Former Saudi royal court chief lashes out at Nasrallah

Former Saudi royal court chief lashes out at Nasrallah
Khaled al-Tuwaijri has broken his silence to respond to accusations by the Hizballah chief hinting at internal strife in the Saudi royal family, calling Nasrallah's claims 'obscene lies'.
3 min read
02 March, 2016
Tuwaijri was responding to a fiery speech by the Hizballah chief [AFP]

The former head of the Saudi royal court, Khaled al-Tuwaijri, has rebuffed Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah for claiming the Saudi official was under house arrest.

Tuwaijri, who was one of the most powerful men in Saudi Arabia under the late King Abdullah, also denied Nasrallah's allegation that Riyadh had suspended aid to Lebanon because of King Abdullah's death, in what was a possible hint by the Hizballah leader of contradicting policies between the current and former Saudi administrations.

The former royal court chief issued the denials in a lenghty statement posted on his Twitter account.

"I refuse to remain silent about what Hassan Nasrallah said about my person and my country," Tuwaijri wrote. 

"Nasrallah's claims are obscene... King Abdullah's actions at the time were in line with political conditions that are different than those today."

The former Saudi official accused Nasrallah of seeking to incite strife, insisting the current crisis between Riyadh and Hizballah was due to the latter's obstruction of elections, and its efforts to dominate Lebanon and its foreign policy.

Tuwaijri categorically denied Nasrallah's suggestion that he has been under house arrest since he was relieved of his duties, after the death of King Abdullah.

Tuwaijri categorically denied Nasrallah's suggestion that he has been under house arrest since being relieved of duties after King Abdullah's death

But reports that Tuwaijri has been under house arrest are not new. 

In February 2015, a Saudi news website, Al-Khalij Al-Jadeed, reported that the former chief of the Saudi Royal Court had not left the country and is still being held under house arrest since the death of the late King Abdullah.

The website reported that Tuwaijri is barred from travelling pending investigations into financial and political corruption.

In a speech on Tuesday, Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah called on Saudi Arabia to not collectively punish Lebanon's people just because Riyadh opposes his group's policies.

Last week, Riyadh halted a $3 billion programme to fund and equip Lebanese security forces and urged Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon in response to "hostile" positions linked to Hizballah.

Nasrallah said the kingdom's recent decisions were solely due to its opposition to Hizballah, adding that the military funding had been frozen since the death of Saudi's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in January 2015.

"If there's a criminal, I'm the criminal, Hizballah is the criminal," Nasrallah said on Tuesday.

"If you have a problem with us, you can continue doing so - but what does the rest of the country have to do with it," he asked.

Nasrallah also accused Saudi Arabia of trying to spark "sedition between Sunni and Shia Muslims" when it executed Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on January 2.