Saudi Arabia Denies Confinement of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

Rabat – In the midst of the heated controversy of Mohammed bin Nayef being relieved from his role as Saudi Crown Prince, Saudi officials have denied a recent report from the New York Times claiming that bin Nayef has been confined to his palace and restricted from travel.Earlier this month, amid the escalating tension between Saudi Arabia-led alliances and Qatar, King Salman Bin Abdelaziz named his son (and Nayef’s cousin), Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdelaziz, Crown Prince and Deputy Minister in a major and unexpected move, replacing 57-year-old Nayef.Mohammed bin Nayef was immediately dismissed from his positions as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. The newly appointed Crown Prince held the position of Heir until today’s reshuffle. The change in ministry comes amid an unprecedented diplomatic crisis crippling the Gulf region after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt decided to severe diplomatic with Qatar, shutting down all air, land and see borders with the gas-rich country. The NY Times said on Wednesday that Mohammed bin Nayef was prevented from leaving his Jeddah palace “after his trusted guards had been replaced by guards loyal to Mohammed bin Salman.” The Times report also stated that restrictions had been imposed on bin Nayef’s daughters, who were to remain in the palace for an undetermined period of time.In response to the claims, a Saudi official spoke to Reuters, denying the report by saying that it was “not true, 100 percent,” despite the fact that Mohammed bin Nayef has not been seen since a Saudi state media aired a video of him on June 21. The official did not provide further information.A senior US official told the Times that it was an “indication that Mohammed bin Salman does not want any opposition,” and political power is at stake. “He doesn’t want any rear-guard action within the family,” the official said. “He wants a straight elevation without any dissent – not that bin Nayef was plotting anything anyway.” read more