Guardian: Rumours of rift between Saudi King Salman and MBS

British newspaper cites anonymous source, who says father and son are increasingly at odds on issues such as Yemen war.

King Salman
King Salman and Prince Mohammed are said to have disagreed on a number of key issues, including Yemen. [File: Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]

The relationship between Saudi King Salman and his son and heir, Mohammed bin Salman, has been increasingly strained as they disagree on a number of issues, including the war in Yemen, according to a Guardian report published on Tuesday.

Tensions are said to have come to a head during King Salman’s visit to Egypt last month when his advisors warned of a potential move against him by the crown prince, the report said, citing an anonymous source.

The king’s loyalists were reportedly so alarmed by the threat that his security detail during the trip was replaced by a team of 30 hand-picked loyalists.

Egyptian security guards were also dismissed, the source told the Guardian.

On King Salman’s return, Prince Mohammed (also known as MBS) was not among the dignitaries who received the monarch. 

The source said the pair disagreed over MBS’s hard line on protesters in Algeria and Sudan, as well as the treatment of Yemeni prisoners of war.

Consolidation of power

While MBS has consolidated power domestically by purging rivals within the royal family and repressing civil society activism, he has earned notoriety abroad for his aggressive foreign policy. 

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October risked rupturing the decades-old alliance between Riyadh and Washington.

The journalist was murdered by a Saudi hit squad.

Saudi officials said the hit squad had gone rogue, but western intelligence agencies and politicians have insinuated it was acting under Prince Mohammed’s orders.

Senior members of Congress have not let the Washington Post columnist’s death fade into obscurity and are working on ways to punish Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi crown prince, however, has cultivated strong ties with the Trump administration, which has been reluctant to take action against him.

Source: Al Jazeera