Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

Bin Salman’s ascension to throne: Faraway or so close?

Alwaght – Is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman losing the chance to ascend to the throne in the desert kingdom? This question comes down as the ambitious prince sustains increasing failures in the home and foreign policy.

On Thursday, the French paper Le Figaro, citing diplomatic sources, reported that Saudi Arabia’s Allegiance Council has recently brought in spotlight replacement of Prince Mohammed amid the mounting international pressures following murder of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Some media even speculated that Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of the crown prince and the ambassador to the US, might take Mohammed’s place.

The Washington Post, to which Khashoggi was a columnist, has a different speculation, however. The American daily has reported that Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the 31st son of the founding King Abdulaziz ibn Saud who formerly served as the deputy interior minister from 1975 to 2012 and briefly as interior minister in 2012, could replace his brother King Salman in an abduction process. Regardless of how close to the reality these speculations and theories are, the important point is the increasing opposition in the West to bin Salman as the Saudi crown prince which means he will replace his father as a king in the future.

The killing of the Saudi journalist, an outspoken critic of Saudi regime and the crown prince, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a direct order from bin Salman has changed everything all at once. Even the Western media, which once admired and supported the king-in-waiting as a reformer and a progressive figure whose reforms worked like a big surgery to the nation’s economy, culture, society, and politics, now strongly attack him. In a U-turn on him, the Western outlets call his reform campaign propaganda and his policies highly destabilizing and even dangerous to the region and the world.

The US and the crown prince’s troublemaking policies

Without any doubt, when it comes to change in the Saudi leadership, the US has a key role. Many of the Saudi princes look at a strong relationship with Washington as a determining factor helping them promote their position in the royal house. So, despite the mounting media and international outcry against the highly naïve prince’s domestic and foreign measures, his replacement is decisively tied to the decisions at the White House, despite the existence of the succession mechanisms in the Arab kingdom.

Since the beginning, the US recognized Mohammed as an ambitious man who is ready to bow to any form of cooperation with the Washington in the future in order to get the power. The US support helped him oust powerful Mohammad bin Nayef from the crown prince post and replace him. The move, the analysts insist, was impossible without the White House green light for an inexperienced young prince rising out of obscurity.

Despite the close relations with US administration and the huge advantages he has for the Americans, Bin Salman’s actions now begin to cause troubles to the US. Washington and its Western allies have been expanding militarily worldwide over the past worldwide under the cover of the fight against terrorism and supporting the democracy and human rights. They have been using these excuses to put strains on their opponents Russia, China, and Iran.

Meanwhile, their critics repeatedly highlight the instrumentality of the counterterrorism and democracy for the Western governments and on top of them the White House. The critics point to the Western double standards and hypocritical behavior as proof to their argument and name Saudi Arabia, a West’s ally, as a conspicuous supporter of terrorism and violator of human rights.

Bin Salman was given a mission to mend the highly tarnished image of Saudi Arabia worldwide by means of some internal reforms. But over the time of his leadership, he not only failed to boost the kingdom’s picture in the world but also made it worse by taking some hardline steps including launching the devastating war on neighboring Yemen, cracking down on home critics, taking hostage the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, blockading on Qatar, and most recently murdering dissent journalist.

Washington cannot justify bin Salman’s abuses anymore as the public opinion is exerting more pressure on governments and international bodies to take actions against Saudi leaders crime’s against humanity. Now the popular demands to stop the US contribution to Saudi-led coalition’s aggression on Yemen are making their way to the US Congress. Some senators now push for blocking US arms delivery to the kingdom and fighter jets refueling by the US tankers flying over Yemen. As pressure built on Trump administration, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on September 12 said that Washington made it clear to Riyadh that ending Yemen was a “national security priority” to the US. Things even went worse for Trump administration with Khashoggi assassination, however. Earlier this week, Pompeo traveled to Riyadh to contain the scandal upheaval to end the case for the US-Saudi relations less costly.

Zionist lobbying for bin Salman

Making some predictions about the future of bin Salman also necessitates taking into consideration the powerful Zionist lobbies in the US and the Israeli regime, both of which want him to remain in power. New York Time has reported that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and his senior Middle East advisor and a main Israeli piece in Trump’s orbit, has advised the president to continue backing the Saudi prince regardless of evidence of his direct role in Khashoggi assassination.

The root of such strong support for the crown prince should be sought in his advocacy for ending the Palestinian case to Israeli regime’s advantage and also his help to the Israeli and American policies by adopting an aggressive approach to the Iran-headed Axis of Resistance. This issue, beside Trump’s opportunistic approach which is fed by bin Salman’s multi-billion arms and investment deals, weakens the possibility of his replacement. But the new situation, definitely, has destroyed his plans to ascend the throne before his father’s death.