The deposed Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, has been confined to his palace in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, as his young successor seeks to consolidate his newfound power, The Guardian quotedtwo sources close to the royal family as confirming.
The movements of the former heir to the throne have been restricted since Mohammed bin Salman, 31, replaced his cousin as crown prince last week, ensuring that he, instead of the 57-year-old security tsar whom he ousted, would eventually succeed his father as ruler.
Senior Saudi officials denied Bin Nayef was under house arrest, with one describing the claim – first reported in the New York Times – as “not true at all”.
Another official, however, said: “It’s just in the changeover period. MBS [bin Salman] does not want to take any risks. It is not house arrest. Nothing like that at all.”
Bin Nayef had been the kingdom’s most influential security official over the past 15 years. He had maintained close intelligence connections with the US and UK and was seen by Saudi allies as an assured and trusted hand.
The New York Times reported that guards loyal to Bin Salman had replaced those of his predecessor outside the Jeddah palace to where the ousted royal had returned. It is understood that Bin Nayef and his close family members have been prevented from leaving the kingdom.
“If he is seen as benign, this will change quite quickly,” the official said. “I suspect they don’t want him jetting off to Washington in a bad mood and telling anyone, even our allies, the state secrets.
“There is too much risk in letting a disgruntled figure talk at a time like this.”
Source: The Guardian