(Rahnuma) Saudi Arabia has released photos of King Salman carrying out his royal duties after theories emerged on his death and a possible coup attempt. The speculation began after the arrest of two senior princes.
Two people close to the royal family said that the two princes were arrested for not supporting Crown Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has consolidated control of all major levers of power inside the kingdom with the support of his father, King Salman.
Earlier on Friday, the brother and nephew of the Saudi King were arrested over a plot to oust him and his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a brother of King Salman, and the monarch’s nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef were accused of treason.
A source added that the arrests sent a message to anyone in the royal family feeling disenfranchised: Stop grumbling and toe the line because if Prince Ahmed can be arrested, any prince can and will be. Prince Ahmed was seen as a person who royals could look to when feeling vexed with the crown prince’s grip on power, the person said.
The reports of a crackdown emerged early Friday. In the king’s first appearance since then, state media showed the 84-year-old king on Sunday standing and greeting two Saudi diplomats being sworn in as ambassadors. He has previously been seen Thursday meeting with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in Riyadh.
The arrests came as a surprise, given that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 60, was widely known to be under close surveillance since he was shunted out of the line of succession by the king’s son in mid-2017, a person close to the royal court said.
The arrest of Prince Ahmed, 78, was also unexpected since he is the king’s full younger brother and also a senior member of the ruling Al Saud family.
Prince Ahmed, however, has long held unfavourable views of the crown prince and was one of just a few senior princes to abstain from pledging allegiance to him when the young royal sidelined more senior princes to become first in line to the throne.
Both princes had served previously in the post of interior minister, overseeing security and surveillance inside the kingdom.