Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): After almost one month of absence, the Bahraini Crown Prince presided over the Cabinet session on Monday (June 14, 2021).
This long absence was not only from the Cabinet session. The man has totally disappeared since May 14, 2021 and appeared on June 10.
His "last appearance" was in a surprising and unannounced visit to the United Kingdom during which he met the Commander of the Royal British Navy. His departure to the UK was not announced and no one knows when he returned to Bahrain. The crown prince said via his English Twitter account that the meeting was attended by the Bahraini ambassador in London Fawaz bin Mohammed. This piece of news wasn't published in the Arabic account. The meeting place (Portsmouth, England) was not mentioned as well.
Afterwards, Salman bin Hamad completely disappeared for 10 days, even from the media. His account stopped publishing anything and no one knew where he was.
His account resumed publishing news about him on May 24, with his continued disappearance. Only a written response to the king's statement (May 26) which praised him was shown. The crown prince's appearance was limited to condolences and congratulatory correspondences.
The crown price returned to the scene on June 10. The way he appeared raised doubts. He showed up for the first time with his father while both were wearing masks (unlike usual, they don't wear masks in individual meetings) and in the open air. For the king, it was the first meeting he held outside the palace's halls since March. The photos of the meeting showed a fan behind the king and only showed the side of the crown prince's face.
It was like a small royal family meeting in which only Salman's brother and son attended. Has the Crown Prince been absent from his father all this time? Were these the last tight precautions after he finished the "quarantine" period? Has the Crown Prince contracted the coronavirus?
It is known that the Crown Prince participated in the clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine (Sinopharm), but we have not heard whether he received the activation dose (despite his eligibility due to his age, 51).
The Bahraini royal family usually keeps the health condition of its senior members secret, perhaps out of fear of unrest and possibly out of fear of people gloating.
Who Removed the Crown Prince's Photo?
The strangest thing that happened during the absence of the Crown Prince was an official decision by the Royal Court to remove his photos from ministries and official departments and to only hang the King's photo (which goes against protocols that have been in place for decades). The crown prince's photo was removed from the offices of ministers and officials. On May 31st cabinet session under the presidency of Mohammad bin Mobarak, offices of ministers were clear of the crown prince's photos. Only the king's photo was hung on their walls.
It has been more than two weeks since the CP disappearance. Salman bin Hamad was absent during the most critical period Bahrain has witnessed, when Coronavirus casualties reached 28 in one day and cases surpassed 3,000.
On the political level, we can consider that Bahrain has lived a month-long government vacuum. Three meetings for the Government and the Coordinating Committee were convened with zero resolutions. The decision-maker is absent without any explanation, and his photos (which had appeared behind them all) were suddenly removed.
Even the dangerous closure decisions were taken late. For the first time, the (administrative and political) decision was issued by a (medical) team rather than the coordinating committee or government.
However, the economic support package was impossible to be issued before the crown prince's reappearance, even if it was a month late and regardless of its implications (dismissal of Bahraini employees, closure of shops, etc.).
The Crown Prince's Return
The crown price will not return before his photos get hung on the walls. He will not look through his screen to see the ministers' offices free of his photos after 20 years of hard work to reach this post. If the crown prince's court succumbs, ministers will rehang his photos in their offices.
Was the CP absent due to anger or sickness, or both?
His return will perhaps start just as the return of passengers or the quarantined starts with visiting family. Maybe his father got reassured of his health and maybe he reassured him of his empty place. The crown prince's face and seat shows that he doesn't look well. However, he needs to regain his father's trust. The court minister missed the return meeting. The king, once again, praised his son's leadership of the Coronavirus file, including the latest measures, although they were of no use.
The CP will return, supported by the king. In a meeting similar to the follow-up meeting, the CP will meet his MPs, Mohammad bin Mobarak and Khalid bin Abdullah, the Interior Minister, Finance Minister and Nasser bin Hamad. This will be followed by a remote meeting including the medical team and a statement.
Why did the CP speak about India Mutated Virus?
In the first crown prince's speech we will hear him speaking about a medical detail, the Indian Mutated (Delta) and its extreme danger (which did not prevent the country from being a quarantine for travelers from India and Bangladesh for months), but why? Was he infected with the Delta strain virus?
The Crown Prince came back too late. The Coronavirus situation deteriorated and the state failed to prevent it from turning out to be a disaster, and he was the first to be held responsible. An unexplained absence is unjustified. Nonetheless, no one in Bahrain wishes harm to the CP, not only because the people of Bahrain are known for their kindness, but because they believe that no matter what he does, he remains the only political hope for this country.