Saudi royal lashes out at UAE, defends former crown prince bin Nayef

#GCC

In a series of tweets, Abdul Aziz, son of former Saudi king Fahd, showed his support for deposed crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef

Saudi crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)
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Monday 31 July 2017 16:33 UTC
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In a series of tweets, a member of the Saudi royal family has defended the former Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, while lashing out at the apparent partnership between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Using the hashtag "No to harming Mohammed bin Nayef", Abdelaziz bin Fahd, the son of the former Saudi king Fahd, appeared to be addressing the deposed crown prince, giving him advice about what to do.

Translation: You know me, I never deceived you or anyone else. Even if the whole world is on your side, no one can help you, and you have seen that for yourself. Turn to God and seek his help from the depths of your heart. #No_to_harming_Mohamed_Bin_Nayef.

 

Translation: Do not despair. Seek God help with sincerity and if you do so, you will find victory #No_to_harming_Mohamed_Bin_Nayef

On 20 June Mohammed bin Nayef, a powerful figure in Saudi Arabia's security apparatus for the past two decades and the next in line to the throne, was ordered to step down by King Salman.

The high-stakes power grab placed sweeping powers in the hands of the 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MbS, and appeared designed to speed his accession to the throne.

According to reports, the king ordered bin Nayef to step aside in favour of his son MbS, because his alleged addiction to painkilling drugs was clouding his judgment.

But sources told MEE that these claims are untrue. Instead they believe these stories were fabricated by Saud al-Qahtani, secretary to the royal court, who reportedly arranged briefings to release allegations against MbN to the media.

At the same time, a senior Saudi official told Reuters that the account of bin Nayef's drug problem was totally "unfounded and untrue in addition to being nonsense".

Although bin Fahd did not clearly refer to MbS in his tweets, his posts have been seen by observers as an attack on the new crown prince who was appointed by royal decree on Monday to run affairs of state in the absence of his father while he holidays in Morocco.

MbN remains under house arrest to keep him out of circulation after being overthrown, with no visitors allowed except close family members.

According to reports, he is not taking calls, and was only granted permission to visit his elderly mother with the new guards assigned to him.

Anger towards the Emirates

In a widely shared tweet published on Monday, Yusuf Bu Khalifa, an Emirati social media activist, posted a photo of King Salman next to that of UAE ruler Mohamed bin Zayed. Commenting on the photo, he said: “Take it from me, if you want to get to Saudi Arabia, you’ll have to get past the Emirates first.”

The tweet was seen as a reflection of the strengthening of bilateral ties between the two Gulf countries and their rulers.

But in an angry response by bin Fahd, the Saudi royal lashed out at the Emirates and its ruler bin Zayed, comparing him to the devil in a new series of tweets posted on Tuesday.

Translation: Don’t put your photo next to Salman’s. Salman is the son of Abdul Aziz al-Faisal. The wretched like you are nothing in comparison to him. Your face is black, the face of the devil. You’re a traitor to your religion and you’ll rot in hellfire.  

Translation: You spiteful, insolent [man]. You have misled the Muslims, but you are in fact the one who has been misled. If Zayed [your father] returns [from his grave] he would be disappointed. Take it from me. I am Abu Turki al-Faisali.