Saudi King Salman plans to step down and name his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as his successor, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
After the move, King Salman will continue only as a ceremonial figurehead, the Daily Mail reported citing a source close to the Saudi royal family.
The move will likely take place next week “unless something dramatic happens”, the source claimed.
The source said that once the transfer of power is complete, the new king will ramp up hostilities against Saudi Arabia’s bitter rival Iran, with fears of a possible military clash. Mohammed will also target Hezbollah, the Shia militia in Lebanon that is backed by Iran, the source said.
“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,” the source was quoted as saying, referring to the crown prince by his initials.
If what the report claims is accurate, then the transfer of power will be the final step in Mohammed’s power grab. It would also come close on the heels of the arrest of more than 40 Saudi princes and officials in a corruption probe, which is being seen by many quarters as Mohammed ridding himself of rivals.