Prince Khaled bin Farhan Al Saud, a distant member of the Saudi royal family who has not stepped foot in the country since 2013 and who identifies an “opponent” of puritanical rule, offered his take on the situation in Saudi Arabia on Monday.
The prince, who has not been in direct contact with the Saudi dynasty for several years, often volunteers provocative insights into the kingdom’s ruling family. Prince Khaled bin Farhan told the Middle East Eye on Monday: “I would like to tell the Europeans that the situation in Saudi Arabia is reminiscent of a volcano that is about to erupt. And if that volcano erupts, it will not only affect the situation in Saudi Arabia or the Arab region, but it will affect you as well. This is because Saudi Arabia is diverse in terms of composition, whether tribal, social or even generational.”
The exiled prince went on to explain that a coup in Saudi Arabia could “easily” make the kingdom a center for global terrorism, since there is a lack of intra-Saudi cohesion.
“If Saudi Arabia falls into a state of chaos, there will be global chaos, and Saudi Arabia will be a source of terrorism for the whole world as it will support and maintain international terrorism,” he said.
The prince also warned that Europe and the US would have to “pay the bill” for the collapse of the Saudi state.
Discussing last year’s campaign against corruption led by Mohammed bin Salman, who is considered to be “moderate and liberal” by world leaders, Prince Khaled bin Farhan said: “It was a shock because prominent figures of the family were detained in a way that caused much humiliation. The family is now facing the weakening of their position in the eyes of the people. And that will inevitably undermine its legitimacy.”
Bin Farhan revealed that Saudi princes and businessmen have been lured to a hotel under the pretext of meeting the king, “and [the authorities] record their conversations, either over the phone or directly with a person. So they are under personal, severe and humiliating surveillance within Saudi Arabia and are not allowed to leave.”
However, according to the exile, the Saudi authorities have not confirmed reports that they have prevented detainees from the Ritz-Carlton hotel from leaving the kingdom.
The prince harshly criticized Mohammed bin Salman’s anti-corruption campaign, saying: “It is clear that the arrest of princes has created a state of psychological trauma in the whole family, which is represented by two things. First, they fear for their own future as the dominant family in Saudi Arabia. And second, they are not satisfied with the policies being adopted today that are irrational, erratic, and stupid. “
However, he applauded two of bin Salman’s reforms, specifically his decision to grant women the right to drive and his attempt to curb the power of religious authorities in Saudi Arabia.
“The first thing is to allow women to drive cars. This is not generosity, it is the woman’s right to drive, it is her basic right. Second, it [the reform] restricted the influence of the Saudi religious authority. This religious authority is a governmental organization. It is favorable to this even in matters that violate Islamic law if we are talking about Islamic law. ”
However, the prince said that he believes that Salman did not implement the aforementioned reforms to benefit the Saudi population, but only to “gain popularity” with the US and Europe.
Bin Farhan received political asylum within two months after arriving in Germany in 2013. Since then he has granted numerous interviews to media, providing what he has presented as insights into the life of the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The prince’s quarrel with the Royal Family began after Khaled’s father, who became known as the Red Prince, was put behind bars in the 1980s for defending constitutional monarchy. Khaled’s father is a descendant of a clan that has no access to power. Khaled, who graduated in Egypt, does not have any direct contact with the Royal Family at the moment. His sister, however, is currently living in Saudi Arabia, since under Sharia law she cannot leave the country unless she has the permission of her father or brother.