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Growing ‘resentment’ against Saudi crown prince in royal circles

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman (R) is welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not seen) with an official welcoming ceremony at presidential palace in New Delhi, India on February 20, 2019 [Indian Foreign Ministry / Handout - Anadolu Agency]
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman (R) in New Delhi, India on February 20, 2019 [Indian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

A growing number of Saudi royal family members and business elites are expressing frustration over Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s leadership, following the disruptive and costly attacks on the kingdom’s Aramco oil facilities last month.

According to Reuters, a senior foreign diplomat and five sources with ties to the royals and business leaders disclosed the claims anonymously.

There appears to be several reasons for discontent, including the crown prince’s tightening grip on power and his overly confrontational stance with regional power Iran.

But the aerial attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities halved Riyadh’s production capacity through the loss of 5.7 million barrels a day – the equivalent of five per cent of global supplies – and was the most devastating attack in the kingdom to date.

Saudi: Oil output fully restored after attacks

“There is a lot of resentment,” said one of the sources. “How were they not able to detect the attack?”

The same source also said that the Saudi elites have “no confidence” in the crown prince’s abilities to defend the leading exporter of oil. Others echoed this sentiment.

Bin Salman was notable in his unprecedented 2017 anti-corruption drive, widely lauded as a shakedown, involving the arrests and detention of princes, businessmen, military officers and officials detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, with allegations of torture being employed. The kingdom is said to have netted $106.6 billion.

In addition to initiating the disastrous military intervention in Yemen, which has contributed to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, Bin Salman has faced international scorn over the extrajudicial execution of Saudi critic and journalist Jamal Khasoggi last year at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, with the crown prince seeking to exonerate himself of the killing, whilst acknowledging it happened under his watch.

READ: UN: Bin Salman exonerating himself from Khashoggi’s murder

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