A Saudi 'Night of the Long Knives'? Prince Salman's crackdown

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Monday 21 May 2018 - Transcript: Saudi's Khaled bin Farhan on reforms, crown princes and that purge (Transcript - Video)
Transcript: Saudi's Khaled bin Farhan on reforms, crown princes and that purge

Prince Khaled bin Farhan, an exiled member of the Saudi royal family, speaks to Middle East Eye about his fears for the kingdom's future.

After the purge: 'There is a climate of fear'


Middle East Eye (MEE): How much anger is there in the royal family at the way the princes have been treated by Mohammed bin Salman ?

Prince Khaled bin Farhan (KbF): It was a shock for the entire family because prominent figures in the family were detained in a way that held a great deal of humiliation. It was a shock for the entire family. The family is now facing the undermining of its standing in the eyes of the people. And this will inevitably undermine its legitimacy.

MEE: How are the princes who were released from the Ritz Carlton being treated?

KbF: These princes were initially invited in a pleasant way, in a request to meet the king. Of course, in Saudi Arabia, it's tradition that if you are invited to meet the king, you go. So they went to meet the king, and then they were arrested in the hotel [Ritz Carlton]. After the procedures that took place in the hotel, they were pressured to give Mohammed bin Salman substantial amounts of their wealth, then they were released.

But they are now staying in their homes. Firstly, they are strictly not allowed to travel outside Saudi Arabia. They are being closely and harshly monitored inside Saudi Arabia, to the extent that the majority of them have been fitted with monitoring devices to their legs, which electronically tells the authorities the areas that they move in. And [the authorities] records their conversations whether on the phone or directly with a person. So they are under personal, severe and humiliating surveillance inside Saudi Arabia and they are not allowed to leave.

MEE: King Salman and MBS are in complete control. There are no independent judges nor institutions nor parliament to temper their actions. There is a climate of fear. What can the rest of the royal family do now?

KbF: Of course, the imprisonment of the princes created a state of psychological trauma within the entire family, which is represented by two things. Firstly, they fear for their own future as a ruling family in Saudi Arabia. And secondly, they are not happy with the policies being pursued currently, the policies being pursued now which are irrational, erratic and stupid.

Of course, the whole family, or most of it, rejects these policies, out of fear for themselves firstly, and for their country, and the future of the kingdom, of themselves, and of their children.

So the whole family, in the end, are Saudi citizens, and only some of the members of the ruling family are the ones who are in control of creating the general policies of Saudi Arabia. The rest of the family are like the rest of the Saudi citizens, who are affected by the policies, but aren’t involved in making them.

There is a general rejection of the procedures taking place at the moment by the son of the king. Especially, in my personal opinion, if King Salman had been in a good state of health, things wouldn’t have reached this stage. When we see public policy in Saudi Arabia, we can see that King Salman is completely absent from the screen or from the political scene in Saudi Arabia.

I expect that giving advice for change, with everything we’ve seen, is not going to be useful. Because the current policy can’t be amended, there must be a complete change, and change can only be accomplished if you change the figurehead who rules now. I expect the royal family was in shock, and of course in human nature, it usually takes a while to wake up from this shock. I think we are now starting to wake up from this shock.

But the problem is that those prominent princes are stuck in Saudi Arabia, under strict, harsh surveillance, but I expect there will be some movement, or something, within the family for a change, an all-encompassing change, because a change in policy or amendments in policy is no longer helpful, no, we need a change of the ruler himself, or the figurehead that rules Saudi Arabia.

Regime change: 'Europe and America will have to foot the bill'

MEE: Recently there were reports of gunfire outside the palace. The official version was that they were shooting at a drone. Mujtahid said that the palace was attacked by heavy guns mounted on two SUVs. Six security staff and two assailants died. Do you have information about this attack?

KbF: I don’t have specific information as to who was behind this but I just think about it rationally. This drone can be purchased here for a 100 euros or cheaper if it’s Chinese. These types of drones - for you to use heavy guns and fire for a whole hour - these drones could fly from Riyadh to another city in that period of time. So you cannot accept logically that it’s a matter of a drone. I personally believe that this was, not necessarily an attempt to bring down Mohammed bin Salman but rather an act of protest against him.

MEE: How stable is Saudi Arabia internally?

KbF: I would like to say to Europeans that the situation in Saudi Arabia resembles a volcano that is about to erupt. And if this volcano erupts, it will not only affect the situation inside Saudi Arabia or in the Arab region, but it will also have an effect on you too.

This is because Saudi Arabia is diverse in terms of its make-up, whether it's tribal, societal or even generational.

There is a generation that’s been brought up with Wahhabism and a generation that was educated outside [of Saudi Arabia] and returned. There is no social cohesion in Saudi society.

So should a coup take place, or a coup is orchestrated from circles outside of the ruling family, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could easily become a centre for international terrorism. How? Riyadh, the central region, the western region and all other regions - there isn’t complete cohesion between them.

There will be divisions amongst tribes and generations even within a single region in Saudi Arabia. There will be internal chaos in Saudi Arabia. We should not forget that there are terrorist sleeper cells within Saudi Arabia, and that Wahhabi ideology is a radical ideology, and, based on what I’ve read, of the Islamists that Europeans and Americans are frightened most of, it's Wahhabism or the sleeper cells in Saudi Arabia.

So, if Saudi Arabia descends into a state of chaos, there will be global chaos, and it [Saudi Arabia] will be a source of terrorism for the entire world as it will support and sustain international terrorism. Therefore, it is wiser to be cautious than to seek treatment.

Politics in Saudi Arabia is moving towards the collapse of the state itself, and if the state collapses - not to mention what will happen to the global economy - but from a security perspective, I think that Europe and America will have to foot the bill for what happens in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi leadership: 'King Salman is the symbol of racism'

MEE: Do you know MBS and the king personally? How would you describe their personalities?

KbF: Salman was the one whom I dealt with the most. Salman was the emir of Riyadh and we were in a unique situation; initially we lived outside of Saudi Arabia and then we returned on the instructions of the late King Fahd. Our situation changed directly as a result of Prince Salman. At that time, Prince Salman was in charge of the royal family and he had a family affairs administration in Riyadh which managed the affairs of every emir in the royal family.

But as for his son Mohammed, I’ve never dealt with him or seen him before but I’ve heard from people within the family. At school he had psychological problems and I’d rather not go into too much detail, but mental health can affect someone entirely, and I can see clearly that after he came into power and the way he deals in politics is reflective of his psychological problems.

MEE: Was he violent?

KbF: I wouldn’t say he was violent, but when he was younger, in the royal family, he didn’t have status, he was an ordinary member of the family. His brothers had higher positions, and they had a voice within the Saudi ruling elite. Of course, his cousins were older, more experienced, better positioned, more educated and everything else.

So I think he developed psychological problems, because one of his cousins whom he arrested, when he would meet him, he [Mohammed bin Salman] would have to ask for an appointment, and maybe the prince would meet him, or maybe not. So this created within him a psychological problem that represents a vengeance against his cousins.

MEE: Salman required your parents to divorce because your mother was Egyptian and your sister to divorce because she was married to a Kuwaiti. Is he a racist?

KbF: King Salman is the symbol of racism. We all think highly of his father King Abdulaziz but King Salman looked up to his father like a prophet. This is what made Salman incredibly racist, even within the family itself amongst his brothers.

We can see that with the Sudayris, who are the children of Hussa Sudayri and they enjoy a special status. For example, when King Fahd bin Abdulaziz became ill and we all know he suffered a brain clot which prevented him for ruling at the time, Prince Abdullah became acting king and this displeased King Salman because Abdullah at the time was not one of the Sudayris.

It even reached to a point when, as acting king, Abdullah removed some of the privileges allocated to the royal family like free travel, Salman ignited a rebellion within the family against Abdullah, and with the help of Prince Nayef he tried to remove Abdullah from his post.

But Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz prevented this plan from happening. He told them that the national security of Saudi Arabia was more important that the safety of the family. At the time there were issues in Iraq and that was more of a priority than internal personal issues. Especially as King Abdullah’s measures were much more popular generally in Saudi Arabia.

King Salman, and I do not exaggerate, is extremely racist to levels I have not seen before. Of course, as we all know King Salman is head of the whole family and he discriminated between tribes and within each tribe he favoured some personally over others.

He even discriminated between "qabili" and "khadiri" - "khadiri" is someone who is not a member of a tribe in Saudi Arabia. The status of "qabili" members is higher and better than the status of "khadiri" members. And there are differences between the tribes, in terms of size etc. So there is discrimination even between the tribes. And within a tribe itself there is discrimination between the figure heads and the members.

[Salman] favoured the royal family over the rest of the Saudi public. And within the family itself there was discrimination. He [Salman] favoured the Sudayri branch over the rest of the family. Even within the family, Salman discriminated against King Saud’s children and excluded them from any power or financial privileges.

The Saudi government, in general, has divided society in Saudi Arabia. This social division is part of their plan. I believe that the mastermind behind this plan is Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Reform: 'Today, we’ve lost our dignity'

MEE: Political leaders in Britain and the US think of Mohammed bin Salman as a reformer. Are they right about him?

KbF: He’s done two things that I can commend. And the main thing he did, he didn’t do it for the Saudi population, he did it to gain popularity with the Americans and European countries.

The first thing, allowing women to drive cars. This isn’t generosity, it is a woman’s right to drive, it’s her basic right.

Second, he restricted the influence of the Saudi religious authority. This religious authority is a government organisation. It is supportive of it even in matters that violate Islamic law, if we’re talking about Islamic law. You can see from the events that have happened. I’m talking about the mufti and the High Council of Scholars, which I call the High Council of Hypocrites.

The restriction of the influence of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice inside Saudi Arabia. This committee is a smart tool of repression from the government, in the name of religion, not in the name of the Royal Family.

They destroy the image of Islam. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, is a committee is supposed to be spreading the message of Islam in a pleasant way but they do it in a contradictory manner. For example, let’s remember the fire in a school in the city of Mecca. A girl’s school caught fire. The families of the students were outside and wanted to get to rescue their daughters and the fire brigade was waiting. The committee prevented anyone from entering the building under the pretext that the girls may not be properly dressed. They made Islam look ignorant.

MEE: What would real political reform look like?

KbF: We’re tired of this political instability. When King Salman came, he changed the structure of the state, the leaders who were with him, he changed course of the state - both domestic and foreign policies. So, King Salman comes and he changes this, if Mohammed left and another king came instead, he would also change things. The make-up of the state will constantly change with the personality of the king.

Where is the strategic plan for the state? We need to have a clear goal that we’re working towards. And it’s the role of the king to come up with a tactical plan to help us enact these strategies. But, with the way we’re going, our country will be late reaching them. We’re already late. We used to think that we had financial assets and educated individuals, but unfortunately the situation right now is taking us back years.

We noticed that since King Salman took control of the government over the Kingdom, that political arrests and detentions increased by 100 per cent. I am not saying that Saudi Arabia at the start was a liberal and open country, no. It was a dictatorship, yes, but that dictatorship was shared. The shared dictatorship allowed citizens to go to different figureheads with their problems.

Today, it's a dictatorship concentrated in the only one person. So in regards to our openness, we are heading towards worse and not to openness. But he is promoting himself to the European countries to gain support. And we’ve all seen the amount of financial support given to the United States from Saudi funds, and given in a humiliating way.

For example, the last visit for Mohammed bin Salman to the United States, President Trump put a board on his chest. I’m criticising even the president himself, Trump. He’s got a board on Mohammed bin Salman’s chest and by doing that he’s not only putting it on the chest of Mohammed bin Salman, but on the chest of every Arab, Saudi or Muslim. This is humiliating to us all. Unfortunately, he was representing the country. I felt like I was watching a car crash. The leader of the greatest country in the world, and they put a board and describing items as if they’re in a supermarket.

So, in the old days Saudi Arabia was a dictatorship, but they looked after their dignity. Today, we’ve lost our dignity. Dictatorship is here and it’s worse. The resources of the country are being squandered and all for one reason, to ensure Mohammed bin Salman becomes king. So the resources of the country can be squandered, political failure domestically and externally, a worsening dictatorship, such a form of subordination that can not be justified, loads of things and all for one reason, for one person. All this for one person out of 30 million.

Saudi Prince Khaled bin Farhan On The Saudi Royal Family
(4:38 min.)

Saudi Prince Khaled bin Farhan On Regime Change
(6:02 min.)

Saudi Prince Khaled bin Farhan: 'King Salman is the symbol of racism'
(6:41 min.)

Saudi Prince Khaled bin Farhan On Reform
(5:33 min.)
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
An Arab media outlet quoted US sources as saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been wounded in the April 21 coup and shootings in his palace.

Mon May 28, 2018 - US, British Sources Confirm Saudi Crown Prince's Injury
Farsnews

The Arabic-language Sawt al-Arab news website quoted the American sources as saying that the Saudi crown prince has been injured during the shooting incident in al-Khazami region, adding that he was taken out of the scene with a helicopter.

According to the website, although the Saudi media have released a number of images of bin Salman after the incident whose date cannot be confirmed, it is not yet clear if he has been treated or is still hospitalized for his injuries.

Meantime, Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, wrote on his twitter page that rumors have increased about the injury of bin Salman during al-Khazami incident, noting that the plan to release images of the crown prince to prove his survival has failed.

Also, the British newspaper, Observer, released a report, raising doubts about the survival of bin Salman during the April 21 coup, stressing that the media outlets have now focused on the possibility of his injury or even death.

Bin Salman who is also the Saudi defense minister has not appeared in the public after the April 21 coup in his palace and continues to be absent in public gatherings, noting that he was not seen among a host of Riyadh officials at the cadets graduation ceremony in King Abdolaziz military college on May 19 either.

The Saudi defense ministry announced in a statement on May 19 that Riyadh ruler Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdolaziz has attended the ceremony instead of bin Salman.

The statement declined to comment on the reason of bin Salman's absence while naturally the defense minister should participate in such ceremonies.

Earlier this month, an Iranian daily reported that bin Salman is likely dead after an assassination attempt on his life last month, claiming intel from the security service of an Arab state.

According to the Persian-language newspaper, Keyhan, a secret service report sent to the senior officials of an unnamed Arab state disclosed that bin Salman has been hit by two bullets during the April 21 attack on his palace, adding that he might well be dead as he has never appeared in the public ever since.

Heavy gunfire was heard near the Saudi King's palace in Riyadh Saudi Arabia on April 21, while King Salman was taken to a US bunker at an airbase in the city.

A growing number of videos surfaced the media at the time displaying that a heavy gunfire erupted around King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's palace in the capital, Riyadh.

Reports said the king and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were evacuated to a bunker at an airbase in the city that is under the protection of the US troops.

While Saudi officials and media were quiet over the incident, there were contradicting reports over the incident. Witnesses and residents of the neighborhoods near the palace said a coup was underway, adding that the soldiers attacking the palace were guided by footage and intel they were receiving from a drone flying over the palace.

Saudi opposition members claimed that "a senior ground force officer has led a raid on the palace to kill the king and the crown prince".

Videos also showed that a growing number of armored vehicles were deployed around the palace. 'Bin Salman's special guard' then took charge of security in the capital. Riyadh's sky was then closed to all civil and military flights as military helicopters from 'Bin Salman's special guard' were flying over the palace.

Bin Salman was a man who almost often appeared before the media but his absence since the gunfire in Riyadh has raised questions about his health.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has witnessed a series of radical political changes over the past year as Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin as crown prince and jailed well-known princes in an anti-corruption purge.

Moreover, bin Salman oversees social and economic reforms that have been censured by several powerful Wahhabi clerics.

Saudi Arabia is also embroiled in a long running conflict in its Southern neighbor Yemen, dubbed by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Notably, bin Salman made no media appearance during the April 28 visit of the newly-appointed US State Secretary Mike Pompeo to Riyadh, his first foreign trip as the top US diplomat.

During his stay in Riyadh, Saudi media outlets published images of Pompeo’s meetings with King Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

This is while the state-run outlets used to publish images of meetings in Riyadh between bin Salman and former US secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

A few days after the April 21 incident, Saudi media published footage and images of bin Salman meeting several Saudi and foreign officials. But the date of the meetings could not be verified, so the release of the videos could be aimed at dispelling rumors about bin Salman’s conditions.

It is not clear if bin Salman’s disappearance is due to reasons such as him feeling threatened or being injured in the incident.


Thursday 3 May, 2018 - Saudi Arabia's whistleblower returns with more palace intrigues
Saudi Arabia's whistleblower returns with more palace intrigues

Mujtahid’s short Twitter statements oscillate between predictions, facts and rumour, thus pointing out a continuum between fact and fiction in the context of Saudi politics

Mujtahid, the anonymous but famous Saudi online source of information on Saudi palace intrigues, has returned to inflame social media with new revelations. Using his Twitter account, he discussed new security measures put in place by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and his aides, some of them foreign Egyptian advisors and consultants.

'Saudi Julian Assange'
Secret royal circles and the quest for more information about royal intrigues gave rise to a novel and unique Saudi Twitter phenomenon, namely Mujtahid ibn Harith ibn Hamam, dubbed a "Saudi Julian Assange", a mysterious "whistleblower", and "rebel tweeter". He has captured the imagination of international and regional media since he started his account in 2011.

Although there is no way to separate truth from fiction in his claims, many observers are convinced that he is an estranged member of the royal family and are engaged in a guessing game over his possible identity. Others think that Saudi London-based dissident Saad al-Faqih is the real Mujtahid.

I interviewed Mujtahid in 2015 as soon as King Salman started grooming his son to succeed him.

It is important to move away from the quest for the real identity of Mujtahid as this may prove to be a futile exercise. Instead, understanding the phenomenon and the content of his statements is more interesting.

Mujtahid is a reflection of the global phenomenon that came to haunt established democracies in the last decade when Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and others employed in the national security state and private businesses turned into whistleblowers.

The phenomenon is not a reflection of authoritarian rule per se, but is prevalent as a result of citizens' demand for greater transparency in an age when even well-established democracies have proved susceptible to secret intrigues.

However, Mujtahid does not often offer documents to support his whistleblowing; rather, he claims to be informed by anonymous sources close to the king and senior princes.

It is astonishing that he suddenly became so important, followed on Twitter by so many people not only in Saudi Arabia but outside it even without providing hard evidence in support of his commentaries and rumours.

Mujtahid’s prophesies
As Saudi Arabia entered a phase of an increasing opaque, centralised and repressive government, the one-man show of the crown prince is bound to generate further rumours and conspiracy theories.

In a secretive monarchy with all powers concentrated in the hands of one person with no recourse to openness, transparency and the rule of the law, it is not surprising that the Mujtahid phenomenon will continue to attract interest and inflame the imagination of observers.

By April 2015 the king had placed his son in key senior posts such as the Ministry of Defence and the Economic Council, in addition to appointing him deputy crown prince.

Mujtahid was the first to announce the imminent removal of Mohammed bin Nayef from his post as crown prince and the promotion of Mohammed bin Salman to the position in June 2016. He also kept tweeting that the commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, Miteb bin Abdullah, was next in the line to be swiftly dismissed from his position.

Mujtahid was right. By November 2017, Miteb was not only removed from office but also detained with other princes for several weeks at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. At the time Saudi media dismissed Mujtahid's forecasts and attributed them to his fantasies and the wishful thinking of his over two million followers on Twitter.

A new storm
Mujtahid created a recent storm when he organised his thoughts in a series of tweets elaborating on the unprecedented domestic policies of Mohammed Bin Salman. According to Mujtahid, all security files are now in the hands of the prince, who is currently advised by a cohort of Egyptian security experts, especially on issues related to detentions and the personalities that need to be targeted.

Even Mohammed bin Salman's number Saudi one security adviser, Abdulaziz al-Huwairini, is rendered a mere secretary who has no initiatives of his own, apart from those coming from the prince and his foreign advisors.

Mujtahid points to an important new practice under the crown prince. In the past, the Ministry of Interior would indulge relatives of exiled dissidents, treat them lavishly and precipitate a rift within members of one family. This strategy aimed at dividing kin groups and turning their members against each other, a practice well rehearsed in repressive regimes like the Saudi one.

In the past, exiled dissidents and activists got the sticks, but members of their families got the carrots. Family heads are asked to disown their dissident sons. In return they are rewarded by senior princes, especially those in charge of security in the Ministry of Interior and the intelligence services.

Sometimes such relatives are used as go-between, envoys who communicate with activists abroad with a view to returning them to
Saudi Arabia, or merely reporting on them to the authorities during their visits.



However, Mohammed bin Salman, accordiang to Mujtahid, has abandoned the co-option strategy in favour of top-down punishment of dissidents’ relatives who remain in the country.

Abdullah al-Ghamdi, an activist and a dissident, informed his followers on Twitter that his mother and other relatives were detained in an attempt to put pressure on him to return to Saudi Arabia. Mujtahid seems to allude to the fact that such practices are now the standard way of dealing with critical voices that had escaped abroad.

Anonymous but famous
The crown prince abandoned the semblance of paternalism and kindness towards those families whose dissident sons are regarded as having gone astray. Detaining a wide circle of relatives is now standard punishment.

The security of the regime and in particular that of the crown prince consumes a vast amount of money, thus reflecting the sense of insecurity in the palace and fear of a hidden revolt fermenting among disgruntled princes, some of whom had been seriously humiliated.

According to Mujtahid, the task of protecting the regime is now the responsibility of a consortium of foreign troops, recruited mercenaries, and others. It seems that the prince does not trust Arabs, in the past mainly Moroccans and Jordanians, or Pakistanis with this important job. Instead he chose to go global and recruited among those private security companies that have no loyalty to anybody apart from the one who pays the bills.

Mujtahid explains that his own popularity is attributed, first, to the obsession of Saudi society with royal secrets that he has fully exposed and, second, to the accuracy of his rumours, which subsequent events confirmed. His credibility rests, in his opinion, on disseminating information in respectable language, guided by strict moral and religious codes.

In addition to his linguistic skills, he avoids sensational and unwarranted stories that delve into the private lives of princes. In this respect, Mujtahid distinguishes himself from previous opposition figures whose discourse often degenerated into personal attacks on royalty.

Undermining regime legitimacy
Mujtahid says his main purpose is to help other more vocal opposition figures to use the information he provides with a view to undermining the legitimacy of the regime. He insists that he wants to contribute to the project of political change. His contribution consists of exposing lies and intrigues in order to undermine the mystique of monarchy.

In the context of controlled media and propaganda, the regime appears intact, powerful, and feared. Delving into behind-the-scenes information and exposing cracks within the royal household contribute to this project, according to Mujtahid. The regime has "a false and fabricated hayba [mystique]", that he tries to expose.

Mujtahid insists that several military units in the kingdom would refuse to be engaged in a struggle in support of one prince against another should the latent rivalry between the princes become public.

The popularity of Mujtahid among domestic and global audiences stems from his ability to spread rumours to anticipate certain royal reshuffles and expose corruption at all government levels. However, although Mujtahid does not openly call for the implementation of a specific political system, he is critical of Saudi liberals and Islamists, especially those loyal to the government.

He is also critical of official ulama, for example those who unquestionably accept and defend all government decisions. In his view, true Islam "requires one to reject injustice, repression, and corruption. I circulate information that exposes those hypocrites among state intellectuals, ulama, and also Islamists."

Mujtahid’s Twitter statements oscillate between predictions, facts, and rumour, thus pointing out a continuum between fact and fiction in the context of Saudi politics. He will continue to be followed as long as Saudi Arabia continues to be governed by the iron fist of one man and his foreign advisors and mercenaries.
 

Ursus Minor

Padawan Learner
The security of the regime and in particular that of the crown prince consumes a vast amount of money, thus reflecting the sense of insecurity in the palace and fear of a hidden revolt fermenting among disgruntled princes, some of whom had been seriously humiliated.

According to Mujtahid, the task of protecting the regime is now the responsibility of a consortium of foreign troops, recruited mercenaries, and others. It seems that the prince does not trust Arabs, in the past mainly Moroccans and Jordanians, or Pakistanis with this important job. Instead he chose to go global and recruited among those private security companies that have no loyalty to anybody apart from the one who pays the bills.
So that's an ominous sign for the trust the Saudi power structure has in itself and its kinship. Remember that MBS and the King had to be swiftly moved to a bunker controlled by U.S. Forces. Meanwhile MBS is now missing for 40 days...

Another thing I remember having read somewhere is that the Saudi Army, which is conducting warfare on neighboring Yemen is said to be largely composed of Yemeni mercenaries. :rolleyes:
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So that's an ominous sign for the trust the Saudi power structure has in itself and its kinship. Remember that MBS and the King had to be swiftly moved to a bunker controlled by U.S. Forces. Meanwhile MBS is now missing for 40 days...

Another thing I remember having read somewhere is that the Saudi Army, which is conducting warfare on neighboring Yemen is said to be largely composed of Yemeni mercenaries. :rolleyes:
Searching Arab new sites - No new reports on MBS? Although, it seems the King is making waves ...

02.06.2018 - Saudi King Reshuffles Government with Focus on Culture, Religion
Saudi King Reshuffles Government With Focus on Culture, Religion

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a slew of royal orders on Saturday appointing ministers of culture, Islamic affairs and labor.

In the decrees, carried by the SPA state news agency, the king announced the establishment of a Culture Ministry and named Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud as its chief.

He also replaced Labor and Social Development Minister Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafis with Ahmed bin Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al-Rajhi.

Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Al-Sheikh was promoted to the post of Islamic affairs, call and guidance minister. Additionally, a board of directors was set up to oversee the holy city of Mecca and other shrines.


May 28, 2018 - Speculation over Saudi Crown Prince health amid rumours of his death
Speculation over Saudi Crown Prince health amid rumours of his death

Western media outlets have raised speculations over the wellbeing of Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman who has not made any public appearance in four weeks.

French 20 Minutes newspaper linked between the prince’s disappearance and the “attempted coup” which took place at the royal palace in the neighbourhood of Khuzama in Riyadh on April, 21.

According to the paper, the Saudi media has rejected reports circulating on social media claiming the gunshots heard at the palace were part of a military coup attempt while the authorities claim a semi-automatic fire was used to send away a drone that appeared near the palace wall.

The French paper’s report follows another report issued by British The Observer which also raised doubts about the prince’s health. Bin Salman has not appeared in public since his meeting with the Spanish royal family on April 12.

The al-Ahd al-Jadeed Twitter account, which describes itself as “close to the decision-making circles” in Saudi Arabia claimed that the Crown Prince has not entered the royal court since the incident at the royal palace in April.

Last week, Iranian Kayhan newspaper reported that the crown prince had been shot twice during the attack and may have already died, citing a secret intelligence report sent to senior officials in an unnamed Arab country.

According to the site, Bin Salman did not appear before camera when new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh late last April.

The Saudi royal family on Wednesday released a photo of bin Salman at a cabinet meeting in Jeddah and confirmed he was alive.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Without any type of official notice from the Saudi Kingdom - everything is still - pure speculation?

Sat Jun 02, 2018 - Western Sources Confirm Coup against Saudi Crown Prince
Farsnews

A leading Arab daily quoted western sources as saying that the April 21 shooting at the royal palace in Riyadh was a coup, stressing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in deep fear after the coup.

The Arabic-language al-Rai al-Youm newspaper wrote that the western advisers have recommended bin Salman to avoid appearance in the public and stop making provocative decisions in a bid to survive until he becomes the king.

According to a western source, "bin Salman has been scared to death by the April 21 attack" as he didn’t think that the royal palace which is the most sensitive place in Saudi Arabia could become the target of such an attack.

The source added that bin Salman has replaced the Saudi soldiers with western guards, noting that his life has changed and he rarely speaks on the phone for the fear of being tracked by his opponents.

The western officials have also advised the Saudi crown prince not to act like a king and wait until his father's death to ascend to the thrown.

An Arab media outlet quoted US sources as saying late last month that bin Salman had been wounded in the April 21 coup and shootings in his palace.

The Arabic-language Sawt al-Arab news website quoted the American sources as saying that the Saudi crown prince has been injured during the shooting incident in al-Khazami region, adding that he was taken out of the scene with a helicopter.

According to the website, although the Saudi media have released a number of images of bin Salman after the incident whose date cannot be confirmed, it is not yet clear if he has been treated or is still hospitalized for his injuries.

Meantime, Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, wrote on his twitter page that rumors have increased about the injury of bin Salman during al-Khazami incident, noting that the plan to release images of the crown prince to prove his survival has failed.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, disclosed the secrets behind establishment of a Council for the Royal Protected Areas in the Royal Court.

Sun Jun 03, 2018 - Saudi Whistle-Blower Reveals Secrets behind Formation of Royal Protected Areas Council
Farsnews

"These vast areas are nothing but the first stage of land confiscation by (Saudi crown prince) Mohammed bin Salman. The next stages will witness largest areas and all of them will be owned by bin Salman," Mujtahid was quoted by Arabi 21 website as writing on his twitter page.

He said that the protected areas will be superficially owned by the public but actually will be the properties of bin Salman.

A royal decree in Saudi Arabia saw the establishment of a Council for the Royal Protected Areas in the Royal Court.

The Royal Protected Areas Council would be chaired by Muhammad Bin Salman, who is also the deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Under the royal orders, six natural reserves were designated in order "to re-establish wildlife, enhance their development and promote eco-tourism".
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
08 June 2018 - Kremlin: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit Russia next week (Developing)

Friday, 8 June 2018 - Mohammed bin Salman to visit Russia next week, announces Kremlin
Mohammed bin Salman to visit Russia next week, announces Kremlin

Kremlin

The Saudi Crown Prince will be present during the World Cup opening to support the Kingdom’s national team. (Supplied)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Russia next week, Interfax cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.

The crown prince will be present during Russia’s World Cup opening to support the Kingdom’s national team which will be the first Arab team playing against the Russian team on June 14.

The first group include Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay.


June 08, 2018 - King Salman receives dignitaries from Bahrain, Guinea in Makkah
King Salman receives dignitaries from Bahrain, Guinea in Makkah

JEDDAH: King Salman received President Alpha Conde of Guinea and his accompanying delegation, Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, and his accompanying delegation, and Speaker of the National Assembly of Kuwait Marzouq bin Ali Al-Ghanim, at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah on Thursday evening.
During his talks with Conde, bilateral relations and ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in all fields were reviewed.

The meeting was attended by Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, State Minister Prince Mansour bin Mutaib, Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and other senior officials.

Later, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.

During the meeting, they discussed the relations between the two countries, latest regional developments and a number of issues of common concern.
 

Ursus Minor

Padawan Learner
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Russia next week, Interfax cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.

The crown prince will be present during Russia’s World Cup opening to support the Kingdom’s national team which will be the first Arab team playing against the Russian team on June 14.
That's cool. So it took the CIA's Scientific department around four to six weeks to duplicate or reassemble MBS. President Putin might be taking a long hard look at him to find out whether he's actually in good working order, or if there are any noticeable glitches. :cool:

Or maybe I'm just phantasizing and it took him a couple of weeks to recuperate from his gun-shot wounds...
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
June 9, 2018 - MBS Repeatedly Met with Israeli Officials during His Disappearance: Report
MBS Repeatedly Met with Israeli Officials during His Disappearance: Report

Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salmen, has repeatedly met with Israeli officials during his month-long disappearance, a report said.

The Saudi prince, who is widely known as MBS, met with high-ranking Israeli officials as part of Riyadh’s latest moves to normalize Arabic ties with the Zionist entity, The New Khalij News reported Friday, citing Egyptian well-informed sources.

MBS had been absent on the public stage since the shooting incident near the royal palace at Riyadh in April 21. Earlier this week (on June 5), Saudi authorities released an image for the Saudi Crown Prince with Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj in Jeddah.

In the Friday report, the Egyptian sources said that MBS has been seeking to form a regional alliance aimed against Tehran.

Steps taken by MBS in this context are excessive concessions,” The New Khalij quoted Egyptian source as saying on condition of anonymity.
As MBS assures that he will end his vision of the so-called deal of the century through pressing Palestinian sides, Jordan meanwhile, takes a stance that opposes the American vision – which agrees with MBS’ vision, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed quoted Egyptian source as saying.

The report by Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed noted meanwhile that there have been efforts to end Jordan’s guardianship of the Islamic holy sites in Al-Quds.
 

Ursus Minor

Padawan Learner
He Lives!

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was among dignitaries in Moscow on Thursday as his country's team suffered a 5-0 defeat against hosts Russia in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup.

MBS in Moscow

Bin Salman, who is known as MbS, had not been seen in public since late April, when an influential Saudi blogger known as Mujtahidd posted reports on Twitter of gunfire near royal palaces in Riyadh, prompting weeks of speculation about his whereabouts.

Saudi Football Fans

Full article at Middleeasteye.net
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
14.06.2018 - Saudi Arabia Wants to Continue Oil Cooperation With Russia - Crown Prince
Saudi Arabia Wants to Continue Oil Cooperation With Russia - Crown Prince

According to the Saudi prince, who is on a visit to Russia to attend the opening of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow, the fruitful work of the two countries in the economic, industrial and oil sectors has helped to stabilize the situation in the world economy by regulating the trends on the global oil market.

And, certainly, we want to continue this cooperation and move ahead," the prince stressed.

Foreign Ministry
@KSAmofaEN


#Moscow | Russian President Vladimir Putin receives Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at #Kremlin
10:07 AM - Jun 14, 2018

 
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