Removal of Mohammed bin Salman Heats Up; But Can He Be Removed?

Can Saudi Arabia replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to restore the credibility of the Kingdom which has faced global condemnation after the brutal murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi? According to Colonel Brian Lees, UK’s former defence attaché to the Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman may be replaced, and his brother Khalid bin Salman might be one of the candidates.

Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Besides the detractors, even key Saudi allies have expressed shock amid weeks of repeated denials by Saudi authorities that Riyadh had nothing to do with his disappearance.

Khashoggi – a US resident and a leading critic of Mohammed bin Salman, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife, but he did not leave the building.

Saudi consulate officials originally asserted that Khashoggi had left the building after his paperwork was finished, but they finally admitted several days later that he had in fact been killed inside the building during “an altercation.” On Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said the murder was planned and suspects were being interrogated.

Colonel Lees, who once served as UK’s defence attaché to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, said in an interview on Wednesday that the crown prince’s days as de facto ruler are numbered.

As EurAsian Times reported earlier, citing a report by the French paper Le Figaro – Saudi Allegiance Council had covertly attended a meeting to discuss the disappearance of anti-Riyadh journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul upon an order from Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi Allegiance Council, which appointed Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince last year by breaking the customary rules of succession, is now planning to designate Khalid bin Salman, the current Saudi envoy to the US, as deputy crown prince.

One Saudi source explained to Le Figaro that if Khalid was appointed, it would mean that Mohammed bin Salman will leave his position in the coming years. This way power stays in the Salman family, the report added.

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