Saudi king receives 'MbS rival' Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah amid ongoing Khashoggi outrage

Saudi king receives 'MbS rival' Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah amid ongoing Khashoggi outrage
In a recent New York Times op-ed, Saudi academic Madawi al-Rasheed suggesed Prince Mutaib could be a possible replacement to Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince.
2 min read
12 November, 2018
King Salman (C) appears with Prince Mutaib to his right (L) [SPA]
Prince Mutaib al-Saud who was detained during the powerful crown prince's purge last year, has been received by King Salman amid growing pressure on the royal family since the murder of critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prince Mutaib (aged 65) - son of the late King Abdullah - appeared alongside King Salman in photos tweeted by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Monday.

A brief statement by SPA later said the king received Prince Mutaib among a crowd of "princes, the mufti of the kingdom and citizens who came to greet the king at the Yamama royal palace" on Monday.

It named Prince Mutaib and other royals in attendance, but did not provide further details.

Prince Mutaib's appearance at the royal palace comes at a curious timing for the Saudi royal family, which continues to be embroiled in controversy over the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi widely thought to have been ordered by the king's son and de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Following the ongoing backlash against bin Salman, there has been mounting pressure on the Saudi royal family to 'clip the wings' of the crown prince by bringing back more senior figures to help rule the kingdom or even replace him. 

In a New York Times op-ed in October, Rasheed touted Prince Mutaib as a possible replacement to MbS.

Mutaib, son of the late king Abdullah and former minister of the Saudi National Guard, was considered a rival of bin Salman, and a possible future king before his father's death.

He was detained last year at the Ritz Hotel - described by media as a "luxury prison" - alongside nearly 200 royals and business leaders.

The prince was released in November 2017 reportedly after agreeing to pay $10 billion and relinquishing his political ambitions.

Prince Mutaib made his first public appearance earlier this year.