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Has Countdown to Bin Salman Succession Already Started?

26 May 2022 01:27

Islam Times - The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has been practically ruling the country since 2017 and setting the home and foreign policies is now just one step away from ascending the throne to pursue his ambitions even more freely.

Along with reports about the critical conditions of the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, there have been reports about his son pushing to replace him. Bin Salman's recent foreign policy moves show that he would soon assume the power as a king. 

Bin Salman's visit to the UAE to express condolences to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed with a delegation of senior Saudi officials attended by all branches of the royal family shows that everything is ready for the transfer of power in the Saudi dynasty. The presence of dissident princes such as Muhammad bin Nayef and Abdulaziz bin Ahmad, the son of the only living brother of the Saudi king and one of bin Salman's serious rivals for the throne in the Saudi family, among bin Salman's companions is an apparent signal showing the consolidation of unity in the house of Saud. By his powerful delegation in the UAE, bin Salman tried to send a message to the public that the power transition is closer than ever. 

Some sources have also stated that bin Salman is set to release some imprisoned princes, which is another sign of the apparent ease of dispute within the ruling family, as the allegiance of all princes is needed to for bin Salman to start his reign and continue it. On the other hand, he wants to pretend that he had no role in imprisoning the rebellious princes and that all these actions were carried out on the orders of King Salman in order to remove the charges from himself. 

Also, the strengthening of relations with Turkey, talks with US officials to mend ties and resolve disputes indicate that certain things are happening in Saudi Arabia and power transition is a matter of time. 

Six years ago, bin Salman imposed his crown prince post on the Saudi family when time's US President Donald Trump visited Riyadh, and this seems to be repeating itself, and perhaps during Biden's possible visit to Saudi Arabia, bin Salman would celebrate his throne ascension. After all, Saudi rulers need the US support to continue their rule, and the presence of the US president when bin Salman ascends the throne legitimizes the new king. 

Bin Salman's policies including the opposition to the increase in oil output after the Ukraine crisis, cautious policy towards Russia and proximity to China in recent years have frayed the relationship between Riyadh and Washington, so Bin Salman, who urgently needs US support to transfer power, has increased his diplomacy recently. 

Having in mind that the Democratic administration in the US does not have a positive view of bin Salman's human rights policies, he has sent his brother to seek the help of Washington officials, and this policy seems to have worked as reports suggest that Joe Biden and the head of the CIA will travel to Saudi Arabia in the near future to meet with bin Salman. If everything goes according to bin Salman's demands and the Americans show him a green light, he will probably repeat to Biden the same appeasement he made to Trump and would sign multi-billion arms deal in return for Washington's backing for his succession. 

Resorting to an iron fist to foist his post of crown prince on the ruling family and imprisoning many of opponent royals, he sees threats to him in their opposition that can sink the kingdom into a period of instability. Therefore, bin Salman desperately needs regional and international support, especially from the US, for smoother power transition. 

Given the fact that Salman bin Abdulaziz is the last son of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, the transfer of power from him to his son is a transfer to Abdulaziz's descendants, and the second generation of the Saudi dynasty will take power, with bin Salman opening the line. Bin Salman has been planning for such a day for many years and has started his plans to turn Saudi Arabia into a modern and Western-style country. 

One of the reasons why he is hurrying to assume the throne is rise of Mohammed bin Zayed in the UAE. Both have similarities and in recent years have had an obvious role in determining the national and foreign policies. Examples are Yemen war, as well as tensions with Turkey and Iran. With bin Salman and bin Zayed being different from the previous generation of rulers, their assumption of power in their countries would bring Riyadh and Abu Dhabi policies even closer. 

The extensive political movements in Saudi Arabia these days may suggest that the power transition would take place before the death of King Salman and through abduction. 


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