Three days ago, we reported that based on various unconfirmed media reports, Saudi King Salman - reeling from a just concluded purge that arrested some of the country's wealthiest and most powerful royals and officials - was set to elevate his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to the throne in as little as 48 hours. Speculation peaked when Al-Arabiya tweeted, then quickly deleted, details of the allegedly imminent ascension ceremony.
To be sure, though a transfer of power to the crown prince has long been predicted and expected, especially after a lesser known round of mass arrests targeting well-known Saudi clerics took place in September, last week's events pointed to a final "house cleaning" purge in preparation for bin Salman's likely imminent ascent. After the September arrests against clerics who were largely seen as regime insiders, yet who were mildly critical of the new aggressive stance against Qatar, the WSJ quoted an adviser to the Saudi government as saying, “Mohammed bin Salman is definitely preparing to become king. He wants to tackle the internal debate about him becoming the king and focus on consolidating his power, rather than doing that while being distracted by dissidents.”
September - Crackdown - Relation - Weekend - Turmoil
During the September crackdown, which is currently receiving little commentary in relation to last weekend's turmoil, over 30 prominent political figures were detained, most of them clerics with large social media followings and broad influence in the Arab world. The WSJ further noted at that time that...
The government has denied an abdication is planned, but several people close to the royal family say preparations have already started. The transfer of power, which several people close to the royal family had expected to occur this month, is likely to take place late this year or early next year, these people say.
At that time, one of the few...
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