Saudi Revolt: Is removal of Princes shift in political dynamics?

The KSA government has yet to make comment regarding the initiation of the officials' detention.

Saudi Arabia (10th Mar, 2020): The arrest of notable Saudi Princes on orders of the Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, have reportedly triggered speculation into the political dynamics involved behind their sudden removal.

According to reports, the Crown Prince who has been linked to the assassination of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi in the past, is no stranger when it comes to controversies. His cut-throat determination and ruthless ambition have allowed him a top position as the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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It is a known fact that his Highness Mohammad bin Salman can easily silence his opponents ever since his rise began back in 2015 which led to him replacing the former Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef in 2017. His ambition has seen the fall of many Royal family members, most notably:

  • Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, former Interior Minister [uncle to MBS]
  • Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, former Crown Prince & Interior Minister [known as MBN, cousin to MBS]

The former Interior Ministers were reportedly taken in for questioning on investigation for treason yet no official charges were proven against the two. However, the damage had been done as they were left with little to no power. MBN had allegedly been pushed out of office and the ruler, King Salman had effectively paved the way for his son, Mohammad bin Salman, who was declared the next-of-kin and the rightful successor to the King.

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Reportedly, the recently detained members include King Salman’s brother Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz, Mohammad bin Nayef [previously removed from office] and Nawaf bin Nayef. With the arrests, however, questions have been raised pertaining to the inner happenings of the Saudi Royals and to consider the motives behind the targeting of his political rivals, especially since Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz had allegedly distanced himself from the political situation by preferring a life of luxury in London prior to his return in 2019.

Meanwhile, as the global community speculates the motives behind the sudden political move no official statement has been made by the Saudi Arabian officials. Given his past with the controversy of Saudi Arabian journalist, Kashoggi’s mysterious murder, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey almost two years ago, the Crown Prince seems significantly at ease as if he has little to fear.

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Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed (file photo)
Image copyright REUTERS. Donald Trump has reportedly been a ‘close ally’ to the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

At the time that an extensive investigation was being carried out related to the mysterious disappearance and brutal murder, MBS reportedly had complete support from the United States President, Donald Trump and the White House, although French and British authorities had been “mildly critical” yet trade between the states continued with Riyadh.

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Thereby, it is speculated that he has been able to “ruthlessly” isolate sectors of the Saudi Arabian public life which may have threatened his rise to power and/or ascension to the throne. The sectors included not just officials of state but also, relatives who may be considered rivals, businessmen and other influential “domestic” groups. According to speculators these are simply basics of what is considered to be Dictator Politics.

Although it was argued the the Princes having been removed from their positions were placed in comfortable solitary isolation, given the grandeur of the Riyadh based Ritz-Carlton hotel, earlier in 2017, reports continue to present the ruling Crown Prince in a rather humane light as a humble future ruler who on many an occasion can be seen kneeling and kissing his cousin’s hand in what is considered to be “apparent supplication” according to the BBC.

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Despite the lack of an official statement by the Saudi Royals, the irony is not lost to spectators who consider the use of the “scapegoat” phenomenon against the peoples favorite, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN).

The Ritz-Carlton situated in Riyadh held about 200 members of the Saudi elite, during the previous episode of detaining KSA high officials.

Moreover, while MBN was considered perhaps a far more competent ruler in comparison to MBS, there is no doubt that he lacked the direction and authority apparently exercised by the younger Crown Prince. It is to be noted, that the continued silence maintained by KSA officials is only the leading cause behind rising global concern. Leading to the troubling need to answer questions such as why the Princes have been silenced?

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