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 Updated: April 29, 2015

Saudi cabinet reshuffle discloses royal family rift

By: News Desk

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: The Saudi princes who have been replaced in the cabinet reshuffling today will take even extreme actions to bring back power equations in the monarchy in their own interest, Saudi analysts said hours after King Salman made surprising changes in Riyadh’s power structure and even replaced the crown prince.

“Those members of the Saudi royal family who have not been given important positions in the recent reshuffling will not remain silent,” Saudi analyst Hamza al-Hassan wrote on his Twitter page after Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s major cabinet reshuffling on Wednesday morning.

He reiterated that the new changes in the Saudi government will result in conflicts among the Al Saud family members, and said, “King Fahad (bin Abdulaziz) should have done what his successor Salman did today in order to prevent the rifts from widening to the present extent.”

Al-Hassan said that the cabinet reshuffling took place in light of King Salman’s weakness and illnesses, but other analysts both in and outside the kingdom believe that fruitless airstrikes and failure in defeating Yemen’s popular movement, Ansarullah, has played a role in today’s decision.

Earlier today, senior member of Yemen’s Ansarullah Movement Mohammad Ali al-Emad underlined that the Saudi aggression against Yemen has widened the rifts in the Al Saud family, specially after the Saudi king’s cabinet reshuffling on Wednesday.

“The decisive storm has turned into the Al Saud storm and backfired at the Saudis themselves,” Al-Emad, also editor of the Yemeni newspaper al-Hawiya, said on Wednesday.

King Salman relieved his younger half-brother of his duties as crown prince and appointed his nephew, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as the new heir apparent.

The reshuffle was announced by royal decree via state television early on Wednesday.

This is the first time that a grandson of the founder of the country (Ibn Saud), rather than a son, is appointed crown prince.

Mohamed bin Nayef, 55, the grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia, was appointed as crown prince and also minister of interior.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was also replaced by Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubair.

The changes signaled a major shift at the top of the ruling Al Saud family away from princes chosen by the late King Abdullah, who died in January, and towards those close to the new monarch.

On April 26, Talal bin Abdulaziz, brother of Saudi King Salman, warned of widening gaps in the Al Saud family, and underlined that his brother is incapable of ruling the Arab monarchy.

“Differences are emerging in the Saudi power circle and Prince Talal has warned of emerging gaps by saying that King Salman is incapable of administering the country,” a source close to Prince Talal told the Arabic-language Al-Manar TV.

The source said Prince Talal believes that “Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Prince Mohammad bin Nayef influence King Salman’s decisions the same way that (former Saudi king) Abdullah bin Abdulaziz obeyed whatever the then Saudi intelligence chief, Prince bin Bandar, and Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said”.

In late January, Saudi King Abdullah died and his brother Salman became king and two months later ordered the Saudi aggression against Yemen.

Other sources had also earlier this month disclosed that gaps had widened among the members of the Al Saud ruling family as a result of the war on Yemen.

“The differences have intensified in the Al Saud dynasty over the Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen,” Senior member of Ansarullah movement Hossein al-Ezzi told FNA.

Al-Ezzi noted that several regions of Saudi Arabia have been the scene of insecurity and chaos since the start of the Saudi-led aggression against Yemen, and said, “These insecurities have been intensified” intimidating some Saudi rulers that the war on Yemen might lead to chaos at home.

He also pointed to the widening rift among the Saudi-led coalition members, and said, “The Pakistani parliament voted no to the military interference in Yemen and Turkey also refrained from joining the coalition while there are also strong opposition in Egypt against Egyptian president’s stance vis-à-vis Yemen.”


 

 
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