According to the London-based daily Rai Al-Youm, the appointment of Khalid ben Salmane (KBS) as Saudi Deputy Minister of Defence could be seen as a stepping stone to his future as Crown Prince.
In his analytical report of Sunday, February 24, on changes in the Saudi government structure, Rai Al-Youm reported: “On Sunday, February 24, the King of Saudi Arabia appointed a woman to the position of Ambassador to the United States. Rima bint Bandar will replace Khaled ben Salmane in Washington, who will also serve as Deputy Minister of Defense. This development is described as unprecedented in the history of Saudi Arabia. »
Many observers have focused on these two decrees, especially at a time when King Salmane is visiting Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to attend the Euro-Arab summit. In other words, Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salmane, who returned home after an Asian tour, took advantage of the king’s absence to sign the royal decrees in his place.
Observers anticipate that this change could have several political dimensions, the most important of which is to remove Khalid ben Salmane from Washington, for fear that he will be questioned about the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Some also believe that his appointment could serve as a basis for Khalid ben Salmane to replace his brother and become the Crown Prince. Indeed, some news reports indicate that the Saudi King’s state of health is deteriorating. In addition, Khalid ben Salmane’s appointment as Deputy Minister of Defence is a prelude to his appointment as Crown Prince and Minister of Defence.
Regarding the appointment of Princess Rima bint Bandar as Saudi ambassador to Washington, Rai al-Youm writes: “Observers have stated that this appointment could be seen as a response to the United States and Europe’s accusations that the kingdom is violating women’s rights. »