Now here’s a Curajus State for you

In a style of government which is unique to the kingdom, the decision to carry out this purge appears to have preceded the announcement of the committee formed to make these arrests. This is how the young prince acts, a man who some Middle East experts persist in referring to as a Western-style reformer. He acts with total disregard to habeas corpus, due process and the rule of law. In his eyes, those arrested are guilty before they are proven guilty.

This committee is McCarthyite in its powers and scope. The first thing to note in the decree which set it up, is that it puts itself above and beyond the law. The decree states that the committee (which bin Salman chairs) is “exempt from laws, regulations, instructions, orders and decisions while the committee shall perform the following tasks: … the investigation issuance of arrest warrants, travel ban, disclosure and freezing of accounts and portfolios, tracking of funds, assets, and preventing their remittance or transfer by persons and entities who ever they might be. The committee has the right to take any precautionary measures it sees, until they are referred to the investigating authorities or judicial bodies.”

In other words, the prince can do anything he likes to anyone, seizing their assets in and outside the kingdom. Let’s just remind ourselves of what he now controls. The prince heads all three of Saudi Arabia’s armies; he heads Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company; he heads the committee in charge of all economic affairs which is just about to launch the biggest privatisation the kingdom has seen; and he now controls all of Saudi’s media chains.

This was apparent from the list of businessmen arrested. ART, MBC and Rotana Media group dominate the Arab media. These Saudi media corporations account for most of what is put out on air in the Middle East, apart from the news output of Qatari-owned Al Jazeera.

Their respective owners, Saleh Kamel, Walid al-Ibrahim and Prince Waleed bin Talal are behind bars. Presumably too their wealth has been confiscated. Forbes prices bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Corporation, at $18bn. He owns sizeable shares in numerous companies, including Newscorp, Citigroup, 21st Century Fox and Twitter. These shares too are under new management. The head of STC, the biggest mobile operator in Saudi, was also arrested.

If previous moves bin Salman took constituted a power grab, Saturday’s moves were a wealth grab.

It is terribly important to tax wealth, isn’t it?

14 thoughts on “Now here’s a Curajus State for you”

  1. In other words, the prince can do anything he likes to anyone, seizing their assets in and outside the kingdom. Let’s just remind ourselves of what he now controls. The prince heads all three of Saudi Arabia’s armies; he heads Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company; he heads the committee in charge of all economic affairs which is just about to launch the biggest privatisation the kingdom has seen; and he now controls all of Saudi’s media chains.

    Theocratic kingdoms in the Middle East are run by powerful, unaccountable royals with no oversight? Who knew?

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    This is how the young prince acts, a man who some Middle East experts persist in referring to as a Western-style reformer. He acts with total disregard to habeas corpus, due process and the rule of law. In his eyes, those arrested are guilty before they are proven guilty.

    He is a Western-style reformer. This is just British Justice a la Jimmy Savile.

  3. Saudi Arabia is becoming even more Curajus. As from 1 Jan 2018 it is introducing a VAT system. 5 other Gulf states are too.

  4. This is how the young prince acts, a man who some Middle East experts persist in referring to as a Western-style reformer.

    My guess is that to be a “Middle East expert” these days requires you to forget everything you know about Middle East and Arab culture which is counter to the Progressive Narrative, thus making you near useless as a ‘expert’.

  5. ‘He acts with total disregard to habeas corpus, due process and the rule of law.’

    He gets his choice of ponies, too.

  6. Hope the Saudi Prince reads the Dick Tater’s drivel and sends round a coupe of burly Arabs armed with scimitars to have a word in his shell-like.

  7. An alternate take on events – MBS is a genuine reformer and is driven by a strategic realisation that the Saud family has made. That is, in a largely post-oil world having established a significant welfare state and developed a large, well-educated and restive middle-class, there are two alternatives:
    1) liberalise, democratise and head towards a degree of gender equality (viz the recent decision to simply state that Sharia demands that women not only be allowed to work, but given a safe workplace on pain of, well, pain) or
    2) get violently overthrown.

    There is an argument that in doing what he’s currently doing, he is brutally and ruthlessly getting rid of a whole layer of bent, and/or religiously conservative minor royalty, aristocracy and kleptocracy standing in the way of what will be massive social change.

    Is this *is* where things are heading then it will be one of the biggest geopolitical changes since the end of the Cold War, and ought to be receiving a damn sight more coverage and analysis than it currently is

  8. @ Flatcap Army
    What you say makes excellent sense but asXi Jongping has used an “anti-corruption” crusade very sdelectively to eliminate all significant rivals the mediaimmediately assume that Prince Mohammed is copying Xi’s strategy. If we find that Prince Mohamed has left many corrupt friends untouched then the media may be assumed correct – if not, then you may be proved right, but given not one iota of credit for it by anyone except Tim.

  9. But he still needs to be selective, I’d have thought that corrupt but supporting him isn’t going to get you jailed at this point he still
    Needs senior peole to back him. Given the by western standards endemic nature of corruption/bribery. Once it’s a done deal he can step back and let whatever new state apparatus is in place deal with things ina a more impartial manner. Or just wait for a generational cultural change, the sort of stuff being takes about isn’t going to happen quickly.
    I’d refer to some sayings about making sausages but most probably not the best analogy to use for the Saudis

  10. FA: Or maybe he just wants to sensibly rule his despicable Sunni subjects with an iron fist, and the level at which he has to subsidize his fellow ‘royals’ to pay Instagram ‘models’ to piss on them is too damn high?

  11. So Prince Wasisname is trying to do a Peter the Great? In a country that spews Wahabi fanaticism? Where any attempt at less repression would be the equivalent of firing a bullet into a massive, stoked to bursting-point pressure cooker?

    The world will need Atomic Popcorn to watch that mess.

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