Ever since rumors loomed of the assassination of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Kingdom is fighting hard to quell the speculations.
At first, a video footage was released by Saudi Arabia that showed bin Salman, also known as MBS, chairing a Council of Economic Affairs and Development meeting in Jeddah. The conservative kingdom provided the video to clarify rumors about their leader’s death.
Now, the Russian media has reported that the crown prince will visit Russia for the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament in Moscow, Russia.
Interfax Ltd., a privately-held independent major news agency in Russia, quoted Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and said MBS is expected to visit the country where he will also likely meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If the speculations are true, this will the crown prince’s first foreign trip since his disappearance. However, the fact is MBS has not been seen in public since a gun fire was reported near the royal palace.
In April, there were reports of gunfire near the royal palace. According to state-run media, a recreational drone was discovered in the area, prompting security personnel to shoot it down. However, no casualties were reported.
Ever since the alleged shooting, the “reformist” crown prince hasn’t been seen on any public platform. His more than a month-long absence from the world’s stage led to speculations about his well-being. An Iranian newspaper claimed the attack was a possible coup attempt and asserted MBS had been assassinated.
The news spread across the globe like wildfire, prompting Saudi authorities to release footage of the crown prince purportedly attending a meeting, along with some of his pictures. However, the pictures and footage have any dates or time stamps on them.
And now the reports of his possible presence at ceremony in Russia have also somewhat put the speculations at the back seat.
However, the mysterious disappearance raises concerns that if the crown prince is fine and active as claimed by the Saudi media, where is MBS and what is stopping him from coming into the public eye?
The Saudi Kingdom needs to debunk the news of his death with something more than an undated video or pictures of the crown prince.
Moreover, MBS wasn’t even present during the high profile visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that took place at the end of April, further adding fuel to the speculations.
Thumbnail, Banner: Reuters, Amir Levy