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Saudi Daily Al Watan Claims Being Hacked after Publishing Bin Nayef’s Remarks

Monday 6 June 2016
Saudi Daily Al Watan Claims Being  Hacked after Publishing Bin Nayef’s Remarks

Alwaght- The Saudi Arabian daily Al Watan has revealed remarks of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who admitted that the kingdom needed to make concessions in Syria and Yemen and to amend its general policies, but soon it denied that it posted the news on its website, claiming that it was subject to hacking by the "enemies of the kingdom."

However, the analysts said that the words of the Saudi crown prince were right and they were also posted on other news outlets though in different ways.

How serious are the deep rifts between Muhammad bin Nayef and his deputy Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the king, which have come to surface and affected the kingdom’s policy at home and internationally? What is the significance of what Al Watan uncovered? 

 

What Al Watan posted

Just two days ago the Saudi newspaper Al Watan published a news on its website of remarks made by the country’s Crown Prince bin Nayef on the sidelines of the consultation meeting held by the leaders of the (P) GCC- acronym for (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council- which was held last Tuesday.

According to the website, bin Nayef has admitted that the anti-Yemeni air campaign known as Operation Decisive Storm, was a total failure, adding that it became lengthy and failed to accomplish the expectations.

Concerning the Syrian crisis, Al Watan, quoting the crown prince, has maintained that the kingdom expected removal of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with assistance of Turkey and the US, adding that Riyad counted on the assurances that were coming to it, but none of the pledges were fulfilled on the ground. 

"All these issues push us to amend our policies and calculations, and if needed, we have to make real and painful concessions at the same time in all of the cases that were mentioned," concluded Al Watan, quoting the words of bin Nayef.

The daily not only posted the news on its website but also it posted it on its Twitter account. But after nearly half an hour the website was shut down and the Twitter post was deleted. The media activists, however, circulated the news after screenshotting it. At 7pm the website was back to work and started posting. Nearly at midnight, the newspaper issued a statement, claiming that its website was hacked and it was the hackers who posted the "false news" on Syria and Yemen which was attributed to the Saudi crown prince.

The website declined to comment on the similar deleted Twitter post, however.

Al Watan, however, didn't fail to link the incident with the "conspiracies against Saudi Arabia, and the discontent with Riyadh’s triumphs" as the newspaper put it.

 

Analysis

Some analysts suggest that certainly the newspaper was forced to claim that its website was came under hacking, to deny the news all together. They argue that the same news was also published by other Arab news outlets, though with different forms.

The analysts maintain that the incident lays bare the size of the conflicting ideas in Saudi Arabia.

Clearly, the remarks of Muhammad bin Nayef carry direct criticism against the Deputy Crown Prince bin Salman and his policies, especially in Yemen.

Some other analysts, still, hold the idea that the anti-bin Salman criticism comes as part of bin Nayef's unceasing efforts to present himself as an alternative who aims to restore Riyadh’s regional role. 

The experts say that the underway rifts between bin Salman had bin Nayef are no longer covert, rather, they are genuine and disturbing Al Saud's policies to a large extent.

The followers of the royal decrees by the Royal Court as well as the news outlets of the kingdom could easily touch the two princes' conflict for ascending to the throne.

A record of rifts between the two princes would help the article:

- First signs of disagreement between bin Nayef and bin Salman came out in last September when a decree appeared, removing Said al-Jabri, an aide to bin Nayef and the minister of state, who was bin Nayef's man in the kingdom's Council of Ministers.

- In March last year, the Council of Ministers has issued an order, decreasing the authorities of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of the Vice, a state agency using the "religious police" to enforce Sharia Law in the Saudi society, and banning it from prosecution of the citizens in the streets and shopping centers. A majority of the analysts considered the move as anti-bin Nayef. Some others have lashed out at the crown prince's policies, but they ended up in prison later.

- On May 7, a royal decree was issued, aiming at facilitation of bin Salman’s job to implement the Saudi Vision 2030, an economic plan to cut the kingdom’s reliance on oil revenues, through restructuring the ministries and state agencies. The decree appointed Musaed al-Aiban, the member of Council of Ministers, as the head of Council of Development of Education the duty of which is to reform the educational programs. Many in Riyadh have considered the decision as against bin Nayef who inherited from his father the support of the religious class and its interests, and the duty to design the educational programs, and who failed to inherit an openness not manipulated by the educational programs that produce terrorists, according to the analysts.

The list of the conflicts of the Al Saud is too long, and the power struggle between bin Nayef and bin Salman has become clearer than ever.

Muhammad bin Nayef does not hide his criticism of bin Salman for failure of war against Yemen.

Everybody knows well that the Yemen war's case is still in the hand of King Salman, however, the Iraqi and Syrian cases slipped out of hand of Saudi Arabia after Russia stepped in Syria crisis through its last September military intervention, and after ISIS lost the war in Iraq.

Many experts suggest that bin Nayef criticized his deputy bin Salman with the intention of presenting himself as a choice that could settle the regional problems and restore the lost role of the kingdom in the region through expressing the necessity of making concessions in regional cases.

In fact, the crown prince tries to exploit the kingdom's worsening conditions and reputation to rise as a side that should takes over as a king who could build a new face to the kingdom, pushing the world to forget Riyadh’s failed policy and its dire consequences.

But bin Nayef remains in the memory of the world as one of the designers of Wahhabi educational programs in the kingdom, as even the West now sees it as a major cause of terrorism's spread.

On the other side, bin Salman’s attempts to seize the power are crystal clear to everyone.

The kingdom is witnessing a crisis that, many suggest, would impact its future.

Tags :

Saudi Arabia Policy Syria Review Yemen

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