New Saudi Crown Prince Bodes Ill for Region

New Saudi Crown Prince  Bodes Ill for RegionNew Saudi Crown Prince  Bodes Ill for Region

Elevation of Mohammad bin Salman as crown prince in Saudi Arabia would have an “adverse effect” on already tense relations between Tehran and Riyadh and also on regional developments, a lawmaker said in Tehran.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Mohammad Javad Jamali, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, described the new crown prince as “young and hungry for fame who has destructive plans for Iran and Qatar,” noting that his promotion to heir to the throne spells trouble for the region.

Saudi King Salman appointed his son, Mohammed, as heir to the throne, in a major reshuffle last Wednesday.

A royal decree removed crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the 57-year-old nephew of the king, as next-in-line to the throne and replaced him with his own son Mohammed, 31, who previously was deputy crown prince.

The new crown prince has pledged to protect the conservative oil kingdom from what he called Tehran’s efforts to dominate the Muslim world.

“We know that the aim of the Iranian regime is to reach the focal point of Muslims [Mecca] and we will not wait until the fight is inside Saudi Arabia and we will work so that the battle is on their side, inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”

Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan later dismissed the irresponsible remarks, saying Iran would advise against “such stupidity” because in that case, nothing would be “left in Saudi Arabia except Mecca and Medina,” the two holy cities.

The new crown prince is also widely seen as the architect of the Saudi push earlier this month to isolate Qatar, accusing the gas-rich country of cordial ties to rival Iran and of facilitating and financing of extremist groups.

 Fall From Grace

It was long anticipated that King Salman would eventually put  his son next in line to the throne, but it was not expected to happen so soon, the lawmaker noted. “It seems petrodollars played a great role in Nayef’s fall from grace.”

Jamali said Nayef was backed by the US and viewed as the favorite to run the kingdom after Salman’s death. The Americans went so far as to even award him a medal by the then director of the US Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo, the parliamentarian recalled. “However, the Saudi king paid Trump handsomely to gain US support for his son.”

On his maiden trip abroad, Trump traveled to Riyadh last month and signed an arms deal with the world’s largest oil exporter. The agreement is worth $350 billion over 10 years and $110 billion that will take effect immediately.

The deal came after the prince, the first amongst the Saudi royals, held talks with Trump at White House in March, which was hailed by the Saudis as a “historical turning point” in the two countries relations.

According to the New York Times, the visit to the White House by the Saudi royal angered Nayef that he conveyed his annoyance to the Trump White House through unofficial channels.    

“It was during this meeting that Saudi kickbacks to Trump bought his approval for bin Salman’s rising to thrown,” the legislator concluded.  





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