Alwaght-Saudi Arabian King Salman has sacked Muhammad bin Nayef as crown prince, replacing him with Mohammad bin Salman in an anticipated palace coup.
According to a royal decree published by state news agency SPA King Salman called for a public pledging of allegiance in Mecca on Wednesday to the new crown prince.
Bin Salman, 31, has been his country's defense minister and deputy crown prince, and was instrumental during President Donald Trump's recent decision to visit the Kingdom.
In a series of royal decrees, the 80 year-old ailing monarch stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who had been positioned to inherit the throne, from his title as crown prince and from his powerful position as the country’s interior minister overseeing security.
The move did not come as a surprise as many Saudi watchers had long suspected his rise to power under his father’s reign might also accelerate his ascension to the throne and ignite infighting within the royal family.
Mohammad bin Salman was little known to Saudis and outsiders before Salman became king in January 2015. He had previously been in charge of his father’s royal court when Salman was the crown prince.
The Saudi monarch, who holds near absolute powers, quickly awarded his son expansive powers to the surprise of many within the royal family who are more senior and more experienced than Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS.
Differences over Qatar
The clearest indication that Nayef would be sacked came a few days ago when a well-known Saudi activist and whistle blower known as Mujtahid revealed Mohammad Bin Nayef disapproves the Kingdom’s policy towards Qatar but he is incapable of changing the situation,
This revelation by Mujtahid who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the Al Saud royal family. Writing on his Twitter account, he added that the Saudi bureau of investigations is receiving instructions regarding relations with Qatar from the Royal Diwan itself, the primary executive office of the king. Early June, Saudi Arabia led Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and several other countries in cutting relations with Qatar.
According to Mujtahid, “all of them (Emirs) are just zeros”, adding that the figure who is playing a major role in the Qatar issue is Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Saudi activist tweeted that King Salman has noticed that Bin Nayef appears not to support decisions on Qatar.
Analysts predicted that that by launching an attack on Qatar, the Saudi king and his son aim not only to silence external opposition, but internal forces as well. In Bin Salman’s case, silencing opposition within the royal household was seen as a crucial step before the King ousted his elder cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef.
Violation of Al Saud (House of Saud) succession laws after Trump’s visit
The appointment of Salman as the crown prince violate the tribal kingdom’s succession laws, and therefore effectively amount to a palace coup.
Bin Salman’s turn for the leadership should have come after Crown Prince Nayef became king and Salman the crown prince.
Insiders say King Salman’s move comes over concerns that if Nayef had ascended to the throne may have been replaced and miss the chance of being in the line of succession.
By appointing his son as defense minister, King Salman wanted him to establish strong links with the armed forces and the National Guard, while Crown Prince Nayef had only the ministry of internal affairs and the police at his disposal."
The palace coup in Saudi Arabia coming exactly a month after Trump visited Riyadh has all the hallmarks of an American orchestrated move to consolidate control over the House of Saud tribal monarchy and ensure continuity for several years.
The palace coup in Saudi Arabia is certainly going to lead to more infighting among the kingdom’s princes and no doubt the House of Saud will never be the same again and more turbulent times are expected ahead precipitating the eventual downfall of the much loathed monarchy.