Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince 'stripped of some of his powers' following fallout over Khashoggi murder
The decision was announced by King Salman to a group of senior ministers earlier last week, and while MBS was invited to attend the meeting, he failed to do so
Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who is currently serving as the country's deputy prime minister, has reportedly been stripped of some of his financial and economic authority by his father King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
According to The Guardian, the decision was announced to a group of senior ministers earlier last week during a cabinet meeting where the king discussed many of the challenges facing the kingdom. The prince was invited to attend the meeting but failed to do so.
Rumors that there are tensions between the Crown Prince and his father have only been fueled by the former's increasingly noticeable absences from high-profile meetings. Prince Salman was missing from a talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and was also not present at a meeting with senior economic and finance officials earlier this week.
The latter, in particular, raised a few eyebrows, especially with reports suggesting that the king has moved to appoint one of his trusted advisors, Musaed al-Aiban — who is Harvard-educated and recently named as national security advisor — to informally oversee investment decisions on his behalf.
During the afrorementioned cabinet meeting, King Salman also reportedly demanded that all financial decisions would, for the near future, require his approval. The decision was said to be effective immediately and concerned major investments by the kingdom and other contracts, bringing into question whether the prince had any financial autonomy going forward.
Furthermore, the prince also did not attend a meeting between the king and the grand mufti, a meeting with the head of the World Health Organization, a meeting with the prime minister of Lebanon, and meetings with ambassadors from India and China.
While it is unclear from the official press statements about the king and prince's activities if the latter missed the high events, he has not appeared in any of the recent photographs, with his biggest involvement coming in the form of a phone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week.
Experts say the tensions between the king and the prince are due to a variety of reasons, including the prince's alleged decision to order the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — which Saudi Arabia has publicly denied — which put the country's appalling human rights record back in the spotlight.
The king is also said to be displeased over Prince Salman's decision to promote Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan to serve as Saudi ambassador to the US and his brother, Khalid bin Salman, to the ministry of defence after he left the country for an official trip to Egypt. Both decisions were reportedly made without the king's approval or knowledge. Then, the prince did not personally welcome his father home at the airport upon his return to Saudi Arabia, which is seen as the customary thing to do.
The Saudi embassy in Washington has declined to comment on the rumors.