In Saudi Arabia, created yesterday by decree of king Salman, the Committee on anti-corruption instantly started to work: on Sunday night on charges of corruption arrested 11 members of the Royal family, four of the existing 34 Minister and former Minister.

The most important of those arrested – the “Arab Warren Buffett”, the 62-year-old billionaire, a nephew of king Salman, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal. His condition in the spring of 2016 Forbes estimated at $ 17 billion. He owns the conglomerate Kingdom Holding Company, which invests in many American companies in the technology sector and hotel business, is the largest individual owner of the shares of American investment Corporation Citigroup, one of the largest shareholders of the Corporation 21st Century Fox invested money into Apple, Twitter.

The detainee Prince al-Waleed bin Talal at a meeting with British Prince Charles (photo – EPA)

Of the big businessmen were also arrested: Saleh Kamel sons – he owns a conglomerate Dallah Al-Baraka, its condition Forbes in 2016 is estimated at $ 2 billion; billionaire and head of the Middle East Broadcasting Company, which includes channel Al-Arabiya, al – Waleed al-Ibrahim, brother of terrorist Osama bin Laden, a major shareholder of the Saudi Binladin Group Bakr bin Laden.

From current officials and military officers detained the President of the Royal court Khaled Al-Tuwaijiri, Deputy Minister of defense Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, commander of the Navy of Saudi Arabia Vice-Admiral Abdullah Al-Sultan, head of Saudi Telecom company Saud Al-Dawish. In addition, the detained members of the Royal family, who previously headed the National guard, Ministry of Finance, the Agency of investments.

The arrested billionaire Saleh Kamel (photo – EPA)

Heads the anti-corruption Committee, who ordered the arrest, 32-year-old crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who served as Minister of defence in 2015. His ascension to the throne is expected in the next year. The crown Prince, he was only in June of this year by decision of his father, king Salman, who stopped the tradition of referring to the Saudi throne from brother to brother among the sons of the founding king of Saudi Arabia Ibn Saud, who ruled in the years 1932-1953. Thus, the succession became more usual form of transmission of the throne from father to son, which could not fail to cause dissatisfaction among some of the many descendants of Ibn Saud, because the only sons he was 45, and grandchildren – a few hundred.

Mohammed bin Salman has excelled ambitious reform plans. “We want to go back to moderate Islam,” he said recently, alluding to the easing of the ultra-conservative orders in the Kingdom. Although it is doubtful that we will talk about a democratisation of the regime, made a small concession in respect of human rights – for example, women were allowed to drive cars and go to the stadium. The crown Prince, despite the difficulties of the Kingdom, caused by the fall in oil prices, proposed construction of over $ 500 billion futuristic city of NEOM on the shore of the red sea, at the borders of Jordan and Egypt. It must be a great city of business, where even the laws of the Sharia will not work.

In Saudi foreign policy Mohamed bin Salman is a real hawk. In favour of continued confrontation with Iran and it supports groups in the region. It was initiated in March 2015, the war with the Pro-Iranian Houthi rebels in Yemen, who control the Northern part of this country and regularly shelling of Saudi territory, including yesterday tried to launch a missile attack on the airport in Riyadh. Also Mohammed bin Salman was the initiator of the blockade of Qatar, which began in June, allegedly due to Qatari support for terrorist groups, but actually because of the challenge to the leadership of Saudi Arabia in the region and improving relations of the Emirate with Iran.

Mohammed bin Salman everywhere in the international arena have already met as the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia (photo – EPA)

In comments Ukrainian experts on the Middle East noted that the recent arrests demonstrate the commitment of the Mohammed bin Salman consolidate power and strike at the influential members of the Royal family and officials opposed to his foreign policy:

Alexander Mishin, Arabist, candidate of polit. MD:

The consolidation of power around Prince Mohammed bin Salman, before he becomes king. Since Saudi Arabia is close to despotism, strong opposition can only be among members of the ruling house of Saud, and there are arrests dissatisfied.

The so-called anti-corruption campaign shows the growing differences in the relations with the United States, including the Qatari issue. Even despite the fact that trump made his first visit to Saudi Arabia this spring, the conflict with Qatar Washington acts as a mediator and wants the two sides were reconciled. Trump stressed the need to interact and build a coalition against Iran in the region. The princes, who were arrested in the night, they just played for the easing of confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

In addition, the arrested Prince bin Talal, the Arab “Warren Buffett” has close relationships with American elites, including trump and big business interests in the United States. Next year should happen IPO – initial public offering of shares of the Saudi state oil company Aramco and the Americans really want that to happen on the new York stock exchange. One of the lobbyists of this initiative supports bin Talal.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to strengthen the position of Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab world. Now around the Saudis have collected a block of Arab States, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which are closely associated with Riyadh. When his power you can expect only increasing confrontation with Qatar, Saudi Arabia will deepen with the Iranians fighting for control of Yemen, it is never leaving because the Saudis want control over the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait.

Convert Mohammed bin Salman can cause dissatisfaction not only among the members of the Royal family, but also religious leaders – Ulema, which has an important role in the political life of the country. However, in a coup against him, I do not believe the crown Prince in full control of the security forces, and yesterday took a step towards control over the economy of the country.

Elias Kusa, an expert on the Middle East

Occurred in Saudi Arabia arrests – the result of the struggle between the entourage of crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the old conservative guard of princes, businessmen and officials, which includes those arrested. Prince Mohammed is trying to protect themselves from possible coups, not to be removed and get rid of the ones who can stop him or block to implement planned reforms. He has very ambitious plans to cut dependence on oil, to move from Wahhabism to moderate Islam. The throne sees that the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia hinders, spoils its image on the world stage and wants to change foreign policy, for which the country is suffering losses. And here, too, against him there is a strong opposition.

Many of those arrested in Saudi Arabia don’t like the idea of a blockade of Qatar was the idea of Mohammed bin Salman. He’s a hawk, but wants to reduce the influence in Syria, his supporters accept that Bashar Assad will remain in charge of Syria, and thinking about how to get out of there without any losses. Again there are many who disagree with this course in relation to Syria.

Moreover, the status of detainees billionaires long been of interest to authorities. Rumors that Mohammed bin Salman wants to divide the state of Prince Talal, I go for two years. The division of property billionaires will occur as a result of their arrest. It is inevitable. And will also be a redistribution of political influence in the country.

These arrests – as a preemptive strike against a possible coup attempt. Given the fact that Saudi Arabia is too conservative, not ready for the 30-year old generation of politicians who go along with the crown Prince to run the country, attempts of coups still possible. If Mohammed bin Salman does become king, it will be a new era for the country in terms of economic development and a new stage of confrontation with Iran.

See also: a Stranger among us: why the Arab countries to isolate Qatar

Big cleaning in Saudi Arabia: why arrest of the princes 05.11.2017

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