Saudi Arabia’s King Salman could have his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), replaced to restore the credibility of the monarchy which has faced global rebuke following the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Colonel Brian Lees, Britain’s former Defense Attaché to the kingdom and the author of a famous book on the Saudi royal family.
According to Press TV, the crown prince is believed to have been ordered the assassination of the dissident journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The world has reacted angrily to the murder amid weeks of repeated denials from Saudi authorities that the kingdom had nothing to do with his disappearance.
Khashoggi – a US resident, The Washington Post columnist, and a leading critic of 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 officials originally insisted that Khashoggi had left the diplomatic mission 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.
Several countries, including European ones, Turkey and the US, a major ally of Riyadh, have called for clarifications on the murder.
Colonel Lees, who once served as Britain’s Defense Attaché to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, said in an interview on Wednesday that the crown prince’s days as de facto ruler are numbered. He added that the 82-year-old monarch may now look to replace him.
“The Saudis will never admit that MBS was culpable but this does not mean that he is in the clear. I believe that the king – assuming he is in one of his ‘clear’ periods – will get rid of MBS by replacing him,” noted Lees, the author of ‘A Handbook of the Al Saud Ruling Family of Saudi Arabia’.
“He cannot do so immediately, or even in the next few months, because that would look like bowing to foreign pressure. He may use the already established device of using the Special Advisory Council within the family to appoint a successor. This would certainly restore the credibility of the monarchy,” he stated.