Identical diplomatic sources revealed unprecedented steps that have been implemented silently for months to form a united front against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, one of the princes of the Al Saud family.
The sources told Saudi Leaks that the marginalised senior princes in the Al Saud believe that the continued silence on Mohammed bin Salman’s policies will mean a significant marginalisation of them and a more significant weakening of the ruling family.
The sources indicated that the councils of the princes of the Al Saud hesitated in an unprecedented way that if the situation continued with MBS’s path, then the fate of the royal family would be demise.
As the internal disputes within the royal family have begun to come out into the open, amid talk of princes and princesses escaping abroad with their money and the formation of a front against the crown prince, all of this ravages the family that ruled one of the wealthiest kingdoms in the world for more than a century and a quarter, and makes its fate the annihilation.
Mohammed bin Salman’s actions in dealing with files related to the royal family in Saudi Arabia caused problems that could lead to the collapse of the royal family and the collapse of the monarchy in the Kingdom if the situation remains as it is.
The Crown Prince expanded in arresting and placing princes and princesses under house arrest, reducing the allocations of princes and princesses, isolating all those who doubted his loyalty, and withdrawing investments from some of them.
He also imposed levies on some of them to not imprison them. As happened with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and the Public Investment Fund, headed by Mohammed bin Salman personally, completely controlled his Kingdom Holding Company following the Ritz-Carlton arrests in 2017.
Although the Saudi royal family, according to Western reports, spends no less than $10 billion each year on its opulence and luxury and building palaces and resorts, Mohammed bin Salman deliberately reduced the financial allocations related to some princes whose loyalty he suspects, or that they may be alternatives in the event overthrow him.
Although Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Salman had no political ambition, the Saudi authorities arrested him.
Regarding the reasons for his arrest, accounts from within the royal family stated that he was among the 11 princes who were arrested in January 2018 after they gathered in the Palace of Government in Riyadh in a rare protest against austerity measures that included stopping the payment of electricity and water bills for the princes.
Before that incident, the Saudi Arabian princes were exempted from paying electricity and water bills. Still, the economic measures implemented by Mohammed bin Salman included reducing subsidies, imposing a value-added tax, and reducing the benefits that members of the royal family enjoyed, including exemption from electricity, water and public utility bills.
Muhammad bin Salman launched a large-scale campaign of arrests within the royal family, starting it with his uncle and the proposed replacement for him, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, and the former crown prince, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who was said to have been humiliated tortured until he was no longer able to stand on his feet from Frequent torture.
The arrests also included princesses and their daughters, such as Princess Basma bint Al Saudi, in addition to the Ritz-Carlton arrests, which included the business class within the royal family, headed by; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
About these arrests, Michael Stevens of the Royal Unified Services Research Center Institute Rusi told BBC Arabic: “After (Bin Salman) survived an international wave of discontent that followed the assassination of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, he has nothing to fear.”
And he adds, “The White House led by (Donald) Trump supported Mohammed bin Salman to the fullest extent, and Britain and France were somewhat objecting, yet they continued to deal with Riyadh, while Russia and China had no interest whatsoever.”
He continued, “It was a message from King Salman and his son Muhammad to the rest of the family to agree, a measure that would guarantee loyalty while reminding everyone who is the leader.”
And he adds, “Make no one mistake that Mohammed bin Salman is unequivocally the ruler of Saudi Arabia.”
Two sources connected to the royal family and a prominent foreign diplomat also told Reuters that the crown prince, who is “striving hard” to tighten his grip on power, fears the possibility that disaffected princes will gather around Prince Ahmed and Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, as they are the two possible alternatives to take over the throne of the Kingdom.
A source told Reuters news agency: “This is preparation for the power transfer. It is a clear message to the family that no one can object or dare challenge him.”
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Saudi royal family is divided over potential future relations with Israel following landmark agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
According to the report, King Salman bin Abdulaziz entered into a conflict with his son, as the latter was said to support the move.
The newspaper stated that the Saudi king is still committed to boycotting Israel and adopting a strong position in favour of the Palestinian demand for establishing an independent state. At the same time, the crown prince is open to normalisation with the Jewish state and the commercial opportunities it can bring, in addition to general coordination in the face of Iran.
According to the report by Channel 13 news, the crown prince knew in advance about Israel’s negotiations with the UAE and Bahrain. Still, he did not inform his father for fear that he would try to sabotage those efforts, a move that angered the king. Reportedly, bin Salman knew that his father’s public opposition to an agreement between Israel and the UAE could make negotiations difficult.
The king instructed his foreign minister to declare the Kingdom’s commitment to establishing a Palestinian state again. In addition, one of the king’s aides wrote an article in a Saudi newspaper in which he reiterated the pro-Palestinian position of the royal family, according to the Walla news site, which cited a Wall Street Journal report.
The article also reportedly hinted that the UAE should have pressured the Israelis to make more concessions toward the Palestinians.
Under the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, drafted by former Saudi King Abdullah, Arab states agreed to establish relations with Israel only after reaching an agreement with the Palestinians and establishing a state based on the 1967 borders.