Following outrage over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Prince Mohammad bin Salman might face troubles at home. As analysts told RT, some in Saudi Arabia are keen to see the Crown Prince go.
Much of the mounting international outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is attributed to Mohammad bin Salman, the 33-year-old Crown Prince who once famously vowed to reform his autocratic kingdom into a vibrant modern state. He recently assumed authority over the Saudi intelligence community – in addition to sweeping powers in defense and the economy – but it doesn’t mean his position in the monarchy is rock solid, experts believe.
Michael Maloof, former senior security policy adviser in the Pentagon, told RT America that the young prince has made more enemies than friends among the Saudi royals, and “has upset the leadership so much.” According to the analyst, there is a growing rebellion against MBS in the House of Saud.
“The wheels are already in motion to try and replace MBS with someone more compatible with the West.”
Asked if this scenario – a palace coup or the likes – is conceivable, Maloof confirmed that it is, given that the Crown Prince has alienated too many members of the court and now it’s “just a question of time.”
Those who are conspiring against MBS hope that the US and the West will “support someone who would carry that out,” the former Pentagon official pointed out, adding: “However, it’s a little premature to say this is going to happen.”
The conversation took place following news reports that Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, a younger brother of the reigning King Salman, has returned to Saudi Arabia from exile. It was reported that he traveled to the kingdom with some guarantees from US and UK security agencies.
“Why would the brother of the king come back, get out of the exile and come back to the kingdom if he had no feeling that he had some kind of support?” Maloof asked.
Calls to oust Prince Mohammad from power were heard on the other side of the Atlantic. Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Saudi Arabia’s most vocal backers in Congress, said in mid-October that he has “got to go.”
“This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it – I feel used and abused,” Graham, an influential member of the Senate Armed Services committee and a close ally of President Donald Trump, said, adding that Mohammad was “toxic” and “can never be a world leader on the world stage.”
Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal suggested that this could spell the beginning of the end of MBS’ rule. “Basically, you have the situation of what the mafia’s done – to send [their] wise guy out, to make a hit… and throwing him in front of the police station. This is mafia stuff,” he told RT.
“I think we’ll see Mohammad bin Salman pivot east, to China and Russia and other alliances before the US and the UK can take him out,” Blumenthal suggested.