UAE-backed plan to install Saudi prince as king
Saudi Arabia’s young deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is being advised by the UAE on how he can win backing from the US and become king by the end of the year, a report says.
Two “well-placed Saudi sources” have told the Middle East Eye that de facto UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan is advising Mohammed on a two-pronged strategy to become Washington’s preferred choice as the next Saudi ruler.
The first Saudi source said bin Zayed has told bin Salman that he must “end the rule of Wahhabism” if he wants to be accepted by the Americans, the online news portal reported on Wednesday.
Wahhabism is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia which has inspired Takfiri groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front to wreak havoc in the Middle East.
Bin Zayed has also told bin Salman that he must open a “strong channel of communication” with Israel if he is to be Washington’s preferred candidate to be king, the report added.
The second Saudi source reportedly said bin Salman is willing to win the backing of Washington after telling close associates recently that he would complete the mission of becoming king before the end of the year.
The 30-year-old bin Salman, who also serves as the Saudi defense minister, has been granted increasing power since he was named the third in line to the throne last April.
He is heading up the country’s economic reforms plan, the kingdom’s policy towards Syria and its deadly aggression against Yemen.
The young prince’s meteoric rise, however, has sparked tensions within the Saudi royal family.
According to the report, bin Salman would seek to fundamentally change the role of religion in the kingdom on bin Zayed’s advice.