Political Observation - Mohammed Bin Salman White Coup

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Mohammed Bin Salman White Coup

As had been expected for some time, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz announced the appointment of Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince on 21 June 2017, having prior to this relieved Mohammed Bin Nayef of the posts of interior minister and deputy prime minister. Hence, King Salman has succeeded, thanks to America's backing, to appoint his son Mohammed, the defence minister, as crown prince after removing his rival Mohammed bin Nayef. This second coup within the Aal Saud clan, following the coup on Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah in 2015, has come amid significant changes in the region, the most important of which are:

1 - The visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi on 21 May where he chaired the Riyadh summit which culminated in declaring an "Islamic NATO" headed by America to fight Islam and divide the Muslims under the guise of "combating terror and containing Iran". Meanwhile, several media reports stated that the visit had been arranged and agreed upon to serve Trump and pave the way for Mohammed bin Salman to assume power after his father. The UAE had been very instrumental in raising the profile of Mohammed bin Salman via its hired PR companies as he was deemed the aptest ally of Donald Trump in his war on "terror" and efforts to make peace with "Israel". Mohammed bin Salman’s role in standing up to the conservative scholars who have been critical of his endeavours to please the West, his reformist plans aimed at curbing the excesses of the Committee of enjoining good and forbidding evil and his backing of the General Authority for Entertainment, which represents a deliberate projection of the secularist face of the Saudi state, was also promoted. Trump concluded the summit by scooping astronomical figures from the Muslims' riches that reached $460 billion to revitalise the deteriorating US economy. With hindsight, the huge amounts of money Trump has received, equal to the Saudi GDP for three years, represents the price Mohammed bin Salman has paid to America to accede to power and remove Mohammed bin Nayef. 

2 - The Saudi-Emirati campaign with American cover against Qatar which started on 5 June 2017 under the pretext that the latter had been sponsoring terrorism (Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood) and siding with Iran. In fact, the campaign was designed to besiege the "political Islam" that America had assigned Qatar and Turkey with the task of containing and backing during the so-called Arab Spring; on the other side of the coin, America had assigned Saudi and the UAE with the task of containing the secular movement in the revolutions of the Arab Spring. The atmospheres of the campaign and the blockade imposed on Qatar provided an opportunity for Salman to thwart any counter-offensives within the royal clan under the pretext of the country facing a foreign threat. 

3 - Now that America has succeeded in generating regional pressure on Qatar via Saudi, the UAE, and Egypt, she has forced Qatar to pay protection money, like Saudi, through the deal signed between Qatari defence minister Khaled al-Atiyah and US secretary for defence John Mattis on 14 June 2017 for the sale of 72 F15 jetfighters to Doha for $12 billion. Subsequently, America expressed her satisfaction by arranging joint naval manoeuvres with Qatar in the Gulf. Those manoeuvres provided cover for Mohammed bin Salman's coup and a deterrent for his rival Prince Nayef who had close ties with the prince of Qatar sheikh Tamim; they also dissipated the hopes of bin Nayef in receiving any support from Qatar against his rivals in the kingdom. Stripping Mohammed bin Nayef of all his posts reflected the hatred harboured by Mohammed bin Salman towards his cousin Mohammed bin Nayef who had been, according to intelligence sources, coordinating with the prince of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani to get rid of Mohammed bin Salman as soon as he seized the reins of power after the death of Salman. And this is also one of the reasons why Qatar was besieged and estranged in a hysterical manner by Mohammed bin Salman with the backing of Mohammed bin Zayed and Donald Trump. Hence, the siege on Tamim bin Hamad was a siege on Mohammed bin Nayef in Saudi in the first instance. In fact, the prelude to the removal of Mohammed bin Nayef from the post of crown prince started when King Salman issued his royal orders on 22 April 2017, which included one of his most significant moves to besiege Mohammed bin Nayef and prevent him together with his entourage from any future manoeuvring. Those orders included the appointment of Ahmed bin Fahad bin Salman (nephew of Mohammed bin Salman) as Deputy Governor of the Eastern Province headed by Saud bin Nayef (brother of Mohammed bin Nayef) and the appointment of Khaled bin Salman (brother of Mohammed bin Salman) as Saudi ambassador to Washington. This resulted in confining contact with America's rulers exclusively to the family of Salman. The decisions also included the appointment of Abdul-Aziz bin Salman (brother of Mohammed bin Salman) as energy minister, which means keeping the file of Aramco headed by Mohammed bin Salman in person and the file of privatising 5% of the company to cover the budget deficit within the family of Salman as well. Furthermore, the royal decree of 22 April 2017 stipulated the establishment of the "National Security Centre" which is directly linked to the royal office and which in fact is designed to encumber and weaken the work of the interior ministry previously headed by Mohammed bin Nayef and then by his nephew Abdul-Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef after the changes. All this resulted in Mohammed bin Salman tightening his grip on all the ruling matters reflected in the US support, control over the military institutions and intelligence services and the media, in addition to reining the scholar's committee in and buying the loyalty of all the family members including the Sudairi branch. 

Hence, we can safely say that Mohammed bin Salman has succeeded in tightening his grip on the key ruling components, namely the loyalty of the family through the Allegiance Council, military power through the defence ministry and foreign support through America. These will help him accede to the throne in Saudi when his father either concedes power or dies; in fact, Mohammed bin Salman has been the de facto ruler of Saudi for years. 
As for Mutaib bin Abdullah and the Ministry of National Guard, he is heading, or the tribe of Shammar loyal to him because of his father, they are unable to do anything even with the presence of some popular dynamism such as the 7 Ramadhan Movement. America's choice of Mohammed bin Salman means Saudi has begun a new decisive and historic era. Mohammed bin Salman is known to be reckless and impudent to the point where he has been dubbed as the "prince of chaos". And this is exactly what the decision-makers and the intelligence community in America want as they have been plotting to divide Saudi for a long time within their criminal initiative known as Greater Middle East Initiative. America is likely to seek the help of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed in its bid to speed up the chaos and fragmentation of Saudi once he has carried out a similar coup in the UAE under the guise of poor health against his brother Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahyan who has not been seen for over one year. 

28 Ramadhan 1438h
23 June 2017