"Abdication Is Unthinkable": Saudis Deny King Salman Will Relinquish Throne To His Son

Tyler Durden's picture

Three days ago, we reported that based on various unconfirmed media reports, Saudi King Salman - reeling from a just concluded purge that arrested some of the country's wealthiest and most powerful royals and officials - was set to elevate his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to the throne in as little as 48 hours. Speculation peaked when Al-Arabiya tweeted, then quickly deleted, details of the allegedly imminent ascension ceremony.

To be sure, though a transfer of power to the crown prince has long been predicted and expected, especially after a lesser known round of mass arrests targeting well-known Saudi clerics took place in September, last week's events pointed to a final "house cleaning" purge in preparation for bin Salman's likely imminent ascent. After the September arrests against clerics who were largely seen as regime insiders, yet who were mildly critical of the new aggressive stance against Qatar, the WSJ quoted an adviser to the Saudi government as saying, “Mohammed bin Salman is definitely preparing to become king. He wants to tackle the internal debate about him becoming the king and focus on consolidating his power, rather than doing that while being distracted by dissidents.

During the September crackdown, which is currently receiving little commentary in relation to last weekend's turmoil, over 30 prominent political figures were detained, most of them clerics with large social media followings and broad influence in the Arab world. The WSJ further noted at that time that...

The government has denied an abdication is planned, but several people close to the royal family say preparations have already started. The transfer of power, which several people close to the royal family had expected to occur this month, is likely to take place late this year or early next year, these people say.

At that time, one of the few commentators to rightly point out that this was not fundamentally about rounding up "outsiders" and "oppositionists" was Middle East history professor and expert on Saudi affairs, As'ad AbuKhalil. He predicted the crackdown was part of a broader campaign aimed at regime insiders and prominent voices who threatened push-back against the crown prince's vision for Saudi foreign policy:

Unlike what some in the media are writing on social media, this crackdown is not directed against dissidents.  Many of those arrested are loyal propagandists for the Saudi regime.  They are being punished not for what they say but for what they are not saying: they are being punished for not being vocal against Qatar and against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Indeed, last week's internal Saudi earthquake which witnessed the detention of about a dozen other princes, as well as the freezing in billions in assets, further confirms AbuKhalil's analysis. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince's path to the throne is now virtually unimpeded: as a reminder, the 32-year-old Prince Mohammed was named heir to the throne in June after replacing his cousin. Last week, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was also dismissed from his post as head of the National Guard as part of what authorities described as a sweeping anti-corruption drive, reinforcing speculation that the crown prince was on the cusp of becoming king.

In fact, transfer of power from the King to the Royal Prince would be merely a formality at this point: Prince Mohammed already controls almost all levers of government; he oversees defense, oil and economic policies, and - in applying the script of Syriana to real life - has vowed to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil and return to a more moderate form of Islam.

But perhaps the most substantial confirmation that royal succession is indeed in the cards, is the official denial that took place overnight via Bloomberg, which reported that "King Salman isn’t planning to abdicate in favor of his son, a senior Saudi official said, dismissing mounting speculation that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will soon ascend to the throne." Needless to say, if mounting speculation was baseless, Saudi Arabia would simply ignore it.

There is no possibility whatsoever that the king will abdicate,’’ the official said in response to written questions. Saudi kings usually stay in power even when bad health prevents them from carrying out their job, the official said on condition of anonymity. He noted the example of King Fahd, who stayed on as monarch until his death in 2005 despite being gravely ill in the last few years of his reign.

The denial continued: "Abdication is unthinkable especially since King Salman, 81, enjoys “perfect’’ physical and mental powers, the official said. Those who suggest otherwise “do not understand royal customs and traditions in Saudi Arabia,” the official said." Or, perhaps, they do very well, which is why Riyadh felt the need to issue an official denial.

The irony is that by directly addressing the mounting speculation, the Saudi royal family merely adds credence to it. In a catch 22 described by Graham Griffiths, an analyst at consultancy Control Risks in Dubai, the government will have difficulty credibly denying that speculation “because no one expects them to acknowledge it as a possibility before it happens. As a result, rumor and speculation will continue to abound.”

Additionally, abdication is not unthinkable: as Bloomberg notes, there is one precedent of a Saudi monarch stepping down while still alive.

King Saud bin Abdulaziz abdicated in favor of his brother and heir, Prince Faisal, in the mid-1960s after pressure from ruling family members. The prince had already claimed broad powers to counter a financial crisis that engulfed the kingdom at the time.

In September Eurasia Group said the royal palace was finalizing plans to transfer power allowing “the father to oversee the transition and prevent dissent from other powerful members of the ruling family.”

In any case, while a royal accession may not be imminent, all signs now point to an orderly succession in a few years’ time, discontent with Prince Mohammed’s domestic reform program and foreign policy initiatives “could increase the family’s willingness to challenge him,’’ Griffiths said. Last week's mega purge, which intends to confiscate up to $800 billion in assets from Saudi oligarchs, may be just the catalyst for Prince Mohammed to accelerate his accession plans as the animosity among the kingdom's wealthiest and most powerful is rising fast.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Seriousguys's picture

Bandar bin Sultan arrested?

So this Power move could maybe turn out to be a good thing.

Looney's picture


Saudi Arabia is in crisis – they are trying to figure out whether Goat Fucking is “bestiality” or “incest”.   ;-)


Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Denial = confirmation. Now all we have left to figure out is the timetable.

MozartIII's picture

The next couple of days most likley. They're just playing the old no is yes game.

strannick's picture

Cant MBS just torture an abdication out of his dad at the Riyad Ritz?

Or shoot down his helicopter as he tries to flee?

Or gun him down  in his palace when he wont go quietly?

Stuck on Zero's picture

"There is no possibility whatsoever that the king will abdicate."

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

"There were no classified emails on my server."


Hans-Zandvliet's picture

Exactly: "Don't believe anything, until it has been officially denied." (Bismarck)

monk27's picture

So, it's now a Father vs Son thing. How Arabic of them ! The Saudis seem to have reached total confusion; can't beat the poor Houthis in Yemen, but dream of making war to Iran (through Lebanon). As usual, they also believe America will do all the heavy lifting for them. Mark down another country where delusion just became a way of life... Fighting Iran... yeah, sure ! LOL !!!

Socratic Dog's picture

What's delusional about thinking the US will do what it's told?  That's exactly what I would expect.

Crazy Or Not's picture

King Salman walks with an ET shuffle, hasn't managed stairs for 30 years...
I give him til Xmas. MBS doesn't seem the type to hang around in his plans...
"Hi Dad, come see the view from this really high balcony" 

serotonindumptruck's picture

You damn skippy they're in crisis, and they most definitely know it.

KSA is currently practicing an extreme application of Machiavellian politics with these purges.

The missile attack a week ago was clearly a False Flag, along with the kidnapping and coerced resignation of the Lebanese PM.

These events are most definitely not coincidental or happenstance, and they are designed to focus attention away from KSA and against long-standing opponents.

wildbad's picture

Sounds like an official denial to me...

eforce's picture

Houthi's have been firing missiles at Riyadh for a while now, plenty of videos.

Theta_Burn's picture

Time to purge the old man I guess.. whats he worth?

junction's picture

No information yet on who is advising the crown prince on what to do.  The story mainstream news is peddling is that this crown prince, with no real experience in government, has become a master strategist on taking over the Kingdom. Tell me another.  I wonder if there is a Rothschild banker at his side.

Juggernaut x2's picture

They already are Rothschild puppets- maybe the Prince is promising The Red Shield a bigger cut.

Chupacabra-322's picture

The Saudis are Crypto Zionist Jews.

Jokes on us.

weburke's picture

you are not watching, when the king was with trump, it was obvious he was drugged up and surrounded by non saudi gaurds.

Philanthropocalypse's picture

The House of Saud are Crypto Zionist Jews.

Fixed it fer ya...

lil dirtball's picture

> promising The Red Shield a bigger cut

Lol. Who's promising whom? The Rothchilds created and own the Saud's. They call the shots, including terms of compensation.

You really think the Rothchilds & Co. give a shit about gold plated Lamborghini's or who is the figurehead for the family? They have much, much bigger games to play. Running the entire world is serious business.

oncemore's picture

MBZ was and is his handler. (mohamed bin zayed)

Philanthropocalypse's picture

pics!... or it didn't happen.  

seriously, what's the angle, here?  Modernization? or some regional power issue? Wouldn't MbZ and MbS, as "modernizers" or reformers, look with less hostility at Iran, et al?  I 'get' the sectarian squabble, but that's 'in the past'. Why work up a regional war, when you're trying to break the power of the old guard/wahabist groups? Would not such a war bring the old guard back into power?


Cardinal Fang's picture

Neom is the answer to your question....

All roads lead to Neom.

911bodysnatchers322's picture

The Saudi diplomats that were arrested are the 911 supporters, those that have been supporting isis, which we (citizen / international journalists and white hat whistleblowers in intelligence) have proven now has direct ties to the CIA for funding through Bulgaria, supplied by weapons companies owned by McCain and Graham on senate foreign arms svcs committe and intelligence committees btw, and we know this from Dilyana Gaytandsheiva a journalist from Bulgaria who backtraced a discovered weapons cache in syria and discovered the silk way airline shipping manifests which essentially prove this is so

So I have no sympathy for Saudis who have been actively supporting the libera-faction CIA and their attempts at creating perennial war by continuing the bush2 era's pnac plan of topples and plunders (7th floor group aka foggy bottom aka state dep--Hillary, Obama, Mccain, Graham, McCabe, Comey, Mueller, Podesta a and b, etc, Petraeus, Kissinger, Bushes 1,2, Cheney) -- essentially they all did 911 and Salman was made to see the light by Trump and they came up with a new plan, which is to oust these suckers from the planet

I think the argument went like this: when they topple syria which they're close to doing, then they'll do lebannon, jordan, why do you think they'll stop there? They won't.

So then Salman saw the benefit in sovereignty, healthy boundaries and good relationships, even with and especially Israel

Turns out people want peace and you can make money and have peace at the same time. i know it's a difficult concept esp for the CIA but it really is true.

Philanthropocalypse's picture

Perhaps you just answered the questions I posed to oncemore, above.
Would you say the UAE sultans are in on this "ouster" progrom? And again, if the angle here, is to flush the 9-11 rats out into the light, how does the bellicose words towards Iran help bring about the "peace"? Is it simply necessary to burn Iran down, in order to ensure Isreael's safety, going forward? The old guard/ foggy bottom/ etc. groups benefit from war with Iran, right? So why foment that war? 
Unless you're saying that MbS is actually not fomenting, and is attempting to de-escalate what another faction is trying to escalate...?

south40_dreams's picture

Ali Baba and his 40 thieves

Juggernaut x2's picture

There is no way these "Royal" ragheads should have even been entrusted with so much of the world's most valuable commodity. The fact that we have funneled trillions of dollars for oil to these worthless sacks of shit is criminal.

fbazzrea's picture

the DS is STILL trying to figure out how their oil got underneath the Saudi ground.

the Saudis should just be grateful we allow them to live in such an earthly paradise... more sand and sun than Cancun.

911bodysnatchers322's picture

The arrests weren't about thievery they are about renumeration. If you read a little bit more about this situation you'll understand that this 'stolen' money was siphoned away from both the Salman regime AND the underclass for decades and is now being returned to them via social programs. Yes, social programs. You heard it right. He's giving it back to the people. This does not make him a socialist, nor does it make him robin hood, because AGAIN that was THEIR MONEY To begin with

SO if you want to talk about theivery, talk about how the people who are under house arrest have been stealing from their own people for decades now, and who perpetrated 911 and who have been stealing people's money and then converting it into terrorism by using that money to fund ISIS, which is really another name not for terrorism but for thug mercenary enforcers who are going around the middle east stealing from everyone else and then funneling that back to the people paying them

It's a long con, it's a racket, it's gangsterism; and we know it's being run by intelligence agencies including the CIA. This is proven. If you don't believe then do your own research, but this will help: google Dilyana gaytandshiva bulgaria silk way airlines purple shovel syria weapons ISIS CIA

It will get you there. We have proof. But what we also have is a corrupted court system wherein the CIA has embedded their own people like Tanya Chutkan into it and they will NOT give a fair trial on this and they do everything they can to inhibit the people of the US from getting information that is public information--which means it belongs to THEM

And they've been dismissing, and protecting the bad guys here. They've been upholding illegal warrants, they've been denying interveners, they've been not holding people in contempt for taking the 5th or ignoring subpoenas, they've given immunity out like candy in order to protect the conspirators (which is not how immunity is supposed to work), they've been claiming state secrets for obvious felonies, murder, and other high crimes akin to misprision, sedition and treason,

But we'll win in the court of public opinion because what we've said is true

It's not theft. It's giving back to people who stole from you. that's just a fact

I think you and many others here in this thread, and in other similar thread are being brainwashed by MSM who want to frame this again as some anti-Saudi thing because they have a poor read of history and they don't basically understand this situaiton. This situation is about deposing of the ISIS aligned Saudis

How can that be a bad thing? Even for the MSM???!

So, all this time they are against ISIS until Saudi is, and then suddenly they are pro ISIS?

no think about it some more

If ISIS is CIA then the situation makes sense. They NEED ISIS in order to justify being over there, otherwise they're caught basically stealing resources from the middle easy and guilty of vast war crimes of wholesale murder for no reason

magnetosphere's picture

well if abdication is not in the (house of) cards, how about regicide or patricide?

45North1's picture

A weekend at King Salmans.........

samsara's picture

"He wants to tackle the internal debate about him becoming the king and focus on consolidating his power, rather than doing that while being distracted by dissidents."

Sound familiar?

Avichi's picture

Dont be surprised, in the "MUSLIM" world they will not hesistate to "TAKE CARE" of their own "FATHER" if comes to "POWER AND GREED and 72 VIRGINS" if HISTORY" has taught us about these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jahangir

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Silly author.


Abdicate is when you flee with the gold!

DEMIZEN's picture

i have my popcorn and i am ready for the sword dance. my orb says saud is fucked one or another way.

Freddie's picture

Clown show in robes.  I would love to see Hezbollah rolling up to Riyahd.  LOL!  Saudis are coward fu*ks.  Gold plated worthless Dindus. 

Listen to any speeches:

Mostly Sane Side - Putin, Assad, Nasrallah or Iranian QIDs General Solemiani

Insane Side - Saudis, Bibi and his red lines,McCain, Schumer-Weinstein, Losers in Zato, CrazyGen. Mark Milley, Hillary, the Neocon Bushes and Clintons plus teleprompter CIA puppet Obama.

Bibi's terrorist and white phosphorus ties


Psycho US Army General Mark Milley going full Neo Con war monger.  Reminds me of Dr. Strangelove. This guy is an illiterate


Juggernaut x2's picture

Bibi's bitch, the Great Orange Sultan, would never allow a hair on the Saudi Royal family's hair to be harmed

AAA's picture

What if a bunch of Mckinsey guys are the advisors

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Whether you abdicate your "throne" is meaningless at this point in your economic deterioration and crisis of your own making along with your "handlers" x3 in the U.S., Brussels and U.K. ...


shovelhead's picture

The Prince gets whacked by the end of the month.

AAA's picture

No Chance,

The most significant part in this drama is that General Raheel Sharif is advising the Crown Prince on supposedly Yemen strategy while in reality he has  brought his Pakistani coup expertise on the table. The masked special forces are mostly Pakistani special forces so they are likely to be loyal to the Crown Prince till he consolidates his power

JoseyWalesTheOutlaw's picture

Bloomberg and WSJ....so now we understand the spin from the CIA

JoseyWalesTheOutlaw's picture

Warning to Rich those Prince with major money......If someone ask you if you wish to take a ride in their new helicopter then you should decline.

spanish inquisition's picture

Yemen fires Iranian rocket that kills king in

Mactruck's picture

What's the big deal?
I abdicate the throne after my morning dump every day

CPL's picture

Step down Salman.  Word to wise to a man with no time on his clock.

helloimjohnnycat's picture

You fuckin' fuckks should know.....those sand niggers are making youse guys pull your puds while oil gushes higher.

Fuckkin' fat-bellied joos over there are butt-fuckkin' each other, the ZH Tylers, most of you half-witts, and anything else with only a trace of sand ' round its smelly orifice.

That's Amore !

Huma was a 12, don't ya' know,  before her tongue was blackmailed / captured by HRC.

Pantsuit granny ain't abdicating THAT weapon of moist direction.

Dayam, I just lost my appetite.

turkey george palmer's picture

Wish I knew what the point of genocide in Yemen was. Are the houthi that dam dangerous I know they about won a civil war in Yemen which might have been interesting if Iran could have kicked the us out of Yemen. No way Israel could let that happen.

 There it is the Iranian failure in Yemen is key.