Dozens of Saudi Princes and Princesses are leaving Saudi Arabia in fear for their lives after the empowerment of King Salman and his son Muhammad bin Salman as deputy crown prince. A large number of the Saudi royal family believe that their lives are in danger and fear being assassinated at any moment. Several Princes and Princess are not allowed to leave the country and are under supervision in Saudi Arabia.
“Increasingly, the kingdom’s crucial decision maker is seen as thirty-one-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman rather than eighty-year-old King Salman or fifty-seven-year-old Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.” The King is “suffering from memory lapses”, but is believed to favour Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman as his successor.
“Making that happen anytime soon would be a challenge, however. For one thing, Saudi Kings traditionally keep going until they drop — King Abdullah died in 2015 at ninety-two, and King Fahd was eighty-four when he eventually passed away in 2005, ten years after suffering a debilitating stroke. Palace politics and rivalries may pose a formidable obstacle as well,” wrote the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“King Salman has already exercised his royal authority to change the crown prince, naming Prince Muhammad bin Nayef three months after taking the throne, so he could do so again at any time. Whether Prince Muhammad bin Nayef and the wider royal family would accept Prince Muhammad bin Salman being made crown prince or the king abdicating in his favour is debatable, since support for the young prince’s forceful policies as defence minister and economic ‘visionary’ is hardly universal,” the Washington Institute concluded.
It is believed that Prince Muhammad bin Salman is thirsty for power and would kill his father if he had the chance. His rise in power has sparked the tensions within the royal family.
During Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s recent visit to the US, where he met President Barack Obama, a report was released that American intelligence officers believe the current Saudi ruler King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef suffer from ill health.
“We’ve put a lot of markers down on Mohammed bin Nayef. It’s the smart move to do the same with bin Salman. It’s an opportunity to get to know him,” Bruce Riedel, an ex-national intelligence officer and a member of Obama’s transition team, said.