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Daily News Analysis

Wave of arrests of senior Saudi 'royals' reflects MbS' nervousness

Crescent International

Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) may not be afflicted by the coronavirus, he has definitely contracted another, more deadly virus: megalomania.

And there is no cure for this virus. In fact, it grows rapidly affecting a person’s brain, especially if it happens to be small.

This is reflected in the latest reported arrests of senior ‘royals’ including his uncle and the King’s brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz.

David Hearst, writing in the Middle East Eye (MEE) on March 7 reported the arrests.

He wrote:

“Up to 20 princes have been arrested for allegedly being part of a coup to overthrow the crown prince, also known as MBS, Middle East Eye has been told.

“Four names so far are known to MEE. They are Prince Ahmed; his son Prince Nayef bin Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, Head of Land Forces Intelligence and Security Authority; the former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef; and his half-brother Nawaf.

“Ahmed’s son is the highest-ranking member of the Saudi armed forces known to be arrested so far, MEE sources confirmed.”

While the arrested ‘royals’ are accused of plotting a coup against the crown prince and the king, it has now been revealed that Prince Ahmed was invited to the palace to meet the king as a ruse.

Instead of meeting the king, he was arrested by masked commandos on Friday March 6.

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, son of the former king and long-time head of the National Guard, has also been arrested.

What has prompted this latest wave of arrests is open to speculation but informed observers believe MbS is desperate to get any potential rivals out of the way while his father, King Salman is still alive, even if barely.

The reason is that MbS acts in the name of the king and the way the Bani Saud decisions are made, the king has absolute authority.

So, while the decisions are made by him, often even without the knowledge of the king, they are presented as the king’s decisions.

MbS is in charge of the king’s office and acts as his personal secretary. King Salman is known to be suffering from dementia and often does not even remember if he has had breakfast.

There is much unease among senior royals about the manner in which MbS has mishandled the economy and the war on Yemen.

Prince Ahmed in particular has been open in his criticism of MbS’ conduct of policy.

Just before he took a flight to return home in October 2018 from his self-imposed exile, Prince Ahmed had told protesters in London that they should not be criticizing all members of al-Saud.

The disastrous policies were the fault of the king and the crown prince, he told the protesters.

Also, both the British and American governments had sought assurances from MbS that he would not arrest or otherwise harm the younger brother of the king.

MbS had given these assurances and had even gone to the airport to receive his uncle but the latter refused to meet him.

Inside the kingdom, people are unhappy about the price rises MbS has imposed on such products as petrol, electricity, food etc.

Hitherto, these were relatively cheap but given the manner in which MbS has messed up the economy due to the war on Yemen, the kingdom’s economy is in dire straits.

The war has cost the kingdom hundreds of billions of dollars while the Saudi army has been repeatedly humiliated by the rag tag bands of Ansarallah fighters.

The price of oil has also plunged to levels not seen since the 1990s.

In order to divert attention from his failures due to his incompetence, MbS has tried to divert people’s attention by promoting vulgarity in the kingdom.

While some people may accept it, the vast majority do not favor such policies.

There is also speculation that MbS plans to become king before the G20 summit in Riyadh in November 2020.

Will he able to pull this off? Equally critical, will he be able to get away with the arrests of senior royals?

He may be thinking that he got away with extorting nearly $100 billion from fellow royals after he locked them up in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton in November 2017.

He also got away with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

This was largely due to the protection provided by his Zionist allies, the US and Britain.

The latest wave of arrests may prove the last straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back!

Ironically, if MbS is banished, it would provide a new lease of life to the decrepit royal family that has caused so much mess not only in the kingdom but in much of the Muslims world as well.

The entire lot must go. They are a plague for the Ummah!

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