Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, on the 25th (local time). Riyadh｜AP Yonhap News
Before ascending to the throne, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman boasted that he could assassinate his uncle, the king, to strengthen his father’s power, testimonies have emerged.
Saad al-Jabri, a former Saudi intelligence agent, said in an interview with CBS on the 24th (local time) that Crown Prince Mohammed had a poison ring he obtained from Russia in 2014, saying, “I want to assassinate the king. Just shaking hands with him is enough.” He also described Crown Prince Mohammed as a “emotional psychopath”.
Al-Jabri said it’s unclear whether the remarks were just hype because Crown Prince Mohammed is not playing an important role in the Saudi government. However, intelligence officials at the time took the remarks seriously, adding that the royal family had dealt with the matter of Prince Mohammed himself.
Crown Prince Mohammed’s father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 86, succeeded to the throne in January 2015 after his half-brother King Abdullah died of natural causes. This is in accordance with the will of King Abdul Aziz, who left before his death in 1953, saying, “Inherit the throne from brothers to the oldest, and do not pass it on to your sons.” However, King Salman dethroned King Abdullah’s son Muhammad bin Nayef, 62, from the throne in 2017 and appointed his son Mohammed, 36, as Crown Prince. Prince Muhammad, born in 1985, took over Saudi Arabia’s real power by eliminating political enemies after becoming crown prince.
Al-Jabri had sided with Mohammed bin Nayef, former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, but was targeted and fled to Canada in 2017. Al-Jabri claimed that Crown Prince Mohammed had sent an assassin to Canada to kill him, and that he had taken two children hostage in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the Saudi embassy in the United States told CBS that al-Jabri was an unreliable former bureaucrat who had long manipulated information to cover up his embezzlement.
Crown Prince Mohammed was blamed for the 2018 assassination when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, was murdered at the Saudi embassy in Turkey. In February, the United States released a report from an intelligence agency that Crown Prince Mohammed was behind the assassination of Khashoggi and imposed sanctions on Saudi Arabia. The United Nations also released a report in June 2019 stating that “there is credible evidence that there is a need to investigate the private involvement of Crown Prince Mohammed and others.”
[관련기사]Saudi ‘Game of Thrones’? Crown Prince held hostage of high-ranking children