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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Powers Have Been Stripped: Report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been stripped of some of his financial and economic authority, The Guardian reports. The heir to the Saudi crown has been absent from a number of high-profile meetings in recent weeks, the paper says. One of the Saudi kingdom’s key advisers, Musaed al-Aiban, will now take over investment affairs on the king’s behalf in the crown prince’s absence. The kingdom did not confirm The Guardian’s story. Instead, a spokesman for the Saudi embassy in D.C. told the paper, “It is customary for the king of Saudi Arabia to issue a royal order delegating the power to administer the affairs of the state to his deputy, the crown prince, whenever he travels abroad... Any insinuation to the contrary is simply baseless.” The report follows The New York Times’ revelation of a “hit squad”—called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group—that was formed by the man known as MBS and relied upon for as much as two years before the October 2018 murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi to execute “the surveillance, kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudi dissidents” on the crown prince’s orders.