Reports of Saudi Crown Prince’s Domestic Violence Emerge
The Bodyguard Speaks
Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who is scheduled to arrive to the United States, has severely beaten his wife leading to her hospitalization, multiple and unrelated sources told the Gulf Institute.
News of Bin Salman's - also known as MBS - physically abusing of his wife have emerged ahead of his March 20th meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House, which has been engulfed in its own turbulence after domestic violence complaints led to the departure of several senior advisors. Reports of wife beatings will certainly cast doubt on MBS' promoted image as a women's rights champion and reformer, and challenge the credibility of his American official and media supporters.
The Gulf Institute first learned of MBS' domestic violence abuses from a member of the Saudi ruling family and Bin Salman's first cousin. The prince has requested anonymity citing security concerns. We are giving him the name Khalid instead of his real name. Khalid shared the information with the Gulf Institute through a known intermediary.
According to Khalid, MBS' wife Sara bint Mashhour bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who is also his and Khalid's first cousin, has endured frequent beatings and hospitalizations since she wed MBS on April 6th 2008. The couple has four children together.
MBS' history of violence toward his wife has been corroborated by several and separate sources.
The Bodyguard Speaks
Mark Young, a British citizen who worked as a Royal Protection Officer for the upper echelons of the Saudi Ruling family for 15 years, confirmed the reports of Sara's beatings and hospitalizations.
In an interview with the Gulf Institute, Young said he met Sara and MBS' mother Fahda through his work. According to Young and Khalid, Sara wanted to divorce Bin Salman but her mother talked her out of it. Young detailed his experience guarding the Saudi ruling family in a book titled "Saudi Bodyguard."
Young described MBS as an aggressive man. "MBS' mentality is like both his mother and father - he is a forceful bully boy," he said. "He has anxiety-related conditions and has lashed out at others, including his wife."
Several videos of MBS appear to support Young's assertions of MBS' anxiety disorder. Videos show MBS suffering from a facial tic due possibly to anxiety disorder or other psychological condition.
"MBS inherited his mother's temperament and he has lashed out not just against his wife but other princes too, like his father before him," he added.
Reports of King Salman's violent behavior are circulated widely in Saudi Arabia. Young recalled an incident when Salman slapped a servant across the face. Salman's huge diamond ring flew off as people scurried to find it; the servant he slapped found it and swallowed it. Young said, "We laughed and said nothing, we thought the servant deserved the ring for his slap."
The Gulf Institute has previously reported that King Salman killed his son Abdullah, who was born to a black slave girl child after a casual encounter with Salman. Salman killed Abdullah because he was black, according to a nephew of the King. The mother was among the hundreds of slaves at Saudi palaces who provided many services... Slavery was not abolished in Saudi Arabia until 1962 by King Saud. The Saudi government enforces an official policy of discrimination against blacks and bars them from senior government jobs including judges, diplomats, ministers and other posts.
In a related incident, King Salman's only daughter Hassa assaulted a French designer in Paris in 2016 and threatened to kill him, the British daily Independent reported. Wednesday, a French judge issued an arrest warrant against Hessa's for the incident, according to France Press Agency, AFP.
Where is Sara?
Despite the much-celebrated reforms on women rights, MBS' wife Sara is not expected to join him in Washington, and has not been seen in any of his foreign travels. There are no public photos of her, unlike some other female members of the ruling family who travel abroad to promote MBS' image as a reformer. As of yet, no Saudi leader has brought any of his wives along on official visits.
Reema bint Bandar, the daughter of MBS' first cousin, has been making rounds to talk up the Crown Prince's efforts toward women advancement in tightly controlled, Saudi-friendly venues. She has appeared in Saudi-funded Middle East Institute, the Atlantic Council and Middle East Policy Council, and is set to return with MBS for another round of the charm offensive.
Khalid said MBS has three wives or concubines in addition to Sara. These concubines' are not from the ruling family, he said. MBS has previously told Bloomberg he is married to one wife only.
MBS Detains his Mother
MBS' domestic violence has not been limited to his wife. Months after rumors circulated in the country that MBS is detaining his mother Fahda, American NBC News confirmed it this week. Young who worked with Fahda was among others who told the Gulf Institute of the mother's detention few weeks ago. Young who worked for Fahda said that she is fond of using black magic and sought the services of many African sorcerers, he said. "Fahda, used African Black Magic devotees to place spells on deposed crown prince Mohamed bin Naif and others," Young said.
The Gulf Institute has asked the Kingdom's embassy and offices in Washington to comment on the issue of domestic violence in the ruling family, without success.
Faisal bin Farhan, senior advisor to Saudi ambassador Khaled bin Salman, younger brother of MBS, refused to comment on the issue. Farhan is a member of a distant branch of the Saudi ruling family.
Ali Shihabi, the Palestinian-Saudi founder of the Saudi-Royal-Court-funded Arabia Foundation in Washington, also declined to comment despite several attempts to reach him by phone and email.
The White House's Position
President Donald Trump, whose senior aide Rob Porter resigned over reports of domestic violence against his two ex-wives, has given strong statements in support of the victims.
"I am totally opposed to domestic violence and everybody here knows that," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that, and it almost wouldn't even have to be said."
It remains to be seen whether Trump will raise the issue during bin Salman's upcoming visit to Washington.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in February, "Above all, the president supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process."
The Gulf Institute has asked the State Department press Representative Pooja Jhunjhunwala whether Secretary Rex Tillerson plans to raise the issue of domestic violence with Saudi officials. She said, "We aren't going to get into specifics of those diplomatic conversations or future diplomatic conversations."
A longtime companion of the ruling family known as TA has told the Gulf Institute on condition of anonymity that he remembers Mohamed bin Salman as an aggressive and obese five-year old in 1990.
TA said he was once with a group of Saudi princes, including King Salman, then governor of Riyadh, and other members of the ruling family who were playing cards at Faisal bin Fahd's house in Riyadh in Alnaserya district. He recalled MBS showing up, running around and assaulting those present without notice. "I thought he had a mental condition," he said.