December 12, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1389

Saudi Oppositionist: King 'Abdullah is Trying to Keep Prince Na'if From Acceding to the Throne

December 12, 2006
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 1389

The weekly magazine of the Algerian daily El-Khabar recently published an interview with Mash'al Al-Mutairi, a Saudi oppositionist whom the magazine described as a former director of Saudi intelligence who left Saudi Arabia and today resides in The Netherlands. Al-Mutairi exposes the significant influence of the Saudi Interior Ministry, and discusses attempts by King 'Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan to prevent the possibility of Interior Minister Prince Na'if's someday becoming king.

The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

The Interior Ministry Wiretaps the Phones, Even in the King's Office

El-Khabar: "In your opinion, what is the most influential security force in Saudi Arabia?"

Mash'al Al-Mutairi: "Without a doubt, that would be the Interior Ministry and its people, who are deployed everywhere and who are much more numerous than the military and the intelligence personnel. One of the secrets of the Interior Ministry's strength is that it spies on all means of communication - telephones, faxes, and Internet. It has two buildings whose purpose is to monitor phone conversations... This monitoring includes the King's office, the intelligence forces, and embassies."

El-Khabar: "Do you not think that the Interior Ministry derives its power also from its control of the religious police - that is, the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice?"

Al-Mutairi: "Certainly. The religious police acts on the Interior Ministry's orders, though formally it is part of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, and it has jurisdiction over the weak citizens. As for Prince [Na'if], he is untouchable, and is not subject to the limitations of law and punishment..."

El-Khabar: "But several years ago a member of the ruling family was almost executed after he killed a citizen, and would have been had he not been forgiven by the murdered man's father."

Al-Mutairi: "This was a transparent show, since they threatened to murder the victim's father if he did not agree to drop the case. The only prince put to death by law was Faisal Bin Musa'id, the murderer of King Faisal. As for punishment of princes, it always amounts to their forced confinement in a palace full of servants, or in a special ward designed for them that is called a 'prison', and is like a five-star hotel. Afterwards they are quietly released."

King 'Abdullah and the Crown Prince Conspired to Prevent Prince Na'if From Acceding to the Throne

El-Khabar: "Do you think that [Interior Minister] Prince Na'if's influence will allow him to become king?"

Al-Mutairi: "King 'Abdullah and [Crown] Prince Sultan have conspired to keep Prince Na'if from acceding to the throne through eliminating the post of second vice prime minister. Nonetheless, Na'if's chances of becoming king are still good, as long as there is no intervention from foreign forces."

El-Khabar: "[You mean] the U.S.?"

Al-Mutairi: "Yes."

[1] El-KhabarAl-Usbu'i (Algeria), November 4, 2006.

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