“Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has fired his chosen successor, reportedly over his opposition to the Saudi-led military campaign against Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, the crown prince and deputy prime minister, was replaced by the king’s nephew as part of a broader shakeup. On Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition struck the international airport in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, damaging the main runway, to prevent the landing of an Iranian plane, which Iran said carried food and medicine……………….”
Saudi dynasty wars will continue, and they will erupt periodically into an open power struggle, as happened this week. That is how things turn out in the absence of institutional rule.
Saudi King Salman issued an unexpected order deposing Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz. The relatively young Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef was moved up to Crown Prince. Defense Minister and Son of the King Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (reported to be in his upper twenties) was promoted to Crown Prince to the Crown Prince. As usual, Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz refused to accept the power shift, as apparently did his son Al-Waleed, as reportedly did a bunch of other senior princes.
Some speculated that Prince Muqrin had opposed the bombing attacks on Yemen, while others in Arab media attributed that position to his mother being from Yemen. In addition the King Faisal branch of the royal family was removed from positions of power, starting with long-serving foreign minister Prince Saud Al Faisal (forty years on the job). The Prince Sultan branch has already been mostly removed, including Bandar and Khaled. The only “outsider” prince to remain in a position of power is Me’eb (or Mut’eb) Bin Abdullah, son of the late king who inherited the powerful National Guard armed forces from his father. There is speculation that he will be on his way out soon.
The Saudis have also moved across the region. They have now allied with Turkey and fellow-Wahhabi Qatar to support the Syrian Al Qaeda franchise Al Nusra Front and other allied Jihadis in Syria. They have continued a relentless bombing campaign on Yemen, which has caused more than a thousand deaths and destroyed much of that poor country’s infrastructure. The war is now in its second month, and it has failed to bring the Houthi-Saleh alliance to heel. They are still expanding their holdings on the ground in the south around Aden, after having largely secured the northern part of Yemen. So far only the Southern Independence Movement and AQAP and a few tribal elements oppose them. So far the Yemen strategy, whatever it is, has failed.
King Salman is not as dumb as he was pictured by some of the opposition: he followed up his ‘palace coup’ with a huge bribe to those that count. He ordered a bonus of one month’s extra salary to be paid to all members of the Saudi security forces and armed forces.
Back in Riyadh: Ralph, Piggy, Simon, Jack, and the Littluns of Arabia are locked in a power struggle…….
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum