Saudi King’s Brother Considering Self-Exile After Criticising Riyadh's Actions in Yemen War
Saudi Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz (3rd from left) and other members of the royal family (Photo: moi.gov.sa)

The brother of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign is considering his options whether he should return to Riyadh after criticising the King and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the war in Yemen, according to the Middle East Eye.

Earlier this week Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, brother to King Salman and one of the few remaining sons of the kingdom's founder, told protesters outside his London home that the entire Al-Saud family should not be blamed for the war in Yemen.

"There are certain individuals who are responsible," the prince said. Upon being asked who the individuals were, the prince said it "the king and the crown prince, and others in the state". "In Yemen and elsewhere, our hope is that the war ends today before tomorrow," he added.

Prince Ahmed Abdulaziz has since then said he stood by his original remarks.

The Middle East Eye also notes that this is the first time a member of the Al Saud family of the prince's rank and seniority has broken the family code of silence. The prince has publicly and deliberately distanced the rest of the family from the reign of King Salman even as multiple countries have begun to question and condemn Riyadh's actions in Yemen.

This action comes after King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have moved to centralise power in the Kingdom. The Crown Prince was reportedly behind the jailing of multiple members of the royal family late last year to ensure they brought back billions of dollars of wealth secreted abroad.

Mohammed bin Salman has also taken the lead on the Yemen war and it was his decision to launch the offensive against the Houthi rebels. This decision was not taken in consultation with other members of the royal family and many in Riyadh prefer the older times during which national security decisions were made collectively in consultation with other leading members of the family.

However, Prince Ahmed’s unhappiness with the power that his young nephew MBS now wields is well known. He was one of three members of the Allegiance Council to oppose bin Salman’s appointment and Ahmed pointedly did not give his allegiance to his nephew when he was made crown prince.

His voicing of opposition to Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen weaken the King’s stand and also pose a threat to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.