In the three years since he emerged as a central player in Saudi Arabia's government, Mohammed bin Salman has seemed to be a young man in a hurry. The 32-year-old was officially named crown prince of Saudi Arabia earlier this year, but well before that, he had announced broad plans to transform both Saudi Arabia's culture and its economy. At a conference this week in Riyadh, the prince made headlines by calling for the Kingdom to "return to moderate Islam". He suggested that his country's embrace of a particularly strict version of Islam was a reaction to Iran's 1979 revolution. But questions are being asked as to whether the prince will be able to push his reforms through the country's conservative bureaucracy and religious establishment.
"Their files will be the catalog of every untoward incident, from the truly illegal to the maybe just embarrassing," Mr. Riedel said. While Western officials presume that Mr. Aljabri's knowledge of those secrets lies behind the crown prince's efforts to return him to Saudi Arabia, two people briefed on his case, one American and one Saudi, said that Saudi authorities have justified the efforts by accusing Mr. Aljabri of corruption. The two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the information, said that Mr. Aljabri is accused of using his position to amass a personal fortune and that the prince wanted the money back. The Saudi authorities have not made public any corruption allegations against Mr. Aljabri. Prince Mohammed rocketed to power after his father, King Salman, ascended the throne in 2015, and Mr. Aljabri's standing faltered as Prince Mohammed's rose.
But even for Prince Mohammed, the detention of his uncle, Prince Ahmed, startled many analysts. "It is surprising he would move on Prince Ahmed with the king's authority still there," said Kristin Smith Diwan, a scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. The recent wave of arrests has sent tremors of fear through the family and raised questions about the status of the king, three people close to the family said Saturday. The king was photographed in recent days meeting with the visiting British foreign secretary. A doctor with ties to the Saudi hospital that treats many royals said the hospital had received no word that the king was ill.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman has declared that Israel has the right to its own land alongside Palestinians. In an interview with the US-based The Atlantic magazine, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne declared: "I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation." The crown prince - commonly known by his initials, MBS - said that "there are a lot of interests" his country shares with Israel. "Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it's a growing economy, and of course there are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan." MBS also said that while his country has "religious concerns" about the holy mosque in Jerusalem and the rights of Palestinians, it has no objection "against any other people".