Saudi Whistle-Blower: Schools, Universities Closed Not for Coronavirus, But for Crown Prince’s Power Scheme

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International desk, Mar 10: Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, said the state order to suspend school and academic activities is part of the crown prince’s Pseudo-coup under the guise of campaign against Coronavirus epidemic, FARS news reports.“Closure of training centers in Saudi Arabia is not related to the coronavirus and the battle against it and the decision has been made due to security issues,” Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Monday.

“It seems that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is preparing himself for an important issue in the next few days,” he added.

Saudi Arabia suspended all schools, universities and educational institutions in the Kingdom starting on Monday until further notice due to what it calls as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The report came as Saudi authorities last week detained a brother and a nephew of Saudi King Salman in a move that extends a crackdown on royal relatives by his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud were arrested on Friday and accused of treason, a person familiar with the matter said.

Prince Mohammed’s brother, Nawaf, was also detained with him at a desert camp, the person said. The news was reported earlier Friday by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Since King Salman took power, senior Saudi princes have been sidelined in favor of his son Prince Mohammed, who has consolidated power to an unprecedented level by arresting princes and removing them from key posts as he took control of the kingdom’s ministries and institutions of power. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef had been in line to the throne and was the country’s interior minister before being stripped of his powers in 2017.

Later the same year, Prince Mohammed embarked on his most sweeping crackdown during his reign, ordering security forces to arrest senior princes and prominent businessmen in what was declared a crackdown on corruption. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was detained at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Prince Miteb, son of the late King Abdullah, was removed from his post as head of the powerful National Guards.

A leading Arab newspaper reported on Saturday that detention of the nephew and brother of Saudi King Salman might be related to the King’s dire health conditions.

“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has crossed the redlines in the Saudi family after detaining his uncle Ahmed bin Abdulaziz,” the Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi reported.

“The detentions have been a preemptive move and they are likely related to the dire health conditions of the Saudi King,” it added.

The paper noted that the cell phones of Saudi princes’ sons have also been seized and they have been disconnected from the outside world, adding that this is indicative of an incident.