Saudi Arabia's crackdown on an alleged coup by two prominent members of the kingdom's royal family reportedly extends much further.
It was reported Friday that guards arrested King Salman's brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al Saud, as well as one of his brothers. But since then there have been reports other royal rivals, government officials, and military officials have been rounded up as well. The security sweep is widely viewed as an attempt to consolidate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's power by rooting out any potential threats.
The number of arrests of princes reportedly could be as high as 20, though the king's nephew and brother reportedly remain the most important targets.
"They wanted to send a message to family for all to fall into line and Prince Ahmed was the biggest fish," a person close to the royal court told The Financial Times. "He had been making noises for a while so patience ran out."
Ali Shibabi, a Saudi commentator and supporter of the crown prince, denied rumors of a coup attempt, suggesting it was merely an effort to quell disruption over the Saudi succession because there are so many princes. He said it was "important" to remember this is "playing out without any bloodshed." Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.