January 23, 2015
Huffington Post

A Saudi Palace Coup

by David Hearst

King Abdullah's writ lasted all of 12 hours. Within that period the Sudairis, a rich and politically powerful clan within the House of Saud, which had been weakened by the late king, burst back into prominence. They produced a palace coup in all but name.

Salman moved swiftly to undo the work of his half-brother. He decided not to change his crown prince Megren, who was picked by King Abdullah for him, but he may choose to deal with him later. However, he swiftly appointed another leading figure from the Sudairi clan. Mohammed Bin Nayef, the interior minister is to be his deputy crown prince. It is no secret that Abdullah wanted his son Meteb for that position, but now he is out.

More significantly, Salman, himself a Sudairi, attempted to secure the second generation by giving his 35- year old son Mohammed the powerful fiefdom of the defense ministry. The second post Mohammed got was arguably more important. He is now general secretary of the Royal Court. All these changes were announced before Abdullah was even buried.

The general secretaryship was the position held by the Cardinal Richelieu of Abdullah's royal court, Khalid al-Tuwaijri. It was a lucrative business handed down from father to son and started by Abdul Aziz al Tuwaijri. The Tuwaijris became the king's gatekeepers and no royal audience could be held without their permission, involvement, or knowledge. Tuwaijri was the key player in foreign intrigues -- to subvert the Egyptian revolution, to send in the troops to crush the uprising in Bahrain, to finance ISIL in Syria in the early stages of the civil war along his previous ally Prince Bandar bin Sultan. . . .


David Hearst is Editor, Middle East Eye

"The Destruction of Mecca's Islamic Heritage," The Wisdom Fund, November 1, 1999

Daniel Wickham, "An Interview with the Imprisoned Daughter of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah," Muftah, June 2, 2014

[The House of Saud believes it can play the waiting game - as fracked oil, mostly American, is inexorably driven out of the market because it is too expensive. After that, the Saudis believe they will regain market share.

In parallel, the House of Saud is obviously enjoying "punishing" Iran and Russia for their support of Bashar Assad in Damascus. Moreover, the House of Saud is absolutely terrified of a nuclear deal essentially between the US and Iran--Pepe Escobar, "What game is the House of Saud playing?,", January 23, 2015]

Ian Black, "Saudi Arabia's new king promises continuity after death of Abdullah,", January 23 2015

[ . . . the revolution that threatens the monarchy will not come from Iran. Nor from Saudi Arabia's own Shia minority, nor the country's armed Wahhabists. It will come from within the royal family.--Robert Fisk, "King Abdullah's friends in the West stayed loyal, but revolution is on the horizon in Saudi Arabia,", January 23 2015]

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