US, UK Behind Rise of Saudi Crown Prince

US, UK Behind Rise of Saudi Crown PrinceUS, UK Behind Rise of Saudi Crown Prince

A parliamentarian believes the anticipated ascendance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to the throne is part of joint British-US plans to maintain their financial interests, saying that the next monarch appears to be determined to fulfill their objectives.

Known as MBS, the crown prince started climbing the ladder of power in the oil kingdom since 2015, when his 79-year-old father Salman bin Abdul-Aziz assumed the throne.

Lawmaker Mohammad Javad Jamali said the UK and US have apparently come to the conclusion that as long as the Saudi old guard remains in charge, the archaic system of government will see no radical reforms, which they see vital for sustenance of the regime that has served their interests for decades, ICANA reported.

"In my opinion, the litany of problems the Saudi government has to come to grips with has convinced London and Washington that a new generation of Saudi princes is needed to take the reins," the lawmaker said.

An unconfirmed report published by the London-based Daily Mail on Thursday claimed King Salman plans to abdicate the throne and hand power to his son this week.

The report, based on a source described as "close to the royal family", has met no reaction from Riyadh.

According to the same report, Salman, who some believe may be suffering from dementia, would retain a titular role as a leading figurehead, but would not lead the country.

The New York Times reported last week that US analysts also believe a transition of power may be in the works.

At just 32 years and with little experience in government, MBS became the de facto leader of the kingdom in 2015.

The ambitious prince currently oversees all aspects of politics, security and economy in Saudi Arabia.

  Moves to Prove  Himself

Jamali said the young prince has gone to great lengths to show himself as a strong leader to prove to western powers that he can be trusted to advance their interests for decades to come.

"He has given concessions to the US and UK, as evidenced by their silence following the ouster of Mohammad bin Nayef in a palace coup," he said.

Mohammed bin Nayef, who was the next in line for the throne until last June, was removed in a surprise move that was largely ignored by western powers.

His replacement, MBS, has announced a string of cultural and economic reforms in recent months, including a decision to eventually allow women to drive. He has also declared a 15-year program to overhaul most aspects of life in Saudi Arabia.

Separately, King Salman issued a decree earlier this month establishing an "anti-corruption committee" in the country chaired by his son.

The announcement was followed by the arrest of a considerable number of former and incumbent Saudi officials, including 11 princes, four incumbent ministers and hundreds of top-level officials and businessmen.

Jamali said the Saudi corruption purge is aimed at consolidating MBS's grip on power by eliminating potential threats ahead of his father stepping down.

  Unholy Alliance

Jamali said the blind obedience of the ambitious prince to his British and US masters has made him a good candidate for carrying out their plans to push for normalization of relations between Arabs and Israel.

The lawmaker said MBS has put aside longstanding Saudi reservations over developing relations with Israel, gradually revealing the monarchy's friendly contacts with the regime.

While Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official ties, both countries are increasingly seen to be united against Iran.

The chief of staff of Israel's military told Saudi Arabia's Alaf newspaper in an unprecedented interview that his country is ready to share intelligence on Iran with Riyadh.

The Israeli official said Tel Aviv and Riyadh are in agreement about confronting Iran, which he described as the "biggest threat to the region", the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

"In this matter, there is complete agreement between us and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has never been our enemy. It has not fought us nor have we fought it," he said.


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