Crown prince Muhammed bin Salman awaits his ascension to head the kingdom, purging elements he wants out of the way in advance, consolidating power by eliminating potential rivals, why arrests of princes and ministers were made over the weekend on corruption charges.
The regime is notoriously ruthless and corrupt, terrorizing its own people, financing ISIS, al-Qaeda, its al-Nusra offshoot and other regional terrorist groups.
Here’s a partial list of Saudi princes, ministers and others arrested, reportedly around four dozen in total:
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, billionaire businessman;
Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, former head of Saudi Arabian National Guard, one of the kingdom’s most powerful figures;
Adel Fakeih, former Economy and Planning Minister;
Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh Province;
Khaled al-Tuwaijri, former royal court;
Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, King Fahd’s brother-in-law, Middle East Broadcasting Company chairman;
Amr Al-Dabbagh, Al-Dabbagh Group CEO;
Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, former finance minister;
Khalid Abdullah Almolhem, former Saudi Arabian Airlines head;
Saleh Abdullah Kamel, billionaire businessman owner of Arab Radio and Television Network, founder of the Dallah al Baraka Group;
Bakr bin Laden, Saudi Binladin Group chairman;
Prince Turki bin Nasser Al Saud, former presidency of meteorology and environment;
Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, Royal Saudi Navy Commander;
Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud, former deputy defense minister;
Mohammad al-Tobaishi, former protocol at the Royal Court head;
Saoud al-Daweesh, former Saudi Telecom CEO; and
Nasser Al-Tayyar, Al Tayyar Travel Group board member.
It’s not the first or last Saudi purge. Western countries do these things one way, monarchal dictatorships another.
Kingdom corruption is deep-seated. Eliminating it would require arresting and imprisoning most everyone of prominence. The same goes for other despotic regimes.
Targeted Saudi’s are luxuriously confined at Riyadh’s Ritz Carleton hotel, not exactly maximum security Sing Sing or Guantanamo.
According to reports, they’re well fed and cared for, dining on “squid ink, mixed pan-seared seafood, Ossobuco alla Milanese, saffron risotto, and pecorino foam” – while able to enjoy luxury hotel amenities, far different from how prison inmates are treated.
In a family-owned nation, the lines between state assets and personal wealth of princes and top officials are blurred, deep-seated corruption acknowledged and accepted – except when consolidation of power is in play.
After news of the purge was announced Sunday, Trump called King Salman, praising him and crown prince Muhammed bin Salman for their “drive to modernize the kingdom” without mentioning the arrests.
The White House was silent on whether he endorsed the purge. Saudi reform is a non-starter.
The kingdom remains the Arab world’s most ruthlessly dangerous and corrupt regime – including waging genocidal war on Yemen and involvement in wanting Assad toppled.
Inciting potential conflict with Iran is a high-risk strategy, a hugely dangerous foolhardy one.
Reprinted with permission from Stephen Lendman.