Sweeping Saudi purge exposes broad opposition to Crown Prince’s policies
By purging the most powerful princes in the realm, Crown Prince Muhammad lays bets on his survival and that of his ambitious reform program and policies.
All in one day, Saturday, Nov. 4, the Middle East underwent a rapid series of game-changing events. Sunni politician Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanese Prime Minister and fled to Riyadh, in the wake of an Iranian-Hizballah assassination plot And before the vibes from that event died down across the region, Saudi strongman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Sultan, conducted a wholesale purge, sweeping hundreds of princes, former ministers and generals out of jobs and into jail, up to the highest-ranking military, financial and political opponents of his policies. The former king’s son Prince Mitab bin Abdullah, was removed from the National Guard, which is responsible for safeguarding the throne and the oil fields, and the multibillion Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, investor in such global giants as Citigroup, 21st Century Fox, Apple and Twitter, was thrown into jail.
That night, the sky over Riyadh suddenly lit up when US Patriot missiles intercepted an Iranian-supplied Burkan- 2H ballistic missile, with a range of 1000km, that was fired by Yemeni Houthi rebels at the King Khaled International Airport of Riyadh from northern Yemen.
It was a timely reminder of the war in which Prince Muhammad has embroiled Saudi Arabia against Iran-backed Yemeni insurgents, of the wider, albeit covert, conflict waged against Iran and the quarrel with Qatar.
Riding over them all is the dynamic, fast-moving, youthful at 32 figure of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad, whose father King Salman has given him free rein to haul the hidebound oil kingdom into modern times.
On Oct. 25, the Crown Prince said: “We are in the G20 and one of the biggest economies in the world. Making Saudi Arabia a good place will contribute to change in the region and the world – and that is what we are doing now.” Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, he also vowed to immediately destroy “extremist ideologies” and return to “a more moderate Islam. We want to lead normal lives, lives where our religion and our traditions translate into tolerance, so that we coexist with the world and become part of the development of the world,” he said.
Prince Muhammad is confident that 70 percent of young Saudis under 30 are behind him. He promised them not to waste another 30 years fighting extremist ideologies.
At the same time, DEBKAfile’s Saudi experts warn that the scale of his lightening purge points to spreading resistance within the royal house and ruling cirlces to his methods and ideas. Interestingly, the forward looking prince has chosen one of the oldest and most effective ways of suppressing dissent: sack and throw the dissenters into jail, that is, until they come around to his vision or rebuilding the economy on contemporary technological and financial lines, creating the NEOM Red Sea megacity and free trade zone and social reforms.
The purge of many hundreds of officials was official designated an anti-corruption drive. Prince Miteb was replaced as National Guard minister by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf; Economy and Planning Minister Adel Fakeih was ousted and replaced by Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri; and the Commander of the Navy, Adm. Abdullah Al-Sultan, was relieved of his position and replaced by Fahad Al-Ghofaili, who was promoted to the rank of Admiral.
King Salman also ordered the formation of a new anti-corruption committee headed by… Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It may sound strange to Western ears, but the argument over the succession is possibly the foremost subject of dissent within the royal house.
When King Salman abdicates – which could be in a matter of months – he will pass the scepter to Crown Prince Mohammed. However, before ascending the throne, Muhammad insists on appointing his successor to safeguard the Saudi kingdom’s stable continuity. This is a major bone of contention between him and the hundreds of royal princes who hold positions of power. They judge it to be a measure for assuring young Prince Muhammad of unlimited power.
One of the leading dissenters is Prince Miteb and another Prince Al Waleed, both of whom are currently behind bars. It is most likely, therefore, that the opposition to the Crown Prince and his policies will intensify rather than abate. His reform and economic policies are still mostly on paper and the Yemen war has reached a standoff against Iran and Qatar, with no solution in sight. In this fragile and volatile situation, Prince Muhammad’s life and plans have never been in greater danger.
25 thoughts on “Sweeping Saudi purge exposes broad opposition to Crown Prince’s policies”
” DRAINING THE SWAMP ” …………’a la middle eastern Saudi-style. Congratulations
and hats off to C-P Muhammad bin Sultan.
Your so right Al
Draining the swamp? Or replacing the others guys swamp with your swamp? I hope you are correct.
The arrested were enemies of Trump who supported ISIS and Hillary, owned half the Mandalay Hotel in Vegas, and likely committee 911. Rekr Bin Laden was arrested as well (brother of Osama). Debka is doing itself a disservice by being on their side so openly and implying they want to see a jail break and reversal of all this.
Trump should approve of asset freezes asked for my the Saudi government in the coming week.
I read this article and see none of what you say. DEBKA is simply reporting the state of affairs in Saudi Arabia- nowhere in the article does it imply what should happen. It quite correctly states that it is a very intense time in Saudi Arabia due to trying to reform especially in an accelerated way. (in Saudi Arabias view)
I agree…weird that the Crown Prince seems to have leap-frogged Sisi in reform…
I have long held that this is the correct way to deal with embedded corruption ( and in this case, “corruption” means terrorism and the financing thereof as well)
Hopefully the we continue to see more action, and I wish Trump & lazy Sessions would catch a hint here!
Our western disease is believing that middle eastern sunnis and shiites and in this case extremist Wallaby sunni moslems are capable of reform. Until now its all talk to manipulate the nieve western mentality. westerners still don’t accept that the Koran deems it a Holy commandment to trick westerner infidels by signing agreements they never planned or dreamed to fulfill. and the west also (including our israeli govt too) has become so corrupt that we also fake “as if” we are loyal to noble ideologies. We are in a time in which we can only examine behavior and not words or appearances. and for sure iran, hizbollah and N korea must be stopped and anticipated–blown out of the controversy before it starts! yet we cannot believe any saudi until its backed by consistent action!and we must reform the corrupt criminl israeli social welfare system and injustice system and all of our corrupt politicians at home NOW!
There is a possibility of reform. Dubai is an example and this C-P is going full thrust. He may succeed or may not..Time will tell but I believe he is in the right track; especially when he silence the religious establishment and took their power. His issue now is Iran and the war in Yemen. Either destroy Sa’ada or get out and let Yemen has a civil war.
If Saudi and the UAE, etc., really wanted to demonstrate positive change then they would not be openly antisemitic ( like insulting Israeli wrestlers by disrespecting them, their Jewish State & their anthem).
I congratulate you for your hatred comments against the 20% of the world’s population. I know it is your time now. However, it is only for less than ten years. Watch on it!!
I think the mods should remove Carroll…his comments are NSFW and not constructive
you are alone Carrol…you are a depressing person
you have an unhealthy preoccupation with zoophilia
nothing honestly could be further from my mind – you should get yourself checked out because it’s a grave aveirah
It’s good to know that the friends of Israel are becoming more moderated… Jailing everyone who disagrees is a good start. What can go wrong?
He jailed extremist/terrorism supporters (Which is why Trump publicly praised the operation), but they are trying to keep that on the down-low to save face a bit.
the Saudi arabia get s instable and The Crown Prince is going to eradicate own family.
The US/Israel call it reform course, moderation, ….
We Iranian love this reforms
This comment is to Debka. Your comment rules are clear. I think they are being transgressed. Enough said. You can read.
Sam Popack the new lubavitch Meshiach will solve the middle east problems.
Did he take over from Menachem Mendel?
Maybe Israel must consider to make similar changes to it’s criminal and corrupt goverment, and avoid to gain the hate of all the world
Weird , being arrested in Saudi A is going to a 5 star hotel.
the terror, this move strikes into the hearts of militants, when the princes get put in a 5 star hotel.
Hopefully Saudi Arabia are the good Children of Avraham that repent in the end of days and accept the Seven Noahide laws. Israel and Yishmael should be able to join forces and learn to respect each other. They should also team up to help the Kurdish people and demonstrate their love for humanity. Saudi Arabia and Israel and the Kurdish people should knock out the evil Iranian Nazi Regime before they murder more innocent people and before Iran receives increased support from Europe, Russia, and their democrats like clinton, john kkkerry and obamanation out of a job Iranian Nazi lovers. The evil Iranian regime does not represent the Iranian peole who used to have good relationships with Israel but the current Iranian regime must be wiped out of power before they cause untold destruction. Avraham our Forefather prayed that Yishmael’s descendents such as perhaps Saudi Arabia should live and if they start being good to Israel then G-d will bless them in return. May we see the true embodiment of evil the ayatollah Nazis that want to wipe Israel off the map themselves wiped off the map
The 5-Star hotel thing is such a Western media distraction. So what? The detainees are inside a heavily protected compound, sleeping on mattresses on the floors of ballrooms. By KSA royal standards they are treated as criminals, but they are not treated as dogs.
The arrest and containment method are employed as a certain, specific message to the remaining cousins of the Crown Prince and his Father in KSA.
Looks like the side effect is actual justice finally being brought to many of the 911 financiers and organizers.
George W. Shrub will be publicly critical.
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