days. The crown prince has suspended the pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina over the spread of the coronavirus, which is an unprecedented act in Islamic history. On the other hand, some rumors have been circulating about the health condition of the Saudi king. 

“Mujtahed” a person who revealed the secrets of the Al-Saud family confirmed the detention of Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, Mohammed bin Nayef, Saudi interior minister Abdulaziz bin Saud, as well as some other senior royals by Mohammad bin Salman. He also said that the issue is related to appointment of bin Salman as king and major opposition by the Al Saud family. Bin Salman does not have mercy on anyone.

Mujtahed revealed the arrest of a number of security and military officers who were affiliated with either Ahmed bin Abdulaziz or Mohammed bin Nayef, saying that anyone who bin Salman suspects to be related to these persons would be arrested. The matter is related a serious event, and the major arrest of princes and high-ranking officers is in the same regard.

Mojtahed wrote in another tweet: closing schools does nothing to do with the coronavirus outbreak and there are behind-the-scenes security reasons that have not been announced and that Mohammad bin Salman is due to do something in the coming days.

Referring to the developments in Saudi Arabia, Raialyoum newspaper wrote that informed diplomatic resources in Saudi Arabia assume that there is a connection between recent arrests of Saudi princes and the efforts by some tribal leaders to hold a meeting for assessing the Saudi situation at the Allegiance Council. 

Western and regional officials’ increasing concerns

The paper also wrote that Saudi officials do not release any information about the current situation, but more than 120 influential figures, including princes and their advisers and officers close to them, have been detained as early as Monday morning, according to an informed diplomatic source.  At the same time, concerns are growing among the officials in Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states. 

Obviously, the crown prince is trying to show that he is an undisputed king and does not allow anyone to even think about being the successor of an 84-year-old king. He is not afraid of using force to defeat his contenders. But the question that has raised by experts and analysts is that why bin Salman has taken steps against other princes in such a situation that there is no threat against him. The crown prince should be aware of the consequences of his move, which may lead him to a terrible fate.

In fact, frustration and dissatisfaction among the princes of the Al Saud family has increased. They blame bin Salman for the attack on the Aramco oil facilities by Yemen on September 14. Hostile and extremist stance on Iran and distrust of the crown prince are also other reasons for the Saudi princes’ discontent. 

It can be concluded that Mohammad bin Salman is so concern about growing anger among princes which may change king Salman's mind or result in a new Allegiance Council for choosing a new successor, so he resorted to widespread detentions.

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