On November 4, the Saudi ‘royal guards’ rounded up 11 princes and 38 former ‘royal ministers’ and businessmen in a bid to remove any resistance to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s accession to the throne expected in the near future. All princes are detained in 5-star hotels.
“The dismissals and detentions suggest that Prince Mohammed rather than forging alliances is extending his iron grip to the ruling family, the military, and the national guard to counter what appears to be more widespread opposition within the family as well as the military to his reforms and the Yemen war,” says Gerald Michael Feierstein (Jew), senior director at US-based Middle East Institute, an Israel advocacy group, and former US ambassador to Yemen.
One of the detained princes include billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a former business partner of Donald Trump. Currently he is a business partner of Jewish media Mughal Rupert Murdoch. He is a fan of Michael Jackson and spends his vacations in UK, Monte Carlo and Maldives.
In 2015, prince Alwaleed slammed Trump over his proposed ban on Muslim visitors to United States – reminding Trump how he bailed him out twice in the past. Prince bought Trump’s yacht and a stake in New York’s Plaza Hotel in the 1990s.
“My spat came with Trump when he attacked my religion – Islam. Now he is taking a conciliatory note and wants to be more inclusive, so that’s welcomed by me, the Arab and Islamic world,” Alwaleed tweeted (listen to an interview with Alwaleed below).
Prince Alwaleed is the owner of Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Company and is considered US$19 billion worth.
The other major Saudi business hit by Prince Muhammad was Riyadh-based Saudi Oger Construction Co. owned by Lebanese prime minister Sa’ad Hariri who resigned last week and currently living in exile in Abu Dhabi.
The US-Israel have been expressing their displeasure with the cohabitation that Hariri and other West-leaning parties in Lebanon have accepted with Hizbullah and its ally President Michel Aoun. They fear this gives Hizbullah political cover that only serves anti-Israel interests.
Yosi Melman, Israel’s prize wining journalist at the Jerusalem Post claimed on November 6 that Hariri’s resignation and Saudi-Iran tension had created a new political turmoil in Lebanon which is good for Israel as it would stop Hizbullag attacking Israel in the near future.