News ID: 234558
Published: 1157 GMT November 20, 2018

Saudi royals trying to prevent MBS from becoming king

Saudi royals trying to prevent MBS from becoming king

Turkish official compares Saudi officials with former Al-Qaeda leader

Amid the international uproar over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are agitating to prevent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from becoming king, three sources close to the royal court said.

Dozens of princes and cousins from powerful branches of the Al Saud family want to see a change in the line of succession but would not act while King Salman – the crown prince’s 82-year-old father – is still alive, the sources said. They recognize that the king is unlikely to turn against his favorite son, known in the West as MBS, Reuters reported.

Rather, they are discussing the possibility with other family members that after the king’s death, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, 76, a younger full brother of King Salman and uncle of the crown prince, could take the throne, according to the sources.

Prince Ahmed, King Salman’s only surviving full brother, would have the support of family members, the security apparatus and some Western powers, one of the Saudi sources said.

Prince Ahmed was one of only three people on the Allegiance Council, made up of the ruling family’s senior members, who opposed MBS becoming crown prince in 2017, two Saudi sources said at the time.

The House of Saud is made up of hundreds of princes. Unlike typical European monarchies, there is no automatic succession from father to eldest son. Instead, the kingdom’s tribal traditions dictate that the king and senior family members from each branch select the heir they consider fittest to lead.

The Saudi crown prince is also under pressure for last month’s murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

The CIA has concluded that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi.

On Tuesday, the leader of Turkey’s nationalist party compared Saudi leaders to Osama bin Laden, saying the net was closing around Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of Khashoggi.

The comments by MHP leader Devlet Bahceli, a parliamentary ally of Turkish president, amounted to the fiercest Turkish criticism of the Saudi monarchy since Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 by Saudi agents.

Bahceli said Saudi leaders had resorted to terrorist methods.

“I ask you, what difference remains between Saudi Arabia’s administration and the mentality of Osama bin Laden? What separates this country from Al-Qaeda?” Bahceli said. “The circle is closing in for the crown prince, the paths of escape and salvation are closing.”



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