Saudi Looking For Bin Salman Replacement: Report

PARIS — Having found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s antics too costly for its already stained reputation, Saudi Arabia’s ruling family is look­ing to replace the young prince with his less ambitious brother, Khalid, a new report suggests.

The report by the French paper Le Figaro on Thursday cited a diplomatic source in Paris as saying that the Saudi Allegiance Council had secretly met to discuss the disappearance of anti-Ri­yadh journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul upon an order from MBS.

Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2 and has never been spotted since. Turkish and American intelli­gence reports say he was tortured and murdered before his dismembered body was sent back to Riyadh.

US President Donald Trump con­firmed Thursday that intelligence led him to believe Khashoggi was killed “un­less the miracle of all miracles happens.”

The council, which appointed bin Salman as the new crown prince last year by breaking the customary rules of succession, is now planning to appoint Khalid bin Salman, the current Saudi envoy to the US, as deputy crown price.

One Saudi source explained to Le Figaro that if Khalid was appointed, it would mean that MBS will leave his position in the coming years. This way power stays in the Salman family, the report added.

According to the report, Khalid, who is popular both at home and abroad, would gradually take over from his brother and replace him down the road.

Khalid, 28, flew to Riyadh last week, The New York Times reported Monday, adding he will not return to the US as the Saudi envoy. It is not yet clear who would replace KBS.

Le Figaro noted that MBS had already made himself big enemies in the Allegiance Council by breaking an agree­ment among first-class princes from vari­ous branches of the royal family to hand the power to the last king’s son.

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