Saudi Arabia’s leadership has pulled off its boldest move yet to consolidate power around its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country’s richest men and scores of former ministers in what it billed as a corruption purge.
The move sidelined at least 20 senior figures, among them outspoken billionaire, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, sending shockwaves through the ranks of the kingdom’s elites, who had long viewed senior royals as immune. The scale and targets of Saturday’s purge – ordered by royal decree from King Salman – dwarfed anything seen in Riyadh in recent years, deliberately targeting figures deemed previously to be untouchables.
Figures close to the crown prince said the move aimed to reshape public behaviour in a kingdom where patronage networks often determine business deals and prominent families secure substantial cuts from lucrative contracts. However, others in the Saudi capital described the move as a naked attempt to weed out dissent, and political rivals, as the ambitious heir to the throne continues to stamp his authority across most aspects of public life in Saudi Arabia. The move strengthens Prince Mohammed’s control of the kingdom’s security institutions, which had long been headed by separate powerful branches of the ruling family.
Nearly six months into his tenure as crown prince, which will eventually see him succeed his father as monarch, Prince Mohammed has launched a dizzying series of reforms designed to transform the kingdom’s moribund economy and put the relationship between the state and its citizens on a new footing…
Read more : The Guardian, 5.11.2017