The internal power struggle in Saudi Arabia has increased over the past several months with several high-profile individuals furious about the Kingdom’s military involvement in Yemen and a potential ground operation in Syria, French political analyst Alain Rodier wrote for Atlantico.
The Saudi Kingdom isn’t doing very well — in addition to low oil prices that are ruining the nation’s economy, its ongoing military operation in Yemen against Houthi rebels is largely unsuccessful with Saudis beginning to lose their soldiers and planes.
At the same time, Riyadh seems to be planning a military operation in Syria together with Turkey, Rodier said. On February 13, the Saudi government sent 30 bombers to a military base in Turkey. Meanwhile, Turkish forces have already begun shelling Kurds in Northern Syria.
If the Saudis do decide to get involved in a ground operation in Syria, they’d have to use their special forces, as Riyadh is already using its heavy infantry in Yemen and near the Iraqi border.
In this case Saudi forces would come face-to-face with the members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards operating in Syria. If Saudi and Iranian forces would openly clash in Syria, nobody can predict what might happen next in the Middle East, Rodier explained.
“The bullying of Mohammad bin Salman [the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi minister of defense] are beginning to irritate many other members of Saudi royal family,” Rodier said, as cited by Atlantico.
Some in the Saudi government believe that Mohammad bin Salman’s reckless actions might bring the Kingdom to chaos.
If something happens to King Salman bin Abdulaziz [he is said to be struggling with his poor health], there will be many princes ready to claim the throne.
In particular, Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the current minister of the Saudi National Guard, which doesn’t take orders from the Ministry of Defense, might be willing to “calm down” Prince Salman’s ambitions.
According to Rodier, the chief of the National Guard could make an alliance with Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, First Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior, and together organize a coup, easily subduing the regular Saudi Armed Forces, if they decide to oppose the coup.