With the elevation of Mohammad bin Salman to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi family will get involved in a fierce internal struggle, says an Iranian expert on Middle East affairs.
Sabah Zanganeh, a senior political analyst and Iran’s former envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the decision of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to relieve Muhammad Bin Nayef of his post as crown prince and replace him with Mohammad bin Salman would involve the Saudi family in bitter struggle among the princes.
“The decision to sack bin Nayef was in the making for a year,” he said, adding that Mohammad bin Salman is a power-hungry politician who has been seeking to replace bin Nayef for many years.
In a Farsi interview with the Mehr New Agency, Zanganeh referred to bin Salman’s thirst for interfering in all military, political and economic affairs of Saudi Arabia and said with the recent developments, it was expected that the Saudi King Salman would elevate Mohammad bin Salman to the crown prince of the country.
He went on saying that the recent decision by Salman is not unprecedented during his tenure as king and added he once relieved one of his own brothers from the post of crown prince and replaced him with Muqrin bin Abdulaziz.
“But as experience shows, bin Salman would suffer the same fate in future,” he noted.
Zanganeh then referred to the “Allegiance Council” in Saudi Arabia and said the council consists of 15 high-ranking princes (The sons of Abdulaziz) and middle-ranking princes (The grandsons of Abdulaziz), and now with the appointment of bin Salman as the country’s crown prince, the council’s credibility has been questioned and this will lead to internal struggle in the Al Saud family.
Zanganeh stressed that since his elevation to the deputy crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman has done nothing but waging war on Yemen and creating tensions with neighbouring states.
The expert also referred to the outrage of other Saudi princes with the elevation of bin Salman, adding, ”From now on we would witness protests by Saudi Arabia’s civil society, cultural classes and traditional religious sections.”
He also noted that the provocative decision of King Salman would put the country’s government into serious problems.
In response to a question on whether or not the decision was made after consultation with US President Donald Trump, he said the consultation is not a matter of significant importance because Trump himself has his own problems at home and even may be impeached in the near future.
“The US is not worried about the replacement because it can work with the crown prince in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
He stressed that Washington does not care much about who is ruling in Saudi Arabia, adding the US is only concerned with its own political and economic interest in the region.
The US attaches importance to Saudi Arabia as far as it safeguards Washington’s regional interests, he said, adding, the US wants to see a ruler in Saudi Arabia who is more concerned with Washington’s interest rather than Saudi Arabia’s.
Touching on the latest diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the subsequent political and economic blockade on Doha by Riyadh and a number of its regional allies, he said Saudi Arabia made a grave strategic mistake by signing a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with the Trump administration because Riyadh’s economy is entirely dependent on oil and foreign exchange reserves.
“Half of the reserves were paid to the US and as a result, Saudi Arabia’s economy is set to experience a free fall,” he noted.