Two Saudi Arabia princes arrested for plotting coup

In Saudi Arabia, two members of the royal family were arrested on suspicion of plotting a coup against King Salman and his intended successor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This is reported by the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal. According to The New York Times, it’s about three members.

The Wall Street Journal writes that the younger brother of the 84-year-old king, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and a prince’s cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, have been arrested by court security officers. They would be accused of treason. According to The New York Times, the younger brother of Prince Nayef has also been arrested. The Saudi authorities have not yet responded to the reporting.

The Saudi king Salman (right) and his son and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on a giant image in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
The Saudi King Salman (right) and his son and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on a giant image in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Mohammed bin Nayef is a former influential figure at the Saudi court. He was previously the head of the unit that fights terrorism, and until 2017 was crown prince and minister of the Interior. Then King Salman took that title from him and placed his son first in line for succession. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had several members of the court arrested later that year for corruption.

The crown prince is the de facto leader of the country and has been trying to implement social and economic reforms in recent years. At the same time, he takes hard action in his own country against critics of his regime. He tries to strengthen his hold on power by securing religious and militant leaders, princes, and famous business people.

He has recently been under fire nationally and internationally because of the protracted war in Yemen, the attacks on oil installations in the country, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The crown prince is allegedly involved in the death of Khashoggi but has always denied that.

Prince Ahmed, the only living full brother of King Salman, is said to be one of the few in the royal family to object to appointing Mohammed bin Salman crown prince in 2017, Saudi sources said. Opponents of the crown prince would see in him a possible better successor to the now 84-year-old prince.

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