Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has “every right” to succeed his ailing father into power, says Russian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, warning the United States against interfering with the embattled prince’s right to rule the kingdom.
Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Middle East, said Tuesday it was up to Riyadh to decide what was next for bin Salman when King Salman, 82, dies.
“Of course we are against interference. The Saudi people and leadership must decide such questions themselves,” Mikhail Bogdanov said in an interview in Moscow, according to Bloomberg.
Bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler last year in an untraditional manner, replacing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the late Saudi king’s son.
Wary of getting bogged down in a power struggle, bin Salman soon launched a widespread crackdown against other royals to cement his grip on power.
However, his actions went mostly unanswered until October this year, when Riyadh admitted to murdering dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
MBS has also faced worldwide criticism for leading the ongoing deadly war against Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians.
US President Donald Trump’s reluctance to hold the crown prince responsible for his actions has prompted angry bipartisan calls in Washington to remove MbS from power.
Prominent senators have publicly blasted the crown prince, with Lindsey Graham, Trump’s staunch ally, calling him “crazy” and “dangerous.”