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Is MBS About to Lose His Crown? Saudi King Sidelines His Son in Wake of Khashoggi Disappearance

Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Image via YouTube)

Will the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi bring down Saudi Arabia’s beloved Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

The biggest falls often come from the most unlikely of crises. Just as one fruit-seller in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, brought down Tunisia’s strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Saudi Arabia’s favorite son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS,) could lose his crown over the disappearance and alleged brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

 

MBS’s fall from grace is no longer conjectural – what experts have whispered in the corridors of power over the past few days is coming to pass. The Crown Prince no longer holds the same reign of power. Authority lies once more with his father, King Salman ibn Saud, so that the Kingdom can find a way to salvage its bruised veneer of respectability.

Amid blood stains and rumors, few among the world elite have shown any inclination to ignore Saudi Arabia’s sullied hands – not this time around anyway. Not when so many voices are clamoring for plausible answers.

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Will Trump Wash Over the Saudi Crisis?

U.S. President Donald Trump’s earliest attempt to float the possibility of a ‘rogue killer’ did not echo well with public opinion. If anything it actually empowered the now adopted narrative that the Trump administration is colluding with Al Saud for financial gain – maybe to Trump’s own admission.

At a campaign rally in 2015 Trump was rather keen to define his relations with Al Saud as pecuniary. He boasted:  “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

USA Today summarised President Trump’s perceived collusion with the Kingdom in the following terms:

“Could it be because as his business empire was hemorrhaging cash, he brokered multimillion dollar deals with Saudi officials — including a $20 million yacht sale to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal? Could it be because the Saudi government bought an entire floor in a Trump-owned building in 2001 for $4.5 million? Could it be because the Saudi crown prince’s five-day stay at the Trump International Hotel in New York earlier this year single-handedly delivered the property its first profitable quarter in two years?”

For all President Trump’s attempted finessing of the Khashoggi’s crisis it simply won’t go away – quite the opposite in fact.

International World Distances Itself From Saudi Arabia

Over the past 48 hours, Saudi Arabia has been shunned by both European capitals and international corporations.

As of October 18, France, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands have suspended all official visits to Saudi Arabia. “In the current circumstances we have decided to suspend some visits, political ones,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters in Brussels.

Moreover, several international banking and business chiefs, including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Chairman Bill For, have pulled out of a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month – signaling not only a loss of trust but increased isolation.

Saudi Arabia is hurting. So much so, that King Salman had to withdraw the running of the affairs of the state from his son, MBS, and delegate the solving of the crisis to his most trusted aide: Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the governor of Mecca.

Reuters quoted a source close to Riyadh as saying that ‘”Since the meeting between Prince Khaled and Erdogan, King Salman has been “asserting himself” in managing the affair, according to a different source, a Saudi businessman who lives abroad but is close to royal circles.”‘

Close members of the Kingdom’s ruling elite have confirmed that royals have grown increasingly wary of MBS’s perceived economic and political recklessness. Many see the Khashoggi case as proof that Saudi Arabia needs to rethink its system of governance – at least insofar as power cannot be concentrated in the hands of just one man, as it has been since 2015.

With more and more calls for accountability and retributions, MBS could soon find himself relegated to a junior position within the royal court, as others will look to expunge his many failures.

 

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Catherine Shakdam

Catherine is a geopolitical analyst and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen and the Gulf countries. She has been published across several prominent media outlets including: The Huffington Post, Sputnik, Citizen Truth, Press TV, The New Eastern Outlook, RT, MintPress, Ayatollah Khameini’s website, Open Democracy, the Foreign Policy Journal, The Duran, The American Herald Tribune, Katehon, and many more. Educated in both the UK and France, Catherine’s expertise and research on Yemen have been quoted by the UN Security Council on several occasions since 2011.

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21 Comments

  1. Alwleedi October 19, 2018

    Very strong leader…made big changes , he has a bright future ahead of him . This will only make him stronger

    Reply
  2. Gail Ladella October 19, 2018

    What! His son is trying to get rid of the radicals in Saudi Arabia!

    Reply
  3. Rick Long October 19, 2018

    FSA! We don’t need their oil because we produce more. Don’t need their natural gas, since we produce more. So what do we need them for? If they choose to kill each other? Ok! Let them drink their Oil! Time to move on from petroleum products anyway! Hydrogen engines? Yes! Yes indeed! By product is H2O! Yep! Water! Solar energy? Yes! And what Sweden and other European Nations are doing with refuse! Super combustion steam plants with carbon scrubbers! We can save Mother Earth! But the clock is ticking!

    Reply
    1. Andy Millar October 19, 2018

      No clock is ticking

  4. Kevin Cahoon October 19, 2018

    Is that what Trump said… Imagine if that happened here… Be prepared…

    Reply
  5. Moosa ? October 19, 2018

    If #MBS is sidelined all the credit must go to US leadership and Congress and the media. For once ga… https://t.co/hAo2dROzMC

    Reply
  6. Cheryl Yeager October 19, 2018

    No, it is just a show

    Reply
  7. Matthew Nichols October 19, 2018

    Nope

    Reply
  8. Ross Marquez October 19, 2018

    Please!

    Reply
  9. Janice Tuminella Rhodes October 19, 2018

    No

    Reply
  10. Javier Aguilar Salcedo October 19, 2018

    1 muslim murders another…what’s new???

    Reply
  11. Felix E Hernandez October 19, 2018

    A filthy assassin.

    Reply
  12. Doug Bryant October 19, 2018

    Bullshit ,Trumpanzee satisfaction stance ,pay the their money Donny.

    Reply
  13. William Rowe October 19, 2018

    Once again he has sided with a loser!

    Reply
  14. Terry Bacot October 20, 2018

    No, he want lose his crown, trump has already for gave him, even made it Khashoggi fault.

    Reply
  15. Ginny Celano October 25, 2018

    Would never have happened under Obama.

    Reply
  16. Joe Mauro October 25, 2018

    Disappear quickly.

    Reply
  17. April Severin October 25, 2018

    He’s behind it he should lose it

    Reply
  18. Doug Bryant October 25, 2018

    Cut his head off ,what he did to corospondant.

    Reply
  19. Laeequddin Kazi October 25, 2018

    Crown prince is a reckless brutal guy. It will not be easy for the king to deprive him of his position.

    Reply
  20. Jeanne Perry October 26, 2018

    About time

    Reply

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