Saudi Prince Grabs Power in the Midst of Corruption

Imagine waking up to find that Warren Buffett, along with the heads of NBC, CBS and ABC had all been arrested overnight.

The people of Saudi Arabia awoke to a similar reality over the weekend, after the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman commissioned a purge of arrests of their own royal family. The New Yorker reported that among those arrested were eleven senior princes, dozens of current or former government ministers, the head of the National Guard, the owners of three major television stations and one of the wealthiest men in the world.  

In what seems to be a power grab by the father-son partnership, they have begun to limit all opposition to their current reign. The 81 year-old king has positioned his favored son, Mohammed bin Salman to take his place following his passing.

In September, the country ended its ban on women driving, and the Crown Prince announced that Saudi Arabia must reform and modernize if it is to be considered a successful 21st century nation. However, corruption runs rampant throughout the country. The world’s richest oil-producing nation has been accused of distributing the nation’s wealth within its own royal family through bribes, sweeteners and lavish kickbacks rather than to its own citizens. 

The people of Saudi Arabia welcomed the arrests last weekend. They feel as though now that many of the country’s rich and famous have been imprisoned, more of the country’s wealth will be distributed to the general population.

President Trump also praised these actions last Saturday in a phone call with King Salman. “President Trump noted that the king and crown prince’s recent public statements regarding the need to build a moderate, peaceful, and tolerant region are essential to ensuring a hopeful future for the Saudi people, to curtailing terrorist funding, and to defeating radical ideology – once and for all – so the world can be safe from its evil,” the White House said in a statement.

President Trump continued on this path approval in a series of tweets released Monday. “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing,” the President tweeted, “Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years!”

Members of the upper class have been left with an uneasy feeling, as Saudi Arabia’s attorney general has come forward to announce that “phase one” has been completed, implying that there are more arrests to come. As of this weekend, the sprawling remains of the Saudi royal family have been barred from leaving the country.