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  • MBS became Crown Prince in 2017 after he removed his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, from the position.

    MBS became Crown Prince in 2017 after he removed his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, from the position. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 March 2020
Opinion

Sources said that MBS will not wait for the death of his father since the latter’s presence grants him legitimacy.

After Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) arrested Friday his uncle, the brother of King Salman, Prince Ahmed bin Abdelaziz, as well as two other prominent members of the House of Saud, sources told the Middle East Eye he plans to become king before the G20 summit in Riyadh in November.

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The sources said that MBS will not wait for the death of his father since the latter’s presence grants him legitimacy. He will rather push the king, who is reportedly suffering from dementia, to renounce the throne and use the summit in November as the platform for his accession to the supreme post.

In the meantime, details of Ahmed’s arrest emerged. The sources said that Ahmed was not planning a coup as it was claimed after his arrest, but that he was detained because he “openly objected to his nephew’s accession.”

Ahmed is a member of the kingdom’s Allegiance Council, the body which would have to approve MBS’ accession to the throne if the king dies.

"He would have clearly said no,” the sources told MEE.

Before he was arrested, Prince Ahmed was given the last chance to change his mind and support MBS’s plans, but he refused, according to the same sources. 

"There was pressure on Ahmed to give his full support to MBS. He met with the king, and Salman and others in the court used polite words to encourage him to back his son," the sources said.

"Ahmed made it clear he would not support this project. He did not give his word. Ahmed told the king he himself was not keen to become king but would look to others to come forward."

The crown prince’s move comes to terminate the job started when he ousted his cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the position of the crown prince, the sources affirmed. Internal and external reasons were cited concerning the launching of such a purge at this moment.

Among the external reasons, sources said the crown prince is concerned with the reelection of his ally, United States President Donald Trump; as all the remaining candidates in the Democratic party race have clearly voiced critics against him and openly condemned him for his alleged implication in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

On the other hand, MBS’s reforms are doing badly inside the kingdom, and the fall of the oil prices along with his increasing unpopularity in the Muslim world is not helping him.

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