‘The Godfather, Saudi-style’: inside the palace coup that brought MBS to power

Anuj Chopra in The Guardian:

The Saudi prince was detained all night. As daylight broke, he staggered out of the king’s palace in Mecca. His personal bodyguards, who tailed him everywhere, were missing. The prince was led to a waiting car. He was free to leave – but he would soon discover that freedom was not very different from detention.

As his car pulled out of the palace gates, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef fired off a series of panicked text messages.

“Be very careful! Don’t come back!” he wrote to his most trusted adviser, who had quietly slipped out of the kingdom just weeks earlier.

When Nayef reached his own palace in the coastal city of Jeddah a few hours later, he found new guards manning the property. It was obvious that he was being put under house arrest.

“May God help us, doctor. The important thing is that you must be careful, and under no circumstances should you come back,” he wrote to the adviser.

The previous night, 20 June 2017, Nayef, the king’s nephew, had been forced to step down as heir to the Saudi throne in an episode that one royal insider described to me as “Godfather, Saudi-style”.

More here.