LONDON – A high-ranking member of the Saudi royal family, who had feared the return to the kingdom after criticizing the Crown Prince, flew back to Riyadh from London, three Saudis near him said Tuesday
The return of Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, is the most significant feature of the royal family since the assassination of dissident Jamal Khashoggi unleashed an international backlash against the kingdom.
Prince Ahmed was afraid to come back since he made public Last month, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 33, the king's favorite son and de facto ruler of the kingdom, criticized his companions as his family announced [1
The 2nd October Murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist, has implicated the rulers of the kingdom in their most significant international upheaval since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the majority of Attacker turned out to be Saudis.
It After more than two weeks, after Mr. Khashoggi disappeared into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to acknowledge that he had been assassinated by a team of Saudi agents, the rulers of the kingdom took power.
Turkish officials said they had sound recordings and other evidence the agents quickly dismantled him with a bone saw to dispose of the corpse, an operation that is said to have been performed only with permission from the highest levels of the royal court ,
Saudi officials portrayed the murder as a rogue plot and insisted that Crown Prince Mohammed not order or tolerate it. Many current and former Western officials with experience in the kingdom have questioned the plausibility of this assertion, as the prince strictly controls the intelligence and security services of the kingdom.
With a cloud now hanging over the Crown Prince, outsiders have speculated that the royal family might respond by revolving their wagons around it or trying to control its power, perhaps by playing its part in foreign affairs Limited matters or relations with the West.
Prince Ahmed had repeatedly postponed his return lately for fear he might be under house arrest, as other royals who were perceived as rivals to the Crown Prince, related to him close associates.
Last month, Prince Ahmed was attacked in London by protesters who sang the royal family over Saudi Arabia's leading role in the three-year civil war in Yemen, which has led to a military stalemate and humanitarian disaster.
"What does that have to do with the Al Saud?" Prince Ahmed said in comments to the entire royal family in comments that were shot on video. "Those responsible are the king and his crown prince."
"I hope the situation ends," he added, "whether in Yemen or elsewhere, today before tomorrow."
Prince Ahmed became an instant hero for Arab critics of the Crown Prince in the region. Many praised him on the Internet with fidelity, as if Prince Ahmed was king.
But he quickly made it clear that he had no intention of turning on the Crown Prince by making a statement that his comments had been misinterpreted.
By Tuesday, Prince Ahmed had stayed in London to reassure himself that he would not get setbacks from his powerful nephew when he returned to Riyadh.
It was unclear whether he now felt safe only because high-ranking members of the family gathered together to deal with the crisis. People familiar with his travels said that Prince Ahmed landed in Saudi Arabia around 1.30 am on Tuesday and that Crown Prince Mohammed warmly welcomed him to the airport.