Saudi royals move to oust Mohammed bin Salman: report

Saudi royals move to oust Mohammed bin Salman: report
Members of the Saudi royal family are pushing to prevent the powerful crown prince from ascending to the throne in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
3 min read
20 November, 2018
The CIA has concluded that the crown prince was behind the murder of Khashoggi [Getty]

Members of the Saudi royal family are trying to prevent powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from ascending to the throne following a backlash over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Three anonymous sources close to the royal court made the revelation to Reuters in a report published on Monday, saying that dozens of high-ranking princes want to see Mohammed bin Salman removed from the line of succession.

According to the report, the royals are in talks over the possibility of the full brother of the ageing king, Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, taking the throne after King Salman's death.

Last month, Prince Ahmad returned to Saudi Arabia from London amid pressure on the crown prince over the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Turkish and US intelligence appear to have indicated that the crown prince ordered the murder of Khashoggi, a journalist who had been critical about the new regime in Riyadh.

Prince Ahmad has been touted by some news outlets as a potential challenger for the crown prince position.

In September, the elderly prince drew attention when he stopped to speak to Yemeni and Bahraini protesters who were held an anti-war protest outside his London home.

Prince Ahmad was recorded on video telling the protesters not to hold the entire Saudi royal family responsible for the disastrous war in Yemen, but only King Salman and the crown prince.

The prince's comments prompted Riyadh to issue an explanation of the remarks via its official press agency to avert speculation about a rift in the ruling family.

Earlier this month, a newly-formed group of Saudi dissidents called for Prince Ahmad to take over from the crown prince because of his "irresponsible and aggressive" policies.

The CIA concluded last week that the crown prince was behind the murder of the jouralist - a charge Riyadh denies.

King Salman stood by the crown prince and heaped praise on the judiciary on Monday, in his first public remarks since Khashoggi's murder tipped the country into one of its worst crises with the West since the 9/11 attacks.

Khashoggi, who was critical of the crown prince, was killed after going to the consulate to retrieve documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiancee.

According to Turkish officials, an audio recording shows that Khashoggi was strangled to death and dismembered soon after entering the Saudi mission.

Crown Prince Mohammed had overtaken more senior and influential princes in Saudi Arabia to become the kingdom's most powerful man after his father, King Salman, took to the throne, in 2015.