An exiled Saudi prince has called for a coup by his influential uncles to depose King Salman and prevent the current ruling structure led by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from doing more damage to the kingdom.
Prince Khaled bin Farhan, who has been awarded asylum in Germany, made the call on Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz in comments to the Middle East Eye news portal published on Monday.
He asked the duo to use the influence they wield with their fellow royals as well as with the military to bring about the palace coup.
Such a change, bin Farhan asserted, was imperative to salvage the kingdom from Salman’s “irrational, erratic, and stupid” tutelage.
Saudi King Salman appointed bin Salman as the first in line to the throne in a surprise move last June that saw the monarch ousting Crown Prince Muhammed bin Nayef, who had himself replaced Muqrin in 2015.
Calling bin Salman’s meteoric rise to power into question, bin Farhan said, “If King Salman had been in a good state of health, things wouldn’t have reached this stage. When we see public policy in Saudi Arabia, we can see that King Salman is completely absent from the screen or from the political scene in Saudi Arabia.”
Bin Salman, also the country’s defense minister, is seen as the all-powerful figure in Saudi Arabia, whose impulsive attitude towards domestic and regional affairs has fueled much unrest both inside and outside the kingdom.
Late last year, he arrested hundreds of fellow princes and businessmen in what the young prince tried to portray as an “anti-corruption campaign,” seizing a total of $100 billion in exchange for their freedom.
He is also seen as the architect of the three-year-long Saudi-led invasion of neighboring Yemen, which has killed and displaced tens of thousands, and a key proponent of maximum regional and international pressure on regional powerhouse Iran.
Under bin Salman, the Saudi regime has also been rushing towards the normalization of ties with the regime in Tel Aviv at the expense of undermining the Palestinian cause.
Prince Khaled’s comments come amid the Saudi crown prince’s mysterious absence from the public eye since heavy gunfire and explosions were reported just outside the royal palace in Riyadh late last month.
Some sources claimed that the incidents on April 21 were part of a coup led by Saudi royals who are opposed to King Salman, while other reports suggested that the shooting occurred when the palace guards targeted a small drone which approached Salman’s residence.
Royal scene pregnant with change?
Bin Farhan further explained that the arrest spree of the powerful figures by bin Salman has created much resentment within the royal family against the crown prince, noting, “The family feels it has been humiliated.”
“There is so much anger within the royal family” to the point that a potential evolution in the country’s ruling structure would be backed by “99 percent of the members of the royal family, the security services, and the army would stand behind them,” bin Farhan said. “I have received a large number of emails from within the police and army in support of my call.”
He referred to the April 21 alleged coup attempt in Riyadh as an instance of preparedness for action against the ultra-powerful in the kingdom.
Bin Farhan contested reports that the security forces had tried to shoot down a drone during the incident, saying destroying an aircraft like that would not requires hours of exchange of fire.
He added, “It was a shock for the entire family because prominent figures in the family were detained, in a way that held a great deal of humiliation. It was a shock for the entire family. The family is now facing the undermining of its standing in the eyes of the people. And this will inevitably undermine its legitimacy.”
Even now, those freed are being kept on a short leash, with travel bans imposed upon them all, locators fitted onto their feet in most cases, and their contacts being closely monitored, he added.
The dissident royal also lashed out against a strict rule under which the ultimate power should solely rest in the hands of the king, warning about the consequences of such a one-man show for the kingdom.
“The make-up of the state will constantly change with the personality of the king,” Prince Khaled said.
“Where is the strategic plan for the state? We need to have a clear goal that we’re working towards. And it’s the role of the king to come up with a tactical plan to help us enact these strategies,” he said. “But, with the way we’re going, our country will be late reaching them. We’re already late. We use to think that we had financial assets and educated individuals, but unfortunately the situation right now is taking us back years.”
Bin Salman’s ‘psychological problems’
Speaking of bin Salman, bin Farhan said, “At school, he had psychological problems and I’d rather not go into too much detail, but mental health can affect someone entirely, and I can see clearly that after he came into power and the way he deals in politics is reflective of his psychological problems.”
Being treated as a non-significant ordinary prince has contributed to bin Salman’s current state of mind, he analyzed.
‘Bin Salman rule threatens world’
Bin Farhan warned that if MBS, as the crown prince is known, stayed in power, upheavals would follow.
“I would like to say to the Europeans that the situation in Saudi Arabia resembles a volcano that is about to erupt. If it erupts, it will affect not only the situation inside Saudi Arabia or in the Arab region but it will have an effect on you too,” he said.
“We should not forget that there are terrorist sleeper cells within Saudi Arabia, and that Wahhabi ideology” serves as the basis for the ideology of the Takfiri terrorists that “Europeans and Americans are frightened most of.”
“So, if Saudi Arabia descends into a state of chaos, there will be global chaos, and it (Saudi Arabia) will be a source of terrorism for the entire world as it will support and sustain international terrorism,” said the royal.