What gives in SA?
In a shocking development, Saudi press Al Mayadeen reported late on Saturday that prominent billionaire, member of the royal Saudi family, and one of the biggest shareholders of Citi, News Corp. and Twitter – not to mention frequent CNBC guest – Al-Waleed bin Talal, along with ten senior princes, and some 38 ministers, has been arrested for corruption and money laundering charges on orders from the new anti-corruption committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, while Royal princes’ private planes have been grounded.
Among those fired and/or arrested are the head of National Royal Guards, Miteb Bin Abdullah, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Fakeih, and Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, the Commander of the Saudi Naval Forces.
According to al Arabiya, among those sacked and/or arrested are Moteib Bin Abdullah, Minister of the National Guard, and Prince Khalid bin Ayyaf has been appointed as his replacement. A second Royal Order was issued to relieve Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel al-Faqieh, from his duties, and the appointment of Mohammed Al Tuwaijri as Minister of Economy and Planning.
According to a Royal Decree issued by King Salman on Saturday the anti-corruption committee is chaired by the Crown Prince with the membership of: Chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, Chief of the General Audit Bureau, Attorney General and Head of State Security.
As Saudi analysts were quick to point out, the purge by the Saudi King means that King Abdallah’s last remnants (Riyad firmer gov. & head of Nat. Guard); media moguls; SAGIA & financial policy officials have been purged.
According to the AngryArab blog, the removal of Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as head of the National Guard, means that “this is the first time that the National Guard is not in the hand of Abdullah or his son.”
That put all apparatus of the military-intelligence network in the hands of Muhammad bin Salman. News that Al-Walid bin Talal has been arrested and accused of money laundering. This could be a service to Trump, who hates Al-Walid: the two fought it out on twitter during the campaign although Al-Walid tried to reconcile with Trump after his election but to no avail.
…followed later by…
Yemen’s air force targeted King Khalid International Airport in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday with a ballistic missile, according to Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Defense Ministry.
But the missile was intercepted over northeast Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement carried on Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya television.Yemen’s Defense Ministry said the missile attack “shook the Saudi capital” and the operation was successful. It also said the attack was conducted using a Yemeni-made, long-range ballistic missile called the Burqan 2H.Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of states against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who toppled Yemen’s internationally recognized government in 2015.The missile attack represents the first time the heart of the Saudi capital has been attacked.