Saudi Arabian heir tightens his grip on power

Calvin Saunders
November 6, 2017

Other names listed were of businessmen, including Bakr bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Binladin Group, Alwaleed Al Ibrahim, owner of television network MBC, and Khalid Al Mulheim, former director general at Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Prince Alwaleed's arrest is likely to reverberate across dozens of companies around the world that count the investment company that he founded, Kingdom Holding Company, as a major investor or shareholder.

He was among 11princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, two senior officials said.

Meanwhile, the kingdom's top council of clerics issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption - essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests being reported.

Al-Arabiya said that the anti-corruption committee had the right to investigate, arrest, ban from travel or freeze the assets of anyone it deemed corrupt.

Saudi nationals have long complained of rampant corruption in government and of public funds being squandered or misused by people in power. The airport for private planes was closed, arousing speculation that the crown prince was seeking to block rich businessmen from fleeing before more arrests. It's part of a larger effort to diversify the economy away from dependence on oil revenue. Prince Miteb, who was one of of the few powerful princes from outside King Salman's branch of the royal family, had been critical of the king's decision to appoint Prince Mohammed as his successor.

Prince Miteb was once considered a contender for the throne.

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The arrests appeared to be Crown Prince Mohammed's latest step to make good on his ambitious modernization plans and to further consolidate the remarkable degree of power he has amassed at age 32 over military, foreign, economic and social policies.

To analysts, Prince Mohammed's meteoric rise has seemed nearly Shakespearean in its aggression and calculation.

This comes in the light of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being named as the head of a new anti-corruption committee, which is conducting probes into the disastrous floods of 2009 that wreaked havoc in Jeddah.

The Saudi monarch relieved Minister of Economy and Planning Adel bin Mohammed Faqih and replaced him by Mohammed bin Mazid Al-Tuweijari.

The news channel Al-Ekhbariya announced the death of Prince Mansour bin Moqren, the deputy governor of Asir province.

Admiral Abdullah Al-Sultan: The former commander of Saudi Naval Forces was sacked and replaced with Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghifaili.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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