Saudi Arabia’s King Salman plans to step down and announce his son as his successor next week, a source close to the country’s royal family has told DailyMail.com.
The move is seen as the final step in 32-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power grab, which began earlier this month with the arrests of more than 40 princes and government ministers in a corruption probe.
The source said King Salman will continue only as a ceremonial figurehead, handing over official leadership of the country to his son – often referred to as MBS.
‘Unless something dramatic happens, King Salman will announce the appointment of MBS as King of Saudi Arabia next week,’ said the source.
The high level source said once crowned king, the prince will shift his focus to Iran, a long standing rival oil empire to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, with fears military action is possible.
He will also enlist the help of the Israeli military to crush Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia supported by Iran, according to the source.
‘MBS is convinced that he has to hit Iran and Hezbollah,’ he said. ‘Contrary to the advice of the royal family elders, that’s MBS’s next target. Hence why the ruler of Kuwait privately calls him “The raging Bull”.
‘MBS’s plan is to start the fire in Lebanon, but he’s hoping to count on Israeli military backing. He has already promised Israel billions of dollars in direct financial aid if they agree.
‘MBS can not confront Hezbollah in Lebanon without Israel. Plan B is to fight Hezbollah in Syria,’ said the source.
Donald Trump tweeted his complete backing for the moves by Prince Mohammed, the crown prince, and his father King Salman in rounding up dozens of princes and ministers
Last week the Prime Minister of Lebanon made what is believed to be a forced resignation on Saudi television after being summoned to Riyadh by Prince Mohammed.
Saad al-Hariri said in his resignation speech that he was afraid of being assassinated and accused Iran of working with Hezbollah.
Tensions have been rising between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the Saudi government blamed Iran for a foiled missile attack near Riyadh on November 4.
The rocket was fired from neighboring Yemen and was heading towards the Saudi capital before it was shot down.
The Saudi foreign minister, Adel Jubair, said Iran was responsible and called the attack ‘an act of war’.
‘Iran cannot lob missiles at Saudi cities and towns and expect us not to take steps,’ Jubair told CNN.
An Iranian government spokesperson dismissed the accusations as ‘contrary to reality’.
‘Today confrontation is the name of the game,’ Joseph A. Kechichian, a scholar at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, told the New York Times.
‘This young man, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is not willing to roll over and play dead. If you challenge him, he is saying, he is going to respond.’