Alwaght- In the recent days and months, Saudi Arabia has been experiencing many ups and downs internally, a process that has started since the death of former King Abdullah, and has continued up to the present time.
Upon the death of King Abdullah, the new king has removed from power all of the former king’s men through a white coup. The new king Salman has built up the pressures on Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who was set as a crown prince of the kingdom, forcing him to move out of power. Salman, then, has pushed to the sidelines Mutaib bin Abdullah, the son of the former king. Following his steps, Salman has appointed Mohammad bin Nayef as the kingdom’s crown prince, as the king also appointed his son Mohammad as the deputy crown prince and the minister of defense. By taking such steps, King Salman has laid off the traditions and will of Saudi Arabia’s founding king Abdulaziz. According to the will of Abdulaziz, the power must be handed over from one brother to the next one, but Salman has chosen the crown prince among the grandsons of Abdulaziz.
King Salman’s shake-ups have not been limited to the tradition breaking, and it seems that he is intending to remove Mohammad bin Nayef from his post as crown prince and so pave the way for his son Mohammad bin Salman to become king. There have been a plenty of news and evidences published about the issue so far, but a report released by an American institute is much more precise.
Quoting “several high-ranking sources”, the Washington-based Institute for (Persian) Gulf Affairs in a report has talked about Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz' intention to abdicate from power to allow his son Mohammad bin Salman, the current minister of defense and deputy crown prince, to take over as a king. The plan also targets dismissing Mohamad bin Nayef, who is the country’s current crown prince and minister of interior, from his post, the report suggests. According to the institute’s report the main objective behind dismissing Mohammad bin Nayef is to make the necessary preparations for his deputy Mohammad bin Salman to take over from him the post and finally come to the throne in the country. “ According to the sources familiar with the proceedings, Salman told his brothers that the stability of the Saudi monarchy requires a change of the succession from lateral or diagonal lines to a vertical order under which the king hands power to his most eligible son", the institute has added in its report. Presently, the power transition in Saudi Arabia takes place horizontally among the brothers, and thus the crown is passed from one brother to the next brother. But King Salam is now seeking to change the tradition and adopt a vertical model, passing the crown from the father to the sons, a plan designed by the king to hound out the current crown prince Mohammad bin Nayef from his position. This Salman’s step is taken to appoint his son Mohammad as a crown prince and finally raise him as a king. The report also highlights the point that Mohammad bin Nayef has no son while Mohammad bin Salam has two sons. Salman seeks his own abdication and then installation of his son as a king for the Saudi monarchy to make sure that while he is still alive his sons are not marginalized and driven out of power like what happened to all of the sons of the former kings, the institute concludes.
Accordingly, an escalation of tensions and disputes is expected to occur in the coming days between the numerous Saudi princes. In the current conditions, Saudi Arabia is facing many challenges internally and externally. If in the present situation the kingdom is hit by a kind of coup inside the royal family, the pillars of power in the monarchy could be shaken more than ever.
It seems that King Salman in his one year of ruling has followed his goals through preparing the grounds for winning approval for his son among the Saudi tribes. The Yemen’s war, intensifying the “oil war” in the region, forming the anti-terrorism coalition and recently escalating the tensions with Iran are examples of the measures taken by Mohammad bin Salman as part of a process to ascend to the throne. Mohammad bin Nayef is placed in a situation under which he could soon be victim of a coup by the father and son in the royal family.