Sarawak Report knows nuts about Saudi Arabian politics

So do not try to read too much into the arrests in Saudi Arabia. It is NOT about corruption or about 1MDB. It is just like in the case of Malaysia where Mahathir is trying to oust Najib so that Mukhriz can become Prime Minister. And that is why HRH King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or rather Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is rounding up those people.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Today, Sarawak Report posted an article suggesting that events in Saudi Arabia are linked to 1MDB. That is utter hogwash and Sarawak Report is trying to con Malaysians. The truth is a power struggle is going on in Saudi Arabia and they are using ‘corruption’ and ‘cleaning up the Kingdom’ as the excuse to get rid of rivals or potential rivals to the throne.

This is just like in Malaysia where Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is trying to install his son as Prime Minister and is using ‘Save Malaysia’ plus the 1MDB issue as the excuse to oust Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. This is not about saving Malaysia or about cleaning up the country but about making Mukhriz the Prime Minister.

Malaysia has its New Economic Policy or NEP. So, to do business in Malaysia, you need to find Bumiputera partners and give them 30% or 51% or 70% of the shares of the company (or of the sub-contract) depending on what type of business you are in — whether you want permits or APs, whether you want to sell something to the Malaysian government, whether you want a government contract or project, and so on. In fact, for some businesses it has to be 100% Bumiputera.

Saudi Arabia also has its NEP of sorts. To do business in Saudi Arabia or to sell something to the government or to get a government contract you also need to look for a local Saudi with big cables who can pull strings and help you navigate your way. And the fact that Saudi Arabia is a Kingdom it is best you look for one of the Royal Family members or a member of the Saudi elite.

The Saudi Royal Family is huge. The family is estimated to comprise 15,000 members. However, the majority of the power and wealth is controlled by about only 2,000 royals. With so many wives, whose only job is to breed like rabbits, a dozen or more children per family (or even sometimes per wife) is not unusual. And you end up with dozens of half-brothers who most likely you hate. So how do these 2,000 or 15,000 Saudi royals survive when they do not want to demean themselves by working and yet still want to enjoy life as millionaires?

They become Ali Baba fronts, of course. They become the local ‘Bumiputera’ partners of whoever wants to do business in Saudi Arabia and will earn huge salaries, fees and commissions for doing nothing other than lending their names and setting up appointments for their partners to meet ‘the right people’. So it is not corruption. It is a state endorsed NEP to take care of the financial needs of this huge Saudi elite. If not they would get upset and might want to topple the King and take over the throne. If you keep the royals and the elite happy they will not disturb you and will leave you alone while they enjoy their money.


It is just like in Malaysia. If you allow the Umno warlords to make money (like in the case of Shafie Apdal) then they will support you and will not try to oust you. But then if they still try to oust you after making billions, you get them for corruption (like in the case of Shafie Apdal who after makan so much turned on the same party that he made money from).

So, no, events in Saudi Arabia is about a power struggle and not about 1MDB. And power struggles have been going on since the Kingdom was founded in 1932. In the past such power struggles and people getting their heads chopped off was unknown — not only outside the Kingdom but within the Kingdom as well — because of the media blackout. Today, in the age of the media revolution, it is hard to keep secrets in places such as Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

So do not try to read too much into the arrests in Saudi Arabia. It is NOT about corruption or about 1MDB. It is just like in the case of Malaysia where Mahathir is trying to oust Najib so that Mukhriz can become Prime Minister. And that is why HRH King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or rather Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is rounding up those people.


A Saudi Palace Coup

Salman’s state of health is cause for concern, which is why the power he has given his son is more significant than other appointments announced. Aged 79, Salman is known to have Alzheimers, but the exact state of his dementia is a source of speculation. He is known to have held cogent conversations as recently as last October. But he can also forget what he said minutes ago, or faces he has known all his life, according to other witnesses.

Even before the Sudairis made their move, a power struggle within the House of Saud was apparent. Early on Thursday evening, rumors on Twitter that the king was dead flooded the Internet, which is the primary source of political information in the kingdom. There were official denials, when a Saudi journalist on al Watan newspaper tweeted the information.


Power struggle may arise in Saudi Arabia after Mohammad bin Salman’s promotion

The elevation of Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to crown prince, a position that places the 31 year old next in line to the throne, could be met with resistance at home.

Announced by a royal decree published by state news agency SPA on Wednesday, bin Salman’s promotion comes at the expense of 57 year-old crown prince and interior minister Muhammad bin Nayef, who has been relieved of all positions, SPA said.

A potentially violent power struggle in the future cannot be ruled out as it’s not clear whether bin Nayef will go quietly, Peter Sluglett, visiting research professor at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore, told CNBC on Wednesday.


Alwaleed Bin Talal’s arrest seen as part of a Saudi Arabian power struggle

Saudi authorities detained a billionaire global investor and the head of the National Guard as part of an anti-corruption purge that consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s hold on power.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, two senior Saudi officials told Reuters on Sunday. Analysts said the goal of the purge went beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda.

An economist at a big Gulf bank, who declined to be named because of political sensitivities, said nobody in Saudi Arabia believed corruption was at the root of the purge. “It’s about consolidating power and frustration that reforms haven’t been happening fast enough,” the economist said.


There may be a ‘Game of Thrones’ in Saudi Arabia now and that has big implications for oil

The so-called corruption crackdown in Saudi Arabia over the weekend may be the beginning of a bigger power struggle by the heir apparent to the throne which destabilizes the region for a time and keeps oil prices elevated.

Following the creation of an anti-corruption committee by current King Salman, security forces Saturday swept up 11 princes, including well-known billionaire invest Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and four ministers, including the one in charge of the National Guard, according to various reports. A number of former ministers were also arrested.

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman — the 32-year-old known as “MBS” who will take over when King Salman, 81, abdicates the throne later this year or early next — is seen by analysts as the man behind those moves in an effort to consolidate power to his family and its allies before he takes the throne.


Source: Malaysia Today



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