There is no doubt that the ambitious and arrogant Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has entertained the world with an action series, similar to a Mexican soap opera, the first episode of which began with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef stepping down from his position. It was followed by the episode where moderate intellectuals and clerics were arrested. The episode that has filled us with suspense the most was when the princes, his cousins, were arrested, including Mutaib Bin Abdullah, head of the national guard, and his brother, sons of the late King Abdullah, as well as the Chief of the Royal Court under King Abdullah, Khaled Al-Tuwaijry, the most important figure in the royal palace, who ruled on behalf of the king in several instances. This was especially true when the King’s health deteriorated in his final days. He had prepared a decree to remove Prince Salman as Crown Prince and hand the position over to Prince Mutaib, but fate did not allow them to implement their plan and King Abdullah passed away, changing everything!
Also among the arrested princes is the well-known billionaire, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, one of the wealthiest men in the world, and Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the US for 25 years, a friend of President George W Bush, and owner of the famous arms deal, Al-Yamama agreement, along with the scandal and bribe that accompanied it with the British government and major businessmen and Bin Laden, owner of a major contracting company in Saudi Arabia. This company is responsible for expanding the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia and owners of the most well known satellite channels in the Arab world, MBC and ART.
They were detained inside a hotel after tricking them with a dinner invitation with the Crown Prince. It was their last supper before they separated them from their guards and the outside world, stripping them of their mobile phones and personal belongings. Their money and property was confiscated under the pretext of corruption and money laundering, but reality proves otherwise. The committee formed to investigate them, the formation of which was carried out based on a decree issued by King Salman, and headed by his son, the Crown Prince, immediately confiscated their money and claimed that the princes refused to be questioned. Most of them have foreign passports, and therefore, there have been claims that they demanded that an embassy representative be present. However, their requests were denied.
It is ironic that Prince Mohammad Bin Salman purchased a yacht for half a billion dollars shortly before questioning them.
In order for this dramatic scene to be complete, a helicopter carrying Prince Mansour Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, son of the Crown Prince under the late King Abdullah, and other Saudi officials, who, according to reports, were fleeing outside of the country to escape arrest and harassment and to avoid the fate of the other princes, was shot down by Mohammad Bin Salman with a missile, killing everyone in the plane. To make things even more dramatic, Mohammad Bin Salman went to pay his respects to his uncle after the death of his son!
This was a uniquely dramatic scene where the sadness and anger were apparent on the face of the father, Prince Muqrin, who cannot look his son’s killer in the eyes, let alone punish him.
The most exciting episode in the series of the arrogant prince is the kidnapping of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri after he was suddenly summoned to meet the King. Once his plane landed in Riyadh, the security services quickly surrounded him and stripped him, as well as his secretary, of their belongings and mobile phones. They were separated and he was taken to an unknown location where he was forced to make a televised statement prepared in advance by the Saudi state announcing his resignation as prime minister and fiercely attacking Hezbollah and Iran. This was broadcasted on Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya channel.
This is a precedent that violates all international charters resort ed to by any country in the world. This incident reminded me of Agatha Christie’s 1923 novel The Kidnapped Prime Minister. Did she predict the future in 2017? Prince Mohammad’s arrogance went as far wanting to impose Bahaa Hariri on Lebanon as a replacement for Saad Hariri, as leader of the Future Movement, the biggest Sunni bloc in Lebanon, thus allowing him to assume the position of Prime Minister. This is because the Future Movement represents the largest number of seats in parliament, giving it the power to choose the Prime Minister. It seems that this is being prepared at the moment, as French President Macron invited Saad Hariri and his family to France, which was accepted by Hariri, who is planning to go in the upcoming days.
The series has not come to an end yet and its episodes are on going. No one knows where the arrogant prince Mohammad bin Salman will take Saudi Arabia to after fragmenting the ruling family and causing breaks in its backbone. He also broke the religious institution, and dealt a blow to the businessmen and entrepreneurs in the country. All three of these are the foundations on which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were built upon. Let’s wait and see what happens, for the days are full of surprises by the arrogant prince.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.