Saudi Arab

Royal plots grips Al Saud on king succession

roalA Saudi political activist says unprecedented plots and rivalry between different divisions of the Al Saud royal family over Saudi king’s replacement have gripped the whole ruling system.
Sa’ad Al-Faqih, who is head of the opposition Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia party said, following death of the former crown prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud last year, a “major plot” was conducted by Saudi minister of National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
In an interview with the CNN Arabic aired on Monday he said with helps from Khalid al-Tuwaijri, the son of the late Abdul Aziz al-Tuwaijri, one of King Abdullah’s closest associates, Mutaib tried to pave the way for himself to become the Crown Prince and finally make the way for himself to replace the king.
Faqih added removal of former deputy defense minister Khalid bin Sultan was a plot to remove the rival party and replace him with someone who is not from King’s grandsons and so could not succeed him.
He said Prince Mutaib and Tuwaijri were also in favor of King’s half-brother Prince Muqrin to become the second deputy prime minister, who would be the third in line to the throne because he did not have an eye on the throne and his promotion in the Saudi royal system meant the others were left behind.
Speculation about who will rule Saudi Arabia in the future mounted much higher after the surprise February 1 appointment of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as second deputy prime minister, a post long viewed as “crown prince in waiting”.
The unexpected move put a spotlight on the complicated politics and procedures surrounding Saudi succession.
“Prince Salman, the crown prince, will not have a role in the future and he could be sent away any moment, because he is in a poor health condition and so the ground is paved for Mutaib to become the king… there won’t be any serious problem except a powerful rival Mohammad bin Nayef who is after the throne”.
Mohammad bin Nayef is Saudi minister of interior and is considered to be one of the potential contenders to the Saudi throne.
“These two (Mutaib and Nayef) may confront each other anytime,” the Saudi activists said considering the ongoing condition within the royal family.
Faqih also warned about possibilities of an uprising against the Saudi ruling regime, led by opposition religious figures.
He said the Saudi religious figures can be divided in three groups. “One group is known as crown scholars, the others are awakening scholars who people like Muhammad al-Arifi, Salman al-Ouda, Safar al-Hawali and Nasir al-Umar are among them. This group, despite their popularity among people in Saudi Arabia, do not want to bother the government. The third group are known as revolutionary scholars and people like Soleiman al-Alwan, Abdul Aziz al-Tarifi, Khalid al-Rashid and Nasir al-Fahd are in this group.”
Faqih added any incident could make the second group join the third one and help them in creating political movements among people.
In the past, the Saudi line of succession has been from brother to brother among the sons of Ibn Saud, in contrast to the father-son method seen in most other monarchies.
The main qualification has been seniority in age, though some princes have been passed over due to incompetence or unwillingness to take the role. One consequence of this system has been shorter reigns for most of the kings since Ibn Saud, as his sons are increasingly old and often ailing when they assume the throne.
For years, many have argued that the crown should pass to the next generation, the grandsons of Ibn Saud — hence the excitement following Prince Muhammad’s meteoric rise to interior minister. But the royal family has never been able to agree on when this shift should happen, and which line should be chosen.


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