Saudi crown prince dubbed ‘psychopath’ by ex-intelligence chief

Image copyright PA Image caption Prince Mohammed has replaced King Salman as Saudi Arabia’s ruler A former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief has described Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “psychopath” who boasted he…

Saudi crown prince dubbed 'psychopath' by ex-intelligence chief

Image copyright PA Image caption Prince Mohammed has replaced King Salman as Saudi Arabia’s ruler

A former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief has described Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “psychopath” who boasted he could kill the current King Abdullah in an interview with the Sunday Times.

Hisham bin Abdel-Aziz bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said the Crown Prince’s judgement had been compromised by his father’s death in 2015 and his appointment to heir.

He said Prince Mohammed had used violent means to secure his accession.

In a TV interview, the Crown Prince also said it was essential for the Kingdom to have thousands of new civil servants.

The Prince’s comments follow a series of defeats for his repressive regime.

On Sunday, the Crown Prince emerged from a two-day meeting of Gulf allies in Bahrain which ended with the most severe rebuke to his rule.

The meeting’s Saudi co-hosts – Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – rejected Riyadh’s demand that they form a unity government to contain Saudi-led tensions.

The other Arab and Muslim countries making up the Joint Gulf Cooperation Council also rejected the move in “the strongest terms possible”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates back a blockade on Qatar

Mr Al Saud said the Crown Prince’s behaviour had been forced on him by the death of his father, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, in 2015 and his ascension to crown prince a year later.

‘Cry for help’

“He suddenly heard the cry for help from his father. He couldn’t face it. So he said to himself: ‘This was my father’. I had seen him cry many times, so there was no way to turn him around.”

Mr Al Saud added: “The same young man who was finishing his Masters in Kuwait, I saw him tear up when a relative left a post in the embassy.”

Other King Abdullah tactics used by the younger Crown Prince included ordering prison guards to make inmates stand in the desert for nine hours to touch hot asphalt, hoping this would kill the prisoners.

When Prince Mohammed’s uncle and former de facto leader, King Salman, died, Prince Mohammed “came to my window and climbed into my room. That is how close he came,” said Mr Al Saud.

Mr Al Saud added: “He was smiling and proud. I became nervous. I was like, ‘Is he coming to kill me?’

“He was fully aware of what was happening: The Crown Prince knows that I am a traitor.”

Prince Mohammed, 32, has dominated Saudi Arabia’s political scene since taking over last year from King Salman, who handed him the reins of power in June 2017.

But his campaign to consolidate power has met with unprecedented resistance.

The crown prince launched a crackdown on dissent in November 2017 that saw at least 36 people jailed and imprisoned since, and the most senior cleric, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, was killed in a military crackdown on criticism of the government.

On Monday, Bahrain’s Emir “chastised” the Saudi Foreign Minister over his remarks critical of the kingdom’s backing of Bahrain’s government.

Prince Mohammed had earlier denied allegations that he was behind an assault on the offices of Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV network.

Leave a Comment