Rift deepening in Saudi royal family? Crown prince stripped of some powers
Riyadh, March 19: The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud, has been stripped of some of his financial and economic authority by his father, King Salman bin Abulaziz Al Saud. According to a report in The Guardian, the decision of clipping the crown prince's wings was announced to a group of senior ministers of the West Asian kingdom during a cabinet meeting last week where the king spoke on many of the challenges his country is facing. Bin Salman or MBS was also invited to attend it but he failed to turn up.
The move was not announced publicly and according to the Guardian, one of the kings' trusted aides - the Harvard-educated Mausaed al-Aiban who was recently named as the country's national security adviser - was set to informally oversee investment moves on the king's behalf.
Tension between Saudi king and crown prince because of various reasons
Rumours are on that tension is brewing between the father and son owing to a number or reasons, including MBS's alleged role in the gruesome assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last year. The incident has put Saudi Arabia's human rights record under the scanner and the world opinion has gone strongly against it. It was in November last year, weeks after the Khashoggi incident, the process of clipping MBS's wings had started.
The role of Saudi Arabia in the ongoing conflict in Yemen is also believed to be a reason for the tension between the king and the crown prince.
The king is reportedly unhappy with his son also over the latter's noticeable absence from high-profile meetings. MBS was not present at a meeting with senior economic officials earlier this week and it was being speculated that the rift in the royal family has deepened over the decision to hand Mausaed al-Aiban the authority to oversee investment decisions on the king's behalf.
MBS was also absent during the king's meetings with diplomatic representatives from Russia, India and China.
The Saudi king is also said to be upset with the prince's decision to promote Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan to serve as the Saudi ambassador to the US and his brother Khalid bin Salman, to the ministry of defence, after he left for an official visit to Egypt. Even MBS was not seen welcoming his father back home when he returned from Egypt, something which is against the custom.
The king is also said to be displeased over Prince Salman's decision to promote Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan to serve as Saudi ambassador to the US and his brother, Khalid bin Salman, to the ministry of defence after he left the country for an official trip to Egypt.
Both decisions were reportedly made without the king's approval or knowledge. Then, the prince did not personally welcome his father home at the airport upon his return to Saudi Arabia, which is seen as the customary thing to do.