Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has reportedly been hiding his mother from his father, King Salman, over the past two years, fearing she may seek to use her influence and throw a wrench into his rise to the kingdom’s throne.
Citing 14 current and former senior American officials, NBC News reported Thursday that Bin Salman blocked his mother, Princess Fahda bin Falah al-Hathleen, two years ago from meeting his father, and has since kept her away from the king as he moves to consolidate his grip to power.
The officials were speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the intelligence they shared with NBS News.
They said the 32-year old has been inventing different excuses to justify his mother’s mysterious absence and keep her whereabouts secret. He has, on one occasion, told the king that she is abroad for medical treatment.
He kept his mother, King Salman’s third wife, under house arrest at a place in Saudi Arabia for an unspecified period, the report added.
According to the report, Bin Salman believes his mother is not happy with how the king replaced the former crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, with his own favorite son in June 2017.
The report also cites a source close to the royal family as saying that Bin Salman and his mother had a falling out several years ago over her intention to empower the prince’s other siblings.
The 82-year-old, the sources said, has told his associates that he misses his wife and apparently does not know her whereabouts or status.
Seen as the real power behind his father’s throne, Bin Salman is in charge of a vast portfolio as defense minister, chief of the House of Saud’s royal court and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, which is tasked with overhauling the country’s economy.
The young prince has launched a self-promoting campaign aimed at quelling opposition to his ascension to power.
To that effect, Bin Salman unleashed a crackdown against Saudi royals and businessmen under the guise of fighting corruption.
The campaign, which saw hundreds of high-profile figures detained and tortured, drew widespread criticism from leading rights groups.
The NBC News report could deal a heavy blow to the Saudi crown prince’s image, who has tried to present himself as a “reformist” and a defender of women’s rights by allowing them to drive and attend sports events.
The Saudi embassy in Washington denied that the princess is under any kind of house arrest or separation from her husband.
source – PressTV