SAUDI.:: After the pointing of fingers and accusations directed towards the Saudi crown prince over the murder of Khashoggi, some members of the Saudi Arabia royal famuy are now against the crowning the of their would be king Prince Mohammed bin Salman from becoming the next king the Royal source said.
Dozens of princes and cousins from powerful branches of the Al Saud family want to see a change in the line of succession but would not act while King Salman is still alive, the sources said.
They recognise that the king is unlikely to turn against his favourite son, known in the West as MbS.
Rather, they are discussing the possibility with other family members that after the king’s death, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, 76, a younger full brother of King Salman and uncle of the crown prince, could take the throne, according to the sources.
Prince Ahmed returned to Riyadh in October after two and a half months abroad.
During the trip, he appeared to criticise the Saudi leadership while responding to protesters outside a London residence.
He was one of only three people on the Allegiance Council, made up of the ruling family’s senior members, who opposed MbS becoming crown prince in 2017, two Saudi sources said then.
Neither Prince Ahmed nor his representatives could be reached for comment. Officials in Riyadh did not respond to requests for comment. The House of Saud is made up of hundreds of princes.
There is no automatic succession from father to eldest son. Instead the kingdom’s traditions dictate that the king and senior family members from each branch select the heir they consider fittest to lead.
Senior US officials have indicated to Saudi advisers in recent weeks that they would support Prince Ahmed, who was deputy interior minister for nearly 40 years, as a potential successor, according to Saudi sources.
These sources said they were confident Prince Ahmed would not reverse any of the social or economic reforms enacted by MbS, would honour existing military procurement contracts and would restore the unity of the family.
One US official said the White House is in no hurry to distance itself from the crown prince despite pressure from lawmakers and the CIA’s assessment that MbS ordered Khashoggi’s murder.
The official also said the White House saw it as noteworthy that the king seemed to stand by his son in a speech on Monday and made no direct reference to Khashoggi’s killing.
The Saudi sources said US officials had cooled on MbS not only because of his suspected role in the murder of Khashoggi.
They are also rankled because the crown prince recently urged the defence ministry to explore alternative weapons supplies from Russia.
However, late Tuesday, Trump vowed to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia, despite saying that the crown prince may have known about the murder plan.
“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.