The Jamal Khashoggi murder has sent shock waves through the House of Saud as the blame now rests firmly on the shoulders of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. His father, King Salman has a heavy burden as the family members, the extended family called the Al Saud family are rallying behind the scenes and taking aim at the young prince. Some princes, cousins and others in the extended family are doing their best, amid an uproar from the international community, to prevent him from becoming King as a response to the Khashoggi murder. Dozens of princes and cousins are appealing to the King, now 82 years old, while he is still alive and able to make decisions regarding the Crown Prince.
There is talk that Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaizi, 76, the younger brother of the King and uncle of the Crown Prince might be the next person in line if there is a power shift. Prince Ahmed, the King`s younger brother, would have the full support of many of the extended family members – some who are powerful in the family businesses. Sources say that the security services would support him as well. Keep in mind that the Crown Prince has a lot of friends in the security services as they have reported to him for years.
The House of Saud is made up of hundreds of princes. But note that unlike the European monarchies, the “next in line” to be King is more or less a moving target that sometimes means the family selects a young prince who is not the son or younger brother of the current monarch. Social and economic reforms are underway and this is a key point that interests the west.
For now, King Salman is standing by his son and not talking about him stepping down but behind the scenes in the Royal Family, there could be a faction that will lean on the King and his immediate family. As we know, Khashoggi had on several occasions openly attacked the Crown Prince for his heavy-handed stance toward the people. So it seems that the young Crown Price, not even 35 years old yet, is allegedly using his security services to attack his enemies.
Despite all of this, the Saudi Monarchy has the full support of the Administration of President Donald Trump.