Heir to the current Saudi King, Mohammed bin Nayef was really not accustomed to being told what to do. And allegedly this June he went to a palace in Mecca one night, where he was held against his will and “persuaded” to give up his claim to the throne. At the dawn he gave in, and his status was transfered to the king’s son, Mohammed bin Salman.
Young Mohammed’s supporters praised his rising as the achievement of an ambitious leader. He was promoted on June 21, and that indicated that he conspired the overthrow and that there was more to this transition then it was reported to the public. This claims were made by both associates of the royal family and some U.S. officials.
According to some associates of the royal family, it was told to some senior princes that Nayef was not fit to rule as he had drug problem. They said this was only to secure the change.
Overthrow of the Nayef and his colleagues left some counter-terrorism officials in the U.S. worried as their trusted contacts in Saudi Arabia also disappeared. And young prince capitalizing so much power disturbed royal family which has been guided by deference to elders and consensus for a long time.
A fellow for the West Asia at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Kristian Coates Ulrichsen said, “You may have now such a concentration of power within one branch and within one individual who is also younger than so many of the cousins and sons of former kings that it may begin to create a situation where the family is out of whack,”
But since Nayef’s imprisonment in his palace was reported by The New York Times some senior royal’s associates and U.S. officials reported about Salman pressuring Nayef to step aside.
Responding to The Times, senior Saudi official said in a statement that Mohammed bin Nayef was never pressured and the body of senior Princes called the Allegiance Council approved this change in ““the best interest of the nation.” It was also noted in the statement that Mohammed bin Nayef was very first to pledge his allegiance to his nephew and demanded that to be filmed. Nayef is regularly receiving guests in his palace and constantly visiting the crown prince and the king, according to the statement.
This rivalry dates back to 2015, when King Salman came to the throne and gave his favorite son enormous power. He named him Deputy Crown Prince and the Defence Minister, placed him in charge of a economic council and gave him the jurisdiction over the state oil monopoly, Saudi Aramco.